Membership Growth

Membership Growth is the Product of Two Components

Growing the membership in a referral leads group comes down to the following.

  1. Inviting Guests
  2. Intentional and Methodical Follow-up

Inviting guests is addressed in one of our earliest posts on creating a guest parade, so the focus of this article will be on the follow-up component.

Intentional Follow-up

Intentional follow-up is driven by your group’s Membership Director and her team.  Your Membership Director leads the charge in follow-up that is intentional and intended to qualify member candidates and bring them into the fold of membership.  Here are a few very important points that your Membership Director will communicate to guests on their first visit, during the Guest Breakout Session.

Mutual Fit

Your group is seeking a mutual fit.  This is easy enough to explain, and it goes something like this.

We’re looking for a mutual fit, meaning you like us and we like you.  This also means that you and our group are a good fit professionally speaking.

This should always be one of your new member recruiting goals–mutual fit.

Path to Membership

There’s a path and process to membership.  Also easy enough to explain, and it goes something like this.

We’re a membership based group and the path to membership is to visit at least two meetings.  If you think that this group is something that could help your business, come see us again next week.  If it still feels like it could help your business and we’re all feeling like it’s a good mutual fit, you’ll be invited to apply for membership.


The time to set expectations is during the first guest breakout session.  This is where you explain to guests the rules and policies of your group.  It’s also where you explain the expectations of each member and what your members expect of one another.  This is when you touch on attendance, 1-on-1s, referral requirements, subs, sponsoring members, inviting guests, membership fees, etc.

The Follow-up

This is the secret sauce to successful member recruitment and group growth.  Your Membership Director and a team of carefully selected members who are part of your Membership Director’s team (Assistant Membership Directors) will do the following.

  • Encourage members to email and/or call guests to thank them for attending
  • Encourage members to ask guests for a 1-on-1
  • Do a quick online search on guests and their businesses
  • Contact guests to schedule a follow-up call or meeting
  • Share notes with Assistant Membership Directors, core leadership and other stake holders
  • Contact guests one more time to say, “We’re looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting.”

This will all ideally happen in the week between a guest’s first and second visit.  If the guest is a mutual fit, membership conversion will happen in the week that follows.  After your guest’s second visit, you’ll rinse-and-repeat the outreach routine described above.  Remember to ask for the help of your group members.

The Week Following a Second Visit

By now, you know if your guest is interested, excited and likely to be a committed and active contributor in your group.  It’s time to extend a formal invitation to apply for membership, by sending the application link to qualified guests.  And it’s now the responsibility of the Membership Director and team to ensure the following:

  • Guests have received the membership application link
  • Any and all member questions or concerns about candidates have been addressed
  • Candidate questions about the membership application are addressed
  • Membership applications are approved (upon receipt)

All that’s left now is properly welcoming your new members and empowering your membership to mentor new members through in-meeting and 1-on-1 activity.

Put to Practice

Wanna hear how well this approach has worked for The Silicon Valley Business Group this year?  Check out this video chat with me and Chuck Starnes, Membership Director for Silicon Valley Business Group.


Published by

Roberto R Hernandez

Marketeer, Musician & Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *