May 9, 2014

Associates: A Message That Could Help Our Association

Last week's blog article (click here) discussed builder members of our Association and how they should convince their respective vendors to become members of the Association. For builders, it is an easier ask because they have leverage; "I'm building, you want to sell to me but only if you are a member." Builders should not feel bad about leveraging their position. These vendors need to invest in the industry that supports them, through builder business. The staff at your local HBA will help these new members understand their new investment and help them realize the return on their investment that will incentivize them to make the investment year after year. 

One of the trickier asks in membership recruitment is for an associate to recruit builders who are not members because associates have next to zero clout. However, if the associate is well respected by their current customers, there is a trust factor that should provide a greater chance with builder recruitment. Below is a letter that could be utilized to help active associates recruit a good portion of their customers. With over 90,000 associates, NAHB has one helluva a sales force. At the local level, I would guess that 20% of your associates could be fantastic recruiters IF the local membership team provided talking points. If the associate is successful, and recruits builders for his or her local, you just expanded the opportunity to engage the new builder members' non member vendors. Hopefully the below letter from an associate could provide food for thought or be used word for word (I created it, you have my permission).

Each new member is like a drop of water. Little by little the pond turns into a lake.....

Dear Builder;
We have a great business relationship and I value your trust in me to provide (insert product) for your building projects. I know that you take an enormous amount of risks in this ever changing building industry as I’m sure legislation and regulation has changed your strategic plan more than a few times. 
One of the most valuable resources I have to keep track of your challenges as a builder is the Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey (BRANNJ). BRANNJ is on the frontlines of our industry’s protection and growth, covering the builders’ concerns to the best of their ability. Being a member of BRANNJ gives me a 3 in 1 membership. Our industry’s state association and national association, the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) are powerful groups that provide advocacy in Trenton and in Washington, DC on behalf of all of us who earn a living in the building industry.

I have learned so much by being a member through the many educational programs, monthly publications and business connections I developed through my membership. I also know that the Builders Association gives my customers, such as yourself, the opportunity to build fine homes in New Jersey which provides me with more opportunities to continue my work with you. 
All members have a number of opportunities to save money on products and services they need today, but Builder members exclusively, have the opportunity to save money on products you are already purchasing through the HBA Rebate Program. Besides the Rebate Program, the NJBA’s benefits include affordable health plans for groups of every size (even single life groups), discounts on Builders Liability Insurance and much more. NAHB’s member benefits include discounts on automobile purchases, computers, office supplies, shipping, car rental and so much more.  In addition to these money saving programs and, perhaps more importantly, “free for members only” expert advice on legal issues, codes questions and many other related issues to help you survive in our turbulent industry. This invaluable advice can save you thousands in retainer fees and “by the hour” consultations.

For national examples, check out this piece by NAHB (add your state's value statement as well)....

Why am I writing this letter to you? I’ve realized that you are not a member of BRANNJ and I believe I wouldn’t be performing my job as a trusted trade partner with you if I didn’t at least make you aware of BRANNJ. I don’t make money for bringing you in as a member, however, the more builder voices we have as a united industry the better my chances of a successful career as a supplier/service provider. I invite you to come with me to BRANNJ’s next general membership meeting, as a guest of BRANNJ, to meet some of your builder peers. 
Through conversations with your peers you will realize what I explained above was understated! The next two meeting dates are mm/dd and start at 6:00 pm, end about 8:00 pm. I will sign you up for either one and personally pick you up!

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I hope you know how much I value your business and I look forward to enhancing our relationship through shared Association affiliation.


Your Sales Professional, CGA, CGP

Associates, a few notes to consider for your own letter:
  • The local invite for a general membership has to be approved by your president. If your local does not have this program, you may have to pay for the general membership. If you do, look at it as an investment in your relationship with the builder.
  • Insert your own state features, explaining the benefits, in lieu of my state, NJBA. You may want to add your local's feature as well.
  • Remember, you have a personal relationship with your customers. To what degree only you know but deliver the message without sounding too much like a sales pitch. Each message is tweaked to fit the recipient's personality.



2014 NAHB Membership Committee Chairman

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