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Membership Has Its' Benefits

Why you should be a member of your trade association

American Express, unlike other charge cards, refers to those who have one of their cards as being members instead of customers. Understandably, their slogan is "Membership has its' benefits".

Whether you do or do not agree with American Express, there is another place where this slogan is definitely true: your pharmacy association. While some associations still refer to that check you send each year as being your "dues", in reality the check is an investment in your future and a repayment for your past.

In the past few months, as a speaker before various state pharmacy associations and for various pharmaceutical wholesalers, I have heard many reasons for joining. Each answer was the justification by an individual to make that investment.

As you read through this story, perhaps you will see yourself in one of the examples. Our intention is to persuade you to join, or renew; and this from an outsider who clearly understands the logic given by each person.

The first two people to volunteer information were pharmacists who owned their own business. One told the story of a problem they had experienced with their state workman's compensation plan. There had been an assessment against their business, and as they were unable to have it reversed, they went to the state association to enlist their help in pleading their case.

The answer given by this person clearly showed the reason for the investment. "If I total the amount I have paid the association each year for as long as I have been a member, and if I continue to be a member until I am 100 years old, I still will not have paid as much as my association was able to save for me. Through the lobbyist which the association employs, the decision was reversed and we did not pay the penalty, interest or fine."

The second person, an independent pharmacy owner nearing retirement, had an experience when he first began to look for someone to purchase his business. In checking with some of the pharmacy schools, he found schools were not making any effort to tell students that business ownership was an opportunity. Instead, all students were being told of chain store, hospital or clinical jobs.

This pharmacist spoke with his state association and assisted as they began to create material to show students there were more than three career opportunities to choose from. This situation was confirmed by a young pharmacist who was working in an independent and utilizing a stock option plan with the owner.

"It was not until I saw material from the state association that I found out I had another option."

From another direction, came from a response from a chain store druggist. She explained that her husband was being transferred to another city and the chain she worked for did not have stores within fifty miles of where they were going to live. It was through her association membership, and attending c.e. events that she had made contact with pharmacists working in other chains.

Putting out a couple of feelers brought calls from contacts within the chains, and a new job was secured before she and her husband began their house hunting. Even the retired pharmacists we spoke to, maintained their membership within the association. Some gave reasons of just wanting to see friends at events, and others did so to keep their license intact for the occasion when someone called and asked them to do some temporary "fill in" work at the counter.

There were those who spoke from the "it is time to repay" point of view. An example given was the pharmacist who remembered their state legislature considering a bill which was going to make it more difficult on all pharmacists with regard to continuing education.

Again the lobbying efforts of the state association succeeded in getting the issue voted down. "When I calculated how many hours that would save me each year, it was easy to see the association was a good investment."

There were also those who had joined the association when they were in college and did so because of peer pressure. However, after several years of being out in the workforce, they continued their membership simply out of habit. "It is a good habit to maintain. Just like reading the various trade magazines so as to stay on top of my profession", was one answer given.

Membership has its' benefits may be the right slogan for American Express. It definitely is for the pharmacy association, just like the second American Express slogan is right for pharmacists with regard to their association, "Don't go to work without it!"

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
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