Thursday, April 21, 2011

The "I Need..." Statement: An Engaging Technique for Stating Member Benefits

An earlier post, An Engaging Member Conversation, discussed the challenge of engaging new members and helping them find satisfying ways to participate in the association. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at the "I Need..." statement. Because it expresses, in the first person, what a potential member is seeking, it is a powerful communication technique. Consider the following presentation of member benefits, from the The Entrepreneurs' Organization:

Click on picture for full sized image

Three Simple Sentences!

The beauty of this approach is that, with three simple sentences, EO is able to sum up the value of its many programs and services:
  • I need to find other people like me; those who understand what it's like to own a business.
  • I need to solve business or personal challenges I haven't faced before. I'm walking in the dark here.
  • I need to expand my network, get out there and meet people who can help me grow.
 From a communications standpoint, this is one elegant solution!

The Power of the First-Person

Using the first-person voice echoes what goes on inside a prospective member's mind and engages on two levels. First, it offers the promise of a tangible benefit or solution. Second, it invokes a feeling of belonging, the prospective member is likely to think, "if other people with the same need have joined EO, this is probably the place for me!"

The Bottom-Line: There's an art to communication that engages members and prospects. The next time you examine your member benefits statement, try to boil it down to three simple sentences that begin with "I need..."

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