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Hello, everyone, and welcome to victory talks, where we’re all about creating winning mindsets, and growing your organization. If you’re looking to scale your business, grow your event, or learn about best practices in sales and marketing. This is the podcast for you, based on the principles of the best-selling book sales, outside the circle. We introduce your host, Bill McGlade.

 

Bill McGlade  00:28

Hello, everyone and welcome back to victory talks. As always, my coin phrase I’m super excited about our special guests today. Before we get into the guest and the topic, a little reminder to register for sales date for your eyes only April 23 2021. Since that is the year we’re in, I cannot believe it time is going by pretty quickly and thank you to our sponsor hyvve by victory productions a year round social engagement platform. So with that, we’ll jump right into the topic today, which we’ll get to in just a moment. But let’s go ahead and have our special guest, Tom Morrison introduce himself and tell us a little bit about why I just opened Pandora’s box by having him talk about himself.

 

Tom Morrison  01:19

Well, Big Bill, man glad to be here. All I want to know is for your eyes only does that mean James bond is gonna slide in here somewhere along the line during that guy that that’s an awesome name.

 

Bill McGlade  01:27

Quite possibly. I’m a huge bond fan. So we went with that tagline, to make it a little bit, feel exclusive, but also by themes and all of that and our MC and keynote, Brad Weber, he and I have been doing little spy missions back and forth and so we’re going to be posting some of those videos soon to go along with that theme and engagement aspect of it.

 

Tom Morrison  01:53

Well, that’s awesome man. I love people that are innovative and how they draw people in, which is what we’re going to talk about today then engaging. But hey, I’m Tom Morrison. So thanks for being here. I love doing anything I can get my voice out and be Heard to really shout from the hilltops about how associations are going to be have record growth in the next 20 years and so I’ve been doing this 25 years, I’m a graduate of Florida State, go no, I’m excited about that been a CEO of three different organizations who all grew to be the best at what they do and I think it’s because of the things we’re going to talk about today and I’ve got three cells that I got three self-sufficient children in their late 20s, early 30s, that I have three self-sufficient spouses. I’m thinking I’m the luckiest guy on the face of this earth and so now I’ve got all this money, because I’m not paying for kids. But now I’ve got three grandkids.

 

Bill McGlade  02:44

What’s that like? Yeah, because I got no baby number two on the way.

 

Tom Morrison  02:48

Oh, man, well, here’s the thing. Most people say I wish they just say five and seven. It’s like, no, you want it to be 22 and 23. So you can have a drink when they’re giving you a hard time with them.

 

Bill McGlade  02:57

Exactly. Now real talk.

 

Tom Morrison  02:59

So we have a great life with our kids love it. It’s taught me a lot about reaching the younger generation, I used to sit with my kids and their friends and just listen and it’s amazing. So I’m very hopeful about the future about the next generation, about where we’re headed and I’m gonna share with you some facts later on. This is going to really give people some hope about the future.

 

Bill McGlade  03:20

Tom before we go into engagement and what it looks like, for the next 20 years for associations. Tell me a little bit about listening, right? So you had mentioned when your kids friends were talking and all of that you would listen, what were you listening for?

 

Tom Morrison  03:36

Well, for the last 10 years, we’ve heard the same thing. The younger generation, we don’t, it’s not a we don’t like them, we don’t like how they operate. But here’s what people miss here, is back in the 60s. The baby boomers, parents and grandparents didn’t like the way we I’m the last one of the baby boomers on the last one. When I go, we’re all gone and so the bit our generations, parents didn’t like how we operate it every generation. So here’s what happens. People get into their 30s they get a mortgage, they get a spouse, or a partner, they get kids, they figure out that they don’t really know a lot and they need to understand and get more connected with people and have support in life because life’s hard.

 

Bill McGlade  04:18

Life is hard. Yeah.

