I’ve never talked to a single board member that’s told me they aren’t accepting new members. Maybe a high brow pool or country club exists out there that could care less about membership, but I haven’t found it. Even if things are good now, you’re always one pump accident away from a $10,000 mistake. I just sat down with a pool where the President and VP had just found out one of their new guards turned on a pump without opening a water valve and it was toast. Point is, one year you can have a surplus and the next you can be in the hole.
So it should be a given that your pool always needs new members. Especially since every new member is potentially a customer for decades. But I’m amazed at how many pool websites don’t even list their prices! Some just link to a PDF application that prospective members have to print out and mail in. So, let’s discuss that first…
The Application Mistake
Just having an application is a huge wall to membership. First off, it’s a holdover from 2 or 3 generations ago, when a club could actually get away with denying membership based on, well, whatever they wanted to deny them for. Race, religion, etc. Imagine nowadays if a family tried to join and your club denied them sight unseen. You might end up on the news or sued.
And think back now… has your club actually denied an application recently? Probably not. It’s just a time-consuming detour between getting a member to actually join and pay. And the longer it takes to review an application, the more likely you are to lose that membership because….
The member lost interest
They joined a nearby club that was easier to get into
Little Susie needed braces, and that expense came out of the pool fund jar
Consider why that application ever got posted to begin with. The board from 20 years ago didn’t set up an online membership payment system because a good one simply didn’t exist. So someone just said, “Well let’s just post the application online”. And there it’s sat for 20 years.
Click above to see how we think upfront pricing should look
There’s no need to be cagey about what it costs to join. I’ve seen pool sites where the pricing is gated behind a member login. What!?! You mean I have to be a member first to find out what it costs to be a member?!
You need to post your prices with a button that says “Purchase.” And yes, that’s obviously where Pool Dues can help out. Once you make it easy for new members to join, THEY WILL JOIN. Remember who the young, late 20’s, early 30’s families are now. They grew up with technology. They’ve never had to write checks. They might not even have checks. Compared to paying online, we all hate writing checks. It means getting up. Going to that drawer with checks. Figuring out who to write it to, then writing an address on another paper, stamping it and walking it outside. After all those steps, there’s no guarantee it even makes it where it’s supposed to go!! If you don’t already run your own business, imagine for a moment that you do… Would you only accept checks as payment?
Here’s your ideal family deciding to join the pool….
Wife: I was thinking we should join the pool this summer
Husband: Sure I guess, I’ll get on it tomorrow.
Wife: I just paid. We are in.
See how fast that was. By slowing down that process at all, your club is losing members. People buy on impulse. They have a couple of glasses of wine at dinner with friends that are members, and without over-thinking it, they join.
It can be that simple.
May 23, 2018