Collect as little data as possible (when selling)

Yes, you read that right. When selling anything online, whether it’s membership joins, renewals, event registration, or product sales, you should collect as LITTLE information as possible. What I mean by this is that your sales process should be as simple as possible and present as few hurdles as possible to making the sale.

Too many organizations believe that while they’re asking for the sale, they should just go ahead and ask for some additional information. For example, I’ve worked with associations which, as part of the membership application process, ask for dozens of demographics data points (e.g., size of organization, focus of work, etc.) that are not relevant to whether or not the buyer can become a member. In other words, the association would accept the organization as a member regardless of what the answers to these questions were. But the association figures they might as well collect that information now, while they’ve got the potential member online.

I think that’s a mistake.

The first rule of a sale is to get the money. Everything else can come later. As I always tell my clients, the ideal sale is when a customer says “I want that,” and you say “Here you go,” and they pay. If you really need to gather that other information, gather it later, once the organization or individual is already a member.

The same goes for event registration. Why can’t we take the event registration now, and then follow up with questions about dietary needs, physical limitations, and free events? Other than things they need to pay for (e.g., primary registration and ticketed events), why do we need all that information right now? Can’t we get the registration and then follow up later? How many sales are we losing because we’re making the process too cumbersome?

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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