 

Tom Morrison  04:19

Right. So when I would sit and listen to them, I’d listen to what how they’re thinking, what are their concerns? What do they look in the future? How do they see the future and it was incredible to listen in on them and they were saying a lot of the same things that we were when we were in our 20s and as they’ve now moved into their late 20s and early 30s. They’re all figuring it out. We’re poor. There’s a here’s the thing, I’ll give you one little piece that fits this whole puzzle. So there’s 100 over 100 million millennials between ages 11 and 34 right now. The average time when most people join associations, the baby boomers didn’t join in their 20s we’ve had this big thing that young people don’t join We didn’t join either in our 20s, we joined in our early 30s, when we got into the crux of life with family, and just business and everything, but here’s the big thing, we actually got our first big raise, and we had discretionary money to actually spend 120 bucks on a membership or business owner, we spent $1200 and we join, and now and so there’s 100 plus million people in that age bracket that are coming our way and they’re all rushing in at some point time there. So that’s why I tell people, the future is absolutely bright for associations, because we’re going to have the largest and longest run of memberships. Yeah, if you do it we’re going to talk about today, which is value and engagement.

 

Bill McGlade  05:37

Oh, man, you’re way too good at this. Teasing the audience leading them, I love it, Tom, this is gonna be fun today. So let’s jump into the topic a little bit engaging, right? Engagements 365, engagement everything. It’s a big topic these days, especially from the virtual standpoint in the virtual world. But what you just mentioned is huge, right? Different types of engagement based on the different generational gaps as well. So let’s jump into this a little bit and before we go into different tactics, things, you see all of that, tell us what you think engagement really is?

 

Tom Morrison  06:17

So to me, engagement is when a member exchanges their time or money, in exchange to us for something that we provide them it can be soft things like community, where they are coming on our committee to look for stuff, talk to people find comments on things that they’re troubled with, or can be hard things like transactional things like buying, training and coming to a meeting. So I’ve got three levels of engagement that I talk to people about, there’s information only, that’s things that you get to your members in for free as a part of your dues. Most people charge for benchmarking reports, we give it away for free, we pay for it out of our budget and give it for free and why is that? Because when you pay for it, most associations are good if they get 20% of their members to participate in any benchmarking study, we have 50. 50% of our members give us their sales number to create forecasting and sales training reports.

 

Bill McGlade  07:10

Everybody wants to see the benchmarks.

 

Tom Morrison  07:12

Right and here’s the thing, what is the one thing people used to people to talk about? I can’t find good people the one thing the last six months? That is the number one thing on people’s minds is uncertainty. Well, how do you turn uncertainty in the certainty? You forecast what’s really good data when you got 50% of your industry sales numbers, you can give it to a forecasting company, which we do, we got the best out there and they forecast what the next three years are going to look like for our industry will. Who wouldn’t want to have that? When you’re looking when you’re buying a million dollar furnaces and hiring people, which are a big expense, you got to know the future as close as possible. He’s got these people really good. So engagement is when you have programs value, that’s the key word value that you exchange for members who come in and say, I want that and then you have to determine what are your touch points. So MTI metal trading Institute has 13 touch points, and that’s our engagement level. You are engaging over information only the next level is transactional, they spent money to get something that’s engaging and then the other one is emotional and emotional engagement is when they come to a meeting, or they volunteer those two things. Now, the third thing is the emotional is the community. Now we don’t measure community so much in our engagement strategy, we just count our 13 touch points exclusive community, because here’s what I’ve learned about communities, it’s really powerful when you’re emotionally connected to it. But the moment that they don’t talk to it for a while the emotion and the value of it is gone. But when they’re paying for forecasting that drives how they make decisions on million dollar pieces of equipment. That’s actually that’s really big engagement data that keeps people and so think engagement means a lot of things, a lot of people but to me, it’s that thing, when members engage in a touch point that is important to you that offers value to them.

 

Bill McGlade  08:53

I was speaking recently about the different touch points and how from you have a very holistic view, as from an association point of view and there’s a lot of event prompts that are out there that are really still thinking about the 3-5 days and so they only look at engagement from three to five days of their specific event. But what you mentioned, and what I talked about a lot, too, is the fact that that event is only one touch point. So can you go into some of the other touch points that you have examples, and you don’t have to spill all the beans and all your secrets for everybody out there. But something that will help them understand, hey, that events, it’s going to drive some passion and emotion and all of that and it’s really just one touch point for them. That benchmarking report. That’s another touch point. So what would something else be that they could possibly add into their cycle of touch points?

