An efficient and effective way to grow your association business is to speak at state societies of association executives (SAE). Speaking at an SAE’s annual meeting generally puts you in front of a few hundred association executives. The association for most of the state SAEs is the Association Societies Alliance:
Rather than giving a handout during my keynote or workshop, I rather wait 10 minutes into my presentation when I see people taking notes and say something like, “Let me make your life easier. Give me your card after the presentation and I’ll email the PowerPoint to you.” I look at it this way; if they give me their card, that’s permission to contact them. After a couple weeks I start making calls. My follow up questions for executives and staff after speaking at a state SAE:
1. Have you used the info from my workshop? If so, how?
2. Have you accessed my article bank?
3. Did you join the LinkedIn Member ROI group?
4. Is there a possibility that we might do business sometime in the next 12 months?
5. Would you be willing to recommend other association executives that I should contact?
The first three questions are non-aggressive and put the executive at ease. After they are “a bit off-guard” is when I’ll get into the last two “selling” questions.
Sometimes you’ll get paid and sometimes not. Regardless, you are keynoting in front of a couple hundred association executives that can hire you for their meetings. If you do not get paid, a great concession you can ask for, that does not cost the SAE any money, is a complementary one-year membership in their organization. The membership gives you access to the SAE’s entire membership list.
When contacting these association executives, remember to sell up and down the vertical; when talking to a national association executive, ask about the chapters and when speaking with a state association executive, ask about how to speak to the national organization.