Seeing Members Get InvolvedWritten By: Les L. Bebchick
Article Date: 06-01-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Don't miss out on the "Year of the Member."
In the last several editorials I've written, I've focused on the issues of membership recruitment and retention, and I intend to continue on this subject throughout my year as Chairman. Recruitment and retention are being worked on every day by the AED staff and, in particular, our Director of Membership Mike Fotty and Ben Yates, Membership
As previously stated, recruitment is moving along well, and there are plans to "up-the-tempo." Retention work is done daily by the entire AED staff to strengthen dealer appreciation of the value proposition by continuing to offer our membership significant value via the products we are producing; the educational and professional seminars and courses we offer; the programs being developed for meetings, including Executive Forum; the work of the AED Washington office; Workforce Development; and on and on.
We are speaking face to face with member dealers everyday to drive home the AED value proposition and solicit their interest, involvement, and participation in the association's activities, products, and services. This is a huge job and one that will receive the highest of attention during the coming years.
Retention is a complex subject and it's hard to measure and evaluate. A lot of the work being done now may not bear fruit for six to 12 months but without the effort, the job will not get done. To improve and enhance our retention efforts, we have developed a new member two-year plan with very specific and continuous "touch points" with the new member and his/her organization.
We have challenged the AED staff to accelerate data mining regarding information about new and existing membership to get a better understanding of each member, his organization size and complexity, his product focus, what may be most interesting for his type of organization based on size and member category, etc.
Every day we will do more to establish person-to-person contact with each member to further understand the member's needs, desires, level of interest in association involvement, level of understanding of what AED has to offer, and what things AED can do for him given his interest.
AED, understanding the diversity of its membership, must focus on value for the large and medium heavy multi-line and single line dealer, yet knowing that the smaller multi-line or single line dealer may have a whole different set of needs, interests, and priorities.
We have challenged the AED staff to think outside the box, be visionary, and follow paths not previously traveled in an effort to grow and strengthen AED long-term.
Our efforts are working. I see it every time I go to an AED committee meeting or board Meeting, have a conference call, receive e-mails from dealers expressing themselves on all kinds of issues and matters, and hear excitement in the voices and e-mails of staff informing me of their work to strengthen AED's value proposition.
I've been soliciting your involvement, trying to find ways to bring out the best of the membership we have, to get everyone involved in some way and act on their latent interest in participation.
I am happy to say that I think it's working.
Don't miss out on the excitement of getting involved during the "Year of the Member." You'll benefit both personally and professionally. Had you joined us in Washington for this year's Government Affairs Meeting, for example, you would have seen and spoken with leading Congressmen and Senators and toured parts of Washington most people will never see. You would also have been impressed by the caliber and talent of the AED members in attendance; enjoyed the spirit, intellect, and camaraderie at each meeting; benefited from the quality of our Washington staff, and socialized with AED leadership.
Had you been involved in the recent Annual Meeting Committee meeting in Chicago, you would have seen members making a difference for all members and doing their best for AED. It's exciting and I implore you to take the leap this year and get involved. Don't forget, call me at 508-509-8412 (cell) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, suggestions, or questions.
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