 

Tom Morrison  09:45

So here’s the funny thing about going to meetings. Everybody that goes to meetings, and generally you’re good if you get 30% to 40% of your members that come to a meeting. So here’s the big deal. Everybody thinks the people that came to the two big meetings a year are the most engaged souls in the association not true. Here’s the funny thing we gave out and let’s say it was five years ago, we did a fun thing. We gave out the most engaged award to the top three members in our association and what I did, it’s very simple. I downloaded a 13 touch points from our database. I gave them one point for everything they were involved in are 13 touch points and some people think, well, if they’re a board member, do they get 50 points? No, they get one. The thing on the board does not mean that you’re this grandiose person, it means you’re giving back so you get one. At the end of the day, when I’ve put all the numbers in and separated them highest, the lowest, the top three members weren’t even on our board of directors, because we have some and that here and that I will take you back to point one of how you drive this. So back in 2006, when I first came on with MTI, we did a nice fun exercise that really drove this home and created the 2600% growth today in our revenues.

 

Bill McGlade  10:54

Can you say that number again?

 

Tom Morrison  10:55

Its 2600% growth and our net reserves.

 

Bill McGlade  10:58

I just want people to hear that not 26%, its 2600%.

 

Tom Morrison  11:03

Yeah. So what that’s done in 16 years, is this provided a lot of freedom to our board to do take risks on members behalf because now they have the money. Funding is never an option. It’s important, you got to pay the right price. But it’s never an option or obstacle that keeps us from wanting to make a decision, which it is for so many associations here, going back to 2006. So I had my board go to this exercise where we did one thing. I said, let’s assume that no one comes to meetings, they hate groups, they hate people, they don’t want to come. They don’t like writing their legislators, they hate advocacy. Those are the two biggies. When you ask any association, why do people are members, they like to network our meetings, and we stand for them in the state and national capitals. There’s not much conversation after that. I say okay, now why aren’t coming to meetings, and they don’t write their legislators, what value? Why are they paying their dues, and it was dead silence and so we immediately went into revamping our benchmarking, sales forecasting and benchmarking program, which really lifted off, we revitalize a leadership development program, because we saw early on that building tomorrow’s leaders, both in our member companies, and our association was vital. Since that day, we’ve had over 400 executives graduate in 12 years, that program, it’s been phenomenal and many have come and we’ve had presidents of companies decide to take it because they see what it did to their manager. It’s incredible. Online technical training and managerial training. That was another huge element we had $0 coming in from online training in 2006. We have close to 150 grand coming on now every single year, information sharing building systems where members can share information, because here’s the number one thing, especially today in the digital environment we’re in, when you’re sitting in your business, or your real estate agent, you’re in a professional staff and you’re sitting alone in your house, or in your company, and you’re not going to actual meetings, you think you’re all alone in the process of going through this tough grind every day during COVID. Well, if you’ve got a digital platform that helps you share, connect with members share documents and stuff like a social community, all of a sudden, you realize you’re not alone, you have access to over 2000 of the best trained minds in the country to get information from.

 

Bill McGlade  13:14

And you have to be alone to write it. All it takes is a question. Reach out to your community reach out to your members ask a question, you’re never alone.

 

Tom Morrison  13:23

So those are the touch points. But here’s where the touch points came from. I just finished a response on collaborate with ASAE just wanted on this very thing. The touch points come from. I actually just now put a acronym to it that I’ve been working on for a while. How does this process work when you’re looking at your members value, and it’s very easy. So when you’re with members, everything I do now comes through this filter. It’s called alive-ALIVE. So here’s the process you asked about listening earlier, this is where it comes into play. So you have to ask the right questions. Most associations are trying to out thinking out and guess what their members need. I don’t ever think what my members need I asked. So you ask the right questions and what you’re doing is you’re listening intently for the biggest pain points. If uncertainty is the biggest pain point, why wouldn’t you have a forecasting program that helps clear that up for them, So listen intently is called innovation with solutions that meet that need and then V is value creation and E says execute, engage and execute with excellence. So that’s what alive is ask questions. Listen intently innovate solutions, value, create and engage with excellence.

 

Bill McGlade  14:41

Go back to the innovate part. Because we’ll get you know a lot of questions around that. What do you mean by innovate because nowadays, innovation could be coming up with the next iPhone or something like that.

