On Nick Senzee's blog, he writes about his experience with ASAE's Annual Meeting registration process. Nick raises some good points about the registration process that all associations should be aware of.

Nick's primary complaint is that ASAE asks a lot of intrusive questions during the registration process. Ben Martin adds that ASAE should be able to save that information from year-to-year, so they don't have to ask again. They both have good points. I'll address Nick's first:

I've always said that the ideal sale (be it membership, events, products, certification, or anything else) would go like this:

Customer: "I want that."

Association: "Done."

In other words, all the customer has to say is "I want that," and the association can sell it to them, because they have all the data they need (e.g., credit card info, contact info, etc.). Obviously that's a little utopian, but we can get much closer to that than most of us do right now. For example, with ASAE, why do those questions need to be asked during the registration process? Why can't they take the meeting registration, then follow up with those questions after-the-fact? Sure, they may get less compliance this way (less data) but I'd bet they get more registrations. In other words, asking for more information during the sale depresses the total number of sales.

Lesson to us all: Don't set up unnecessary hurdles when making the sale. This goes for membership joins, too. Need information about the company (staff size, budget, market served, etc.)? Ask after you make the sale, not during the sale.

On to Ben: Ben suggests ASAE keep this data on file. I think he's right, but with a caveat. ASAE still needs to ask Ben, after the sale, if the data they have on file is correct. A lot can change in a year. For example, one of the questions ASAE asks is about your role in the buying decision. That could change from year-to-year. Same for salary. So the data needs to be updated. But I agree with Ben, why ask me to fill it all out again, if most (if not all) of the answers are the same.

What practices do you have in place during the sales process that are actually hurting sales? And what can you do to fix them?