It’s a well known fact that the momentum of referral groups tends to ebb and flow. The degree to which this ebb and flow occurs varies by group. The most common culprit of momentum loss is the result of few or no new visitors at the weekly meetings. This can have group members scratching their collective heads over the question of how to attract more guests.
Often, members will stop inviting guests once they’ve gone through your entire personal network. In this case, one can choose to look at the situation as a challenge similar to the challenge that businesses face on a regular basis–the challenge of getting more leads, or in this case, more guests. While the answer is relatively simple, it’s not always so obvious.
We’ve all heard the phrases “putting it out there,” and have at least some understanding of what this phrase means. We’re also all familiar with the concept of cold calling, and it’s probably safe to say that most of us hate the idea of cold calling. If you need more leads, you have to “put it out there,” which is part of why you’re in a referral group. We must approach the challenge of generating consistent guest traffic in a similar way. We must “put it out there.” Do you remember when you took the first step to visit and eventually join your group? How about the fist time you asked someone for their business? I’m willing to bet that not every customer you acquired came by referral or necessarily through someone you know. If I’m wrong, prepare yourself for the day when you have to go meet someone new people, and ask them for their business. Let’s come back to the challenge of generating guest traffic. One must “put it out there,” and the time inevitably comes when one must find new people to invite to your group meeting. By “find new people,” we’re talking about going beyond your existing circle of influence.
Let’s suppose for a moment that you know where to find new people. Let’s also suppose, you’re no confident that you know the best way to invite some who hardly knows you, to visit your next group meeting. Try this easy approach. When you extend an invitation for someone to visit your group, don’t bother with saying things like, “we meet every week,” “there’s a fee to become a member,” or “we’re required to refer others in the group.” Why not invite them to your upcoming networking meeting, so that you can introduce them to your trusted circle of professional friends and partners? Tell them you’d be happy to put them on the guest list for your upcoming meeting. Try saying, “Who knows, you might even meet your next client.” In reality, you’re helping your fellow group members by introducing them to a new visitor. In reality, you’re also helping your guest by introducing them to all of your trusted partners. Even if your guest doesn’t join the group, they may do business with one of your fellow members. There’s nothing but good things that can come out of bringing a guest to your next meeting. Besides, guests bring new energy to your weekly meetings and consequently make weekly meetings more fun. By the way, this is all going to feed into your business. It’s the collective effort nature of referral groups. When everyone invites guests, everyone is giving, everyone is benefiting.
Cold calling–yuk! Right? My business coach redefined cold calling for me. I used to see it as picking up the phone and calling people who didn’t know me, in an effort to get an appointment. Maybe that’s what cold-calling really is, but I know a better way. By engaging in any number of activities such as online search, talking with my social network contacts, and/or attending networking events, I meet new people who are in business for themselves. These people are almost always curious about Partner4Leads, as they might be in your specific Partner4Leads group. So now I have a name, and phone number and/or an email address. Maybe it’s a new LinkedIn connection or someone I’m connected with on Facebook, Meetup.com or some other social network. Now what? Pick up the phone, send an email or do whatever it takes to reconnect with this person and invite them to coffee and/or to your group’s next meeting. If your invitation turns into a visitor, you’re going to be appreciated; and you will have taken a step toward generating new leads for you and your fellow group members. Simple, right?