 

Tom Morrison  14:53

Well, that’s what associations would love to do. I’ve always said associations on tradition are looking for this and it’s not that easy. Now, some so here’s a little short story. I’m good friends with the CEO of the sexy association of the American palate Association and you wouldn’t know that until you see their video and you’re like, wow, these guys move everything on pallets. It’s incredible. Their video is really good.

 

Bill McGlade  15:13

I didn’t even know that was an association. It an association for everything.

 

Tom Morrison  15:17

There is and so this they did the same process a number of years ago that we did and they asked their members if we could develop and engineer something, some element that would change your business transformer, what would it be, and they said, We got 300 grand to throw at it. So they brainstorm that with a group and here’s what they came up with. When product gets shipped on a pallet. If it’s not the perfect pallet, like the washing machines and frigerator, it can fall over big dent and it goes to clearance out money loss, because they had to sell it for less. So they said if you could create a software program that’s online that would allow us to engineer the perfect palette for each product and make it that would be awesome. Well guess what they did? They spent the money and engineered the software that builds the perfect pallet for the product you want to manufacture and make it and then you know have their membership. Know what happened, their engagement happened, the revenues and guess what? The German palate Association calls them up worldwide going, Hey, we want access to that program. Can we get it? Yeah. So when I say innovate, that’s what it is, is listening to your members. Now for us, we did a neat little thing. This is how I listened. So I go out to dinner in Seattle with three of my members. I said, I asked the same question what, what is your big pain point right now. Our members are heat treaters, all metals, titanium, aluminum, steel, they all have to be heat treated in a process that makes them stronger, safer, and more life lasting. So for instance, the landing gear on a plane, when they land, our members heat treat almost every nut and bolt on that landing gear, if they don’t heat treat it right guess what metal cracks when it’s not heat treated, right? Got to be buried. So you’re so you’re audited at high levels of standards.

 

So in those audits, there are all kinds of information there that they could learn from each other if they can see other people’s audits to see what corrective actions are being taken. So I said, so what’s your pain point right now? They said, Tom, if we could be able to see in a anonymous database, this password and competency control, other members findings, and best practices and corrective actions that would be golden to us, like, so if we developed the database and spent the money in a major way to put in the information and then if you put it in, you can see others you like I said, man, we would love that. So we went back, and we approved the funding and made that database and now people love it because they can log in as long as you share your audit, you can see other people not in their names, you can just see you can click and see the audits individually the findings and stuff. So it’s anonymous, but that it’s a clearinghouse for audit findings that people can see because here’s the thing. Auditing a heat treater for aerospace specifications is not one auditor will see the spec says one, A plus B equals C, another auditor will say A plus B equals D. So there’s a lack of auditor consistency. So if you can see that, within the findings, you can see what the real interpretations are coming across, and you can change your quality standards to meet that. So that’s what I call about active, intentional listening, is asking the right questions and listen for the pain, because that’s where the biggest value lies.

 

Bill McGlade  18:24

So even as a business owner and head of sales, formerly for other companies, and all of that, always listening for pain points is a huge part of the sales process. But sometimes, it can be very hard to actually glean the pain from the individuals, when you’re actively listening and I know I’m shying away from our main topic of engagement. But this is important for everyone. Sometimes it takes a different level of that listening and different aspects to really look for, when someone’s talking to really figure out what that pain is. What is it that you do because clearly you’re very successful at listening and getting those pain points out of the members out of the individuals in order to help solve it for him. So what is it that you’re doing? I can say one thing, you’re extremely approachable, you’re extremely trust worthy, which you can just tell just by talking to you. So that alone will help people to open up to you but as you’re listening, that those two are a factor in it. Alright, so what is it that when someone says maybe x that maybe it’s something they’re seeing a little bit different and that’s where you’re gaining some of that pain point knowledge from?

 

Tom Morrison  19:42

So there are two things.

 

Bill McGlade  19:43

You always have. I know it every question, I love it.

