When the empowered volunteer starts prospecting, it needs to be his or her support staff ensuring that all inquires and requests for information are followed up with capable people who will close the sale or sell the prospect on joining. Very few solo empowered volunteer efforts will succeed on any kind of large scale.
How to start being an empowered volunteer or where to volunteer? First off, get empowerment. The steering committee preferably has authorized you to have business cards printed and in other ways set you up for prospecting for new members to volunteer.
Business cards can at the time of this page writing be ordered for free from more than one company. Vista Print has made this free business card offer since 2007 that I know of. I have ordered them myself. A search on google showed other companies that do it as well. Usually the postage fee is needed though. Ask most business men or women, business cards for free is a sweat deal.
If an empowered volunteer is forced to venture out and sell his or her group without the support of their group leadership, first off they should be very motivated, or passionate when the present their volunteer opportunities. This is by far the hardest way to go about enlarging the groups membership, unsupported. Consider joining another group that wants to support such and effort rather swimming upstream in a fashion. The group that doesn’t support this effort may not be worthy of your efforts!
If you say that it will be worth the effort, fine. Know that the potential for losing many prospects over the lack of support is very real and can be disheartening. Unless you are already a proven sales professional used to prospecting and other sales functions all at the same time you are likely to see some frustration during your efforts.
If you feel up to it, conduct a SWOT analysis on your own and follow it for directing your efforts. This will have limitations but it is worthy of some effort. As before, if you are a proven sales professional with the talent to wing it, go for it. Some sales professionals just don’t need structure, they have an instinct for where the sales or prospects are. If you are one of those very few, have fun and drive some prospects who will not fly at the first issue they see into the group. Then take them under your wing and set them on to the path that your group uses for new members and their volunteer work.
If you are not a sales professional, don’t be discouraged. If you are passionate, believe it or not you can still make prospecting effective. But you must steel yourself for rejection. There is no sales professional in the world who don’t see rejection when they make presentations and ask closing questions. Everyone who sells get rejected to some degree. Just like in baseball statistics if your averages are even remotely positive your are a qualified success. Practice until your prospecting gets to where you have a feel for who to ask to join and who to ask for referrals.
In sales, every person you can talk to is either a prospect or a referral to a prospect. This is really about attitude. Get tough and don’t worry about hearing no. When someone says they are not interested, usually accompanied by some excuse, get their information so that they are not contacted again if possible and then ask in your most polite voice for a person you should be talking to. The key is to keep prospecting. It is a numbers game, the more you ask the more you will have a chance of success.
Another aspect to selling volunteer groups is to target “joiners”. These are folks who have over time joined other groups. If someone was in several youth groups then they already have a history of joining. They are a better prospect than someone who has never joined a volunteer group. Find out why they joined other groups and look for the emotion they felt when they were in those other groups. Every sale at it’s basic level is an emotional purchase, despite all of the data points and other features that most folks haggle over. In the end, it is about how the purchase or joining will make the buyer feel.
If anyone says anything but a firm “no” to your initial request to join, tell them about the health benefits listed in earlier posts on this site. Figure out which health benefits you like to talk about and can relate to and then make the prospect aware of this knowledge. Be prepared to provide the evidence. Show that you have something for them rather than just being a taker, you are providing a service to them that they will find worthy of their time. These features may settle into their memory and make them return for more information later on.
Passion for your group must over flow from every presentation you make to the prospect. They need to feel the passion you have, without any phoniness to it. You must serve the prospect so much energy that they are wanting to see the group just to see what has so inspired you. Passion sells, I promise you. It sells much better than anything else you can do.
Practice three or four different ways to approach prospects. For the newly minted empowered volunteer with little or no sales experience, that is plenty. Don’t over do your presentations. Keep them short and sweet. Something like, introduce yourself and your purpose, small bit about the group, and ask for the sale. The sale can be attending a presentation, a membership drive evening supper, or simply to sign the petition. Always be closing, what ever your closing is. Ask everyone and anyone of age to either join or to refer you to someone you can help.
Note that once you ask a closing question (ask for the sale), SHUT UP! Closing questions are simple. Are you ready to sign up today, are your prepared to fill out the paperwork and sign up, are you willing to take the next step to help you live longer! Any question that leads the prospect to taking advantage of your offering in sales lingo is a closing question. NEVER say another thing once you ask the question, until your prospect answers the question that is. The person who talks first owns the product, or service. If you talk first, you keep the group and you don’t get to share it with a new member. Very simple stuff but this is one of the main truths in sales. I can not stress enough how strong this technique is.
The two things going for the “wing it” prospecting by an empowered volunteer listed here to have success is passion for the group and absolutely no fear of rejection.
Business cards should have the group logo on it if at all possible. This adds legitimacy to your prospecting. If the group logo is protected and you can’t get permission to put it on your business card, wear some kind of marketing propaganda from the group. Whatever you can do to make the prospect know you represent the group legitimately.