 

Tom Morrison  19:48

Stop talking and don’t start selling till they say hey, tell me more about what you got. We go in with preconceived notions of what we think we should be selling the member engaging that, hey, we got these 13 programs, it’s funny things. Those 13 programs may not even be, he may have all of them going right. So why would you tell him 13 things when you don’t even know what his biggest pain point is? So the question is stop talking? And don’t try and sell them anything until you hear the pain point that makes them grimace teeth and get Yeah, that really bugs me a lot and then you say the biggest question I said, so what would you do about it? If the association could help you do something about it? And right then in there, they’re going to tell you what you need to do and now here’s the other thing, you need to ask other members the same thing because a few hears common things around that. Then there’s an association program because remember associations. I tell this great visual use, you should remember the gladiator.

 

Bill McGlade  20:46

Yes.

 

Tom Morrison  20:47

So in the gladiator. They’re in the Roman Colosseum, and Russell Crowe standing firm, and he looks around he says, No, have you been ever been in the army and they all grumbling, they’re mainly boys. Yeah, we’ve been there and he says, whatever comes out of these gates, whatever comes out of these fences, whatever comes out of those doors, if we stay together, we survive. If we work together, we’ll live and that’s the essence of association. So everything we do is about keeping people chanted on we’re better together than we are separately and that’s why you’ll anything you see in our, in my email signature, on our website, you’ll see one thing, they’re strong, then there’s MTI strong. We’ve been branding that for 10 years and finally came today, about five years into our branding. When I supplier stood up at a cocktail party and said, I just got one thing to say here tonight, he goes what he says they’re strong and then there’s MTI strong. I’m like, finally, it’s taken shape. Yeah, so in this day and age, everybody’s all about feel good, I don’t care about making people feel good in terms of I want, if you’re not wanting to be a member and pay the fair share of the freight to make a difference in your business and everything, I want you to actually understand you probably a little bit a lot weaker than you are if you had us because I know the value that we bring to the table, and we’re passionate about it from the board down to the volunteers to the members.

 

Bill McGlade  22:04

You know, and the same goes for the entire events Industry Association industry where we are stronger together and I think we’ve banded together a little bit this year, in 2020, due to COVID. But I think it also separated a lot of us. So I’m hoping that 2021 we can be stronger together, maybe not as strong as MTI strong, but we’ll get there. I love that.

 

Tom Morrison  22:26

When I do this funny little exercise, when I’m speaking on Association growth and value and stuff, I’ll grab somebody in the front row and bring them in, stand them on the stage and I’ll say, Alright, scream to the crowd, I am strong and then I have everybody in the crowd stream of screams that I’m gonna say, No, you’re not back and forth and I’ll look at another guy say, so Which side do you really want to be on? And they always point to the audience. Exactly because that’s the deal, you’re always got a louder voice and always stronger with more ideas is a group, then you are sitting in your little silo.

 

Bill McGlade  22:55

It’s that collective thought theory, the collective feeling and all of that, now that’s great. Alright, so you and I, we could probably talk about a million different things all day, every day. Let’s go back to engagement and how you see engagement really playing out with the virtual world, and then hopefully, the eventual lead back into live events.

 

Tom Morrison  23:19

Well, you will be glad to hear you’ll probably shut up and down when I tell you this. So we have gone back to having live events in May. We’re having our spring meeting in Amelia Island in Florida. Yes, we surveyed, we did the smart thing we surveyed our members first ask them some really intentional questions to say Do we have the room block? And we had an outpouring of support says Yes, a bit, say, and the trends look good, which they are, and you’re doing the right safety protocols. We’re all in. So our meeting won’t pop. I’d be surprised that it was what it normally is. But I know it’s going to be more than 70 to 75% of what it normally is given the,

 

Bill McGlade  23:57

Which is more than most people are expecting for the turn of their live event. So that’s great.

 

Tom Morrison  24:01

Right! So here’s the thing about the future of engagement.

 

Bill McGlade  24:04

Real quick, before we get to that, the key thing that you did, which, we tell a lot of associations to do and whether they do it or not. It’s up to them. Survey your members,

 

Tom Morrison  24:15

Alive.

 

Bill McGlade  24:16

Exactly, it goes back to that. Ask and listen. It’s perfect.

 

Tom Morrison  24:23

Collaborate ASAP, I’ll see people there’s all these questions. Are you hosting 21 events? I’m like, have you asked your members? Why not have meetings of 80% of your people that normally come say we would love we would be there. Why not? You know? So? Yeah, we’re excited about that. So going back to engagement. So here’s the key is engagement. So we have transitioned from the 60s, 70s and 80s and 90s from being mission driven to being value driven. Now that doesn’t mean you lose your vision. But today because we’ve evolved as associations that the markets change the expectations of our potential numbers have changed the generation since 1992. Now is more on what’s in it for me not what can I give back. So you just have to switcher, and I’ve got this great saying I came up with a number of years ago that says, members now support your mission, but they buy your value and it’s imperative that you lead with the value statements and once you’ve got them in now, you’ve got them on your dime for a year, then paying, you just tell them all about the mission. But some of these organizations that say our mission so important, well, no one cares that you want to create a great image of the industry, what they want to know is that you can help them maximize their productivity, educate their people and maximize their profits because through profits, they can expand and grow their local community and their business and their customers and their employees. So that’s the big thing that we’ve that many have had a challenge with, you need to lead with your value statement and the things that you’re going to do for them, and then pull in the mission statement once you got them in and then you can get them all, but then with the warm and fuzzies the mission statement. So that’s one. But the first thing you got to have Bill is the value, you have value that draws them in, then you engage them in and here’s the thing, you don’t want to tell them everything you do when you get them on board, you want to get them involved in the very things that strike their fancy and have their pain points when they enter the door, and then take it in steps over the next year to figure out because you might be able to keep a membrane with just one major program. Why? Because it’s the one big pain point he has. There’s a whole lot of members that we have, the only thing they participate in, is their online training because they love having good training, Floyd, there’s some people that all they do is our monthly sales program are forecasting. So that’s the key to engagement is.

 

Bill McGlade  26:36

That’s what they’re interested in. That’s what their pain point is and that’s what they’re focused on at the moment.

 

Tom Morrison  26:41

Right. So right now we’re going through a process with our engagement experience officer, who’s our membership person who’s going out to every member who is not an either of those two programs and she’s trying to set up zoom calls with us to educate them on those programs and here’s the cool thing. Some members just I’ve had members say, Tom, I love you guys, I love your newsletter, and I really don’t want to do anything else. I don’t like a lot of people. So I don’t come to meetings. I’m like, totally respect that. So but you can’t go along without at least asking them to get in because there’s two members that you’re always subject to losing at any given time. One is your largest member. Why? Because the largest member always says, What can you do for me that I really couldn’t do for myself, because we got the money, you got to have a different value proposition and then the ones that are the ones are the members that aren’t engaged in anything, they pay their dues, they get the newsletter, they kind of say, you know what, we’re happy being here. But at some point in time, especially when times are tight like now and here’s the here’s what I love about value propositions Bill, when times are good people never question the value proposition and things are always good. When times are tight, and people don’t have money and they just can’t pay dues because they don’t have the money. Associations all of a sudden turn. I’ve seen this in 2009 when the market crash, and I’ve seen it today, they all of a sudden think that their value proposition is not worthy and it’s like no members literally just can’t pay your dues. That’s why they’re dropping. If this was good time, they would not drop. So I think you got to be careful changing a very good value proposition just simply because people can’t afford it.

 

Bill McGlade  28:09

And that will that goes back to alive again, right? Don’t assume that they’re dropping you because your value or you think that your value proposition is invaluable to them. Ask them.

 

Tom Morrison  28:21

Right! Well think about this back in 2006, and 2007 and we had little in reserves. We couldn’t make any decisions to help members and I have a hard time this this past year in 2020. In the first quarter, we held a board call and because we had the money in the bank, we basically made a motion that we’re going to send a note out to every member and we’re going to be willing to not collect one dime for the second quarter of dues we build our dues on a quarterly basis and we sent it out on hey, if COVID is impacting you sucks that you can’t really afford to pay this quarters dues, we want you to strike a mark through the through the dues amount, right zero and say thank you and send that into us and we’ll consider that paid in full for this one quarter. That’s about $170,000 clip. I mean, that’s not money that’s just laying around for a lot of associations but because of our value and our long 15 year run of growing through that value. We had the money in the bank to actually make that decision you know what the funny thing is out of all of our member companies four took advantage of that a ton shot us know about going man what an offer. We appreciate it and here’s our dues.

 

Bill McGlade  29:24

That’s amazing. That was gonna be my question how many? So only four.

 

Tom Morrison  29:28

Yeah, only four. It spoke volumes to our membership that the board even considered that.

 

Bill McGlade  29:37

Tom, I’m speechless. I really am. This conversation, like I’m a deer in headlights listening to you but in a good way where everything you’re saying is is just connecting on the dot for everything and it’s so valuable for every Association professional, every event professional out there to listen to this because this is, you don’t even want to say the future. This is the now this is what it was supposed to be then too.

 

Tom Morrison  30:10

We started early in 2006, like I said, and we’ve been writing it well for 15 years, and, we don’t have exactly perfect, but we’re trying to work it out. We’re at that critical mass, we only have 550 potential members in our industry that we can have as members, and we’ve got 200, we got 50% of them and if you look at the studies, most trade associations have about 45% penetration of their industry. So there’s a part of me that says, gosh, if we tapped out being 50%, but we don’t believe that right now we’re on a crusade to see what message does our messaging have to say, to get the other 50% to want to be in and that’s what we’re going to, we just invested some more money into the forecasting arena, because I’m members of business owners, and forecasting is a huge deal to business owners.

 

Bill McGlade  30:55

Talk a little bit about critical mass when it comes to engagement. Right, because a lot of the engagement factors, the touch points, the community, the benchmarking all of that you are going to collect the engagement levels of that. Talk a little bit about the critical mass what’s needed? What would you consider it a success for engagement levels, and for anything that you would put together really?

 

Tom Morrison  31:18

Well, you know, it’s a couple of different levels. So first, we start by, when I say doubt, you want to know how to measure your engagement and so we measure ours from simply downloading the 13 touch points from a database, we give everybody point, at one point for each. We sort them in highest to lowest and we draw a picture a line, if you’re in five or more than 13, you’re highly engaged in our program, if you’re four to one, you’re actively engaged. But if you’re zero, then obviously you’re not engaged. So we look at him in those three levels because we send different messages to those. So think about it, if you’re involved in five of the programs, you don’t want to get a email that says, hey, you need to be more engaged Bill, do jump in and you’re like, I’m the most engaged member out there. What you want is Bill, man, we thank you for being engaged in our programs, because of you were able to do the great things you will and then you want to send a different message to those that are zero or lower, so that you can so you want to go from no engagement to actually engage, they’re really engaged and so we look at our programming, we look at each individual program and look at the percentages and we don’t get caught. If there’s like four people in a program, we’ll look to maybe sunset it. But we’ve got one program that only 10% of our members are in it. But those 10% that’s the only non-dues revenue program that they’re in. So the moment that we sunset that they go, Wait a minute, that made a big deal in our business. So we try not to look at the programs individually, so much more. So when the overall spectrum of isn’t meeting great and if it’s not taking up a lot of our time, but it’s meeting 10% of the members benefit. We leave it alone and just continue to push it.

 

Bill McGlade  32:59

And so how do you move some of those zeros engaged, right? So those zero points into that next bucket of actively engaged?

 

Tom Morrison  33:09

Well, one, you have to understand if you’ve got their pain points, right? But like I said, I’ve talked to some members that have told me Tom, we really we’re just a small company, we’re not leaving you. We like what you’re doing, we know that you create a nice market for us in the marketplace. So I think the thing, the only thing you can do is continue to talk and listen to your members. But you never leave them alone out there and never talk to them.

 

Bill McGlade  33:32

Never leave them alone, you talked about that beginning you’re not alone. So don’t leave them alone.

 

Tom Morrison  33:36

Here’s what I want. I want the smallest member in the most remote location to know that he or she has a voice in the industry and we and we bring them to the front by getting them involved digitally in our community on online forums, digital committees, those kind of things. So we don’t just want the big guys who can afford to come to a meeting to be the people. We want anybody if you’re living in Des Moines, Iowa with somewhere out and you’ve got a plan out there, we want you to have a voice in the industry and we really try to make people feel like they have a voice.

 

Bill McGlade  34:09

I am not in your industry. But I want to join as a member just so I can be part of your whole, MTI strong.

 

Tom Morrison  34:18

Well, another piece that I think we bring to the table is people like to be around, they want to be involved in something that’s exciting. They do feel and got energy and if it’s one thing I do every day in my life, I really try and do that my wife would tell you that my staff would tell you that is I try I understand the power of that. So I try and use video, whether it’s zoom, we do monthly live webcast, sometimes two a month where I’m interviewing people just like this, but we do it live on video and one thing I do every single one is I make sure that they understand that this team and your board. There’s energy, information, critical information and passion behind serving you and you want to be a part of something exciting that’s bigger than yourself. I’ve just found that to be that that’s kind of the icing on the cake that helps get people excited.

 

Bill McGlade  35:05

Now, I agree with the whole passion aspect, I just wrote about that recently to the viewpoint of if you’re not passionate about it, don’t do it and so if someone’s serving on your board, they have some level of passion for one your organization, but two, the industry that they’re in as well and so you need to utilize that passion to help themselves but also help the organization. So I love that.

 

Tom Morrison  35:30

You know the key to driving that passion is?

 

Bill McGlade  35:32

No, but I would love to hear it.

 

Tom Morrison  35:34

So the key to driving passion for everybody listening in on this is no one reads a letter anymore and goes, wow, there’s some passion there. I’m ready to be in. The key to passion is having I like more video than podcast to a general degree because you can see the person’s, you can see their body language and stuff and it’s so exciting. It’s calculating, so, but whether it’s a video or a podcast, need to have something that is driving the voices so they can hear and see you and that’s the sole reason I do one or two video webcasts for 30, 45 minutes every month is just so they can hear the power and passion coming from Bhumi from the board and everybody around them that they can say, Man, I want to be a part of this. I’m glad I’m a part of this.

 

Bill McGlade  36:20

So we have wonderful series as well. So we might have to have you on there.

 

Tom Morrison  36:25

Well, video strategy is the key to permeating that passion energy out to everybody. If you don’t, I’d say if you don’t have a video strategy, it’s like a great steak with no taste.

 

Bill McGlade  36:35

And video is the futures evolve. I wouldn’t say just engagement, I would just say marketing in general, because you’re right, people want to see the passion that’s going back and forth. I mean, there was a couple fist pumps by me a bunch of the things that you’re saying that people won’t see on this, but what I will say is, they for sure are going to hear the passion in your voice. Because I’m hearing it and I’m leaning in, I’m leaning forward like crazy just to listen to you, you’re on a zoom call with me. So this is this has been fantastic and I appreciate all of the nuggets that you’ve shed for everyone out here. But I would like to ask is there one last piece of parting advice you’d like to share for everyone out there?

 

Tom Morrison  37:17

If there’s one thing you’re gonna do in 2021 over everything else is do the exercise with your board. We’re gonna assume people don’t come to meetings. We’re gonna assume that people hate writing and legislators and what do we have left to talk about with value? What is something past that that makes somebody want to be a member of this association, you need to go through that process? And that and do the live concept of ask, listen, innovate value, create an Excel with an engaged with excellence, you do that, I think you’re gonna find the path that you need to grow your reserves, grow your membership, and grow the difference you’re making in your association.

 

Bill McGlade  37:53

And now is the opportune time to do that. So thank you, Tom and thank you to the audience. This has been fantastic. I know I actually didn’t really speak too much for this, but that’s on purpose because I just wanted you to keep talking Tom honestly. I think we’re probably gonna have to have you on the video series now and I’ll make sure that I’m video prepped for that one. Maybe I’ll even have a halo behind me like, James bond.

 

Tom Morrison  38:21

I would love it man. This is my jam. I love doing this stuff. Because I love to help other associations see, because remember, most people are looking at the TV and they’re caught in the weeds and the next week, and they don’t see that there’s 100 million people between 11 and 34. That’s running our way that’s going to drive housing, cars, agriculture, everything in every Association America is going healthcare is going to double in the next 10 years and so what does that mean for the association’s? It means awesome things. So stay hopeful because the demographics are on your side to grow. just build your value.

 

Bill McGlade  38:55

I love it. All right. Thank you, Tom. Thank you, everyone for listening and as a friendly reminder, please register for sales for your eyes only April 23. It is a free event. We have a great lineup of speakers and who knows and so it is a year round community platform. We might see Tom back on there as well. Thanks again, everyone and we’ll see you next time.

 

Tom Morrison  39:15

Thanks, Bill.