P4L’s Stance Tardiness & Leaving Meetings Early

What’s the P4L policy on tardiness and leaving meetings early?

A recurring question from group leaders is “What’s the P4L policy on tardiness and leaving meetings early?” Having started and managed several referral based leads groups within and outside of P4L, the best practices are common across the board.

Looking at watch, running late, leaving early

Best Practice: If you arrive 10 minutes late or leave the meeting more than 10 minutes early, you are counted absent.

That’s it, but there is an intersection between best practice and policy. As  group leader, I always exercised discretion and encouraged my team to do the same. Here’s what I mean.

Where best practice meets policy

I’m not prone to penalizing superstar members. Yes, I’m talking preferential treatment for those who are exceptional contributors to the group. I’m also not a fan of penalizing members who have truly extenuating circumstances surrounding an infraction. The fact is that you and your leadership team can be as flexible or as rigid as you want. It’s all about using your discretion as the situation warrants.

Should a member bother attending if they’re going to be 10 minutes late or leave 10 minutes early? Heck yeah! Why miss an opportunity to meet a future client or to get a referral. As group members, we’re always making first impressions, which is where better late than never applies.

How would you feel if I was 10 minutes late to a meeting with your best client?

For anyone who thinks this policy is remotely unreasonable, I ask the following. How would you feel if I was 10 minutes late to a meeting with your best client, someone you referred to me? I hope the answer is not too happy.

Looking at watch, running late, leaving early

Implementing this best practice the right way.

Implementing this best practice for tardiness and early departure the right way is pretty simple.

  1. Notify members via a group email
  2. Make an in meeting announcement
  3. Recap the best practice implementation in a post-meeting group email
  4. Rinse & repeat as necessary

And as always, contact yours truly if you have questions or require a little extra guidance.

Looking at watch, running late, leaving early

New Membership Acquisition

“Acquisition” sounds a bit impersonal, but we all want new members. Here’s why…

  • New members bring new business opportunities
  • New members bring new opportunities to serve others
  • Every new member ensures your group’s sustainability

Part of getting new members is inviting people to check out your group. I’ve written plenty about this, but if your new or just want a refresher, check out these blog posts.

Best techniques for inviting guests

Driving a weekly guest parade

Plant, leaves, seeds, growth

The Membership Directive

The guest break out session of part of the bigger process called The Membership Directive. It all begins when a guest walks in the door to your group meeting. It is conducted by a group leader, such as a member of your Membership Directive team; but an important behind-the-scene function that all members should have a basic understanding of.

Key Points of the Guest-Breakout Conversation

Here are the key points of the guest-breakout conversation.

Start by asking, “What do you think of our group meeting so far?” Then take note of any questions. You’ll be able to answer them in the minutes that follow. Next explain what the group is all about and what being a regular looks like.

Here are your specific talking points.

  1. Our group is relationship-first business community
  2. We meet weekly and ask all members to send someone in their step, if they expect to be absent
  3. We’re expected to meet 1-on-1 with each other, on a recurring and rotating basis. This helps build our relationship first culture.
  4. Everyone is expected to give at least 1 referral per month, to another member in the group
  5. Expected to bring 1 guest per month to a group meeting
  6. Our group is membership based group and professional exclusive
  7. The path to membership is to first visit two meetings, so we’d like to invite you back to attend our next meeting
  8. There’s a $50 onetime fee to join our group + a monthly membership fee, but it’s only $50/month.
  9. First we want you to visit again to make sure that our group is a good mutual fit for you and your business
  10. If all goes well following your next visit, you apply for membership online

Close by asking, “Do you have any questions before we return to the meeting?”

You can read more about our Membership Directive process and best practices in this blog post.

Membership Growth

Did you like or do you have questions about this post? Leave a comment below.

When is the Timing Right to Give an Outside Lead?

Here’s an important question that referral leads group members should ask of one another. When is the timing right to give an outside lead? Put another way, when is the timing right for referring someone outside of your group to another member? Right now, or yesterday are the obvious answers.

Owning a Prospect’s Trust

Building relationships old and new will help you give (and receive) outside leads | People hanging out in grassThe fact is, we can’t refer someone as an outside lead without owning that person’s trust, especially if you’re referring them to someone who provides a big ticket product or service. If you’re referring to someone in financial services or say a business coach, you really need the prospect’s trust. You also need a certain level of own credibility, and a reputation for surrounding yourself with exceptional people–people who deliver crazy amounts of value.

Do you deliver crazy amounts of value?

Do you provide the kind of value and expertise that earns the trust of your clients? If not, you have a big fat obstacle on your hands; but let’s assume for the sake of argument, that you have a reputation that screams trust, credibility, and value bombs. In this case, you have the trust of your clients and prospects. You’re good to go, right? Maybe.

Placing trust in your referral partner

Asking good questions and really listening will help build strong relationships, and might even produce an outside lead | People hanging in cafe, a view from oustide windowHere’s another important question referral leads group members should ask of one another. Do I trust my referral partners?

In order to refer one of your group member referral partners, you need to trust that they can and will deliver value at the highest level. Well do you trust your referral partners? If the answer is anything but yes, the next question is why not? Here’s a possibility. You haven’t taken the time to really know them and their business. Your weekly meetings and recurring/rotating 1-on-1s are instruments for deepening partner relationships and trust. Leverage them.

If you have any concerns with any of your partners, it’s time to have some honest and open discussion. By doing so, you’ll help your member partner and you’ll help your group. Or you could just never refer them and hope that they eventually go away, but I would encourage discourse. Open and honest discussion provides the best chance for you and your partner(s) to overcome situations where trust and confidence are lacking.

The Opportune Time to Give an Outside Lead

The opportune time to give an outside lead will present itself if you’re listening to your prospects–really listening. You can improve your chances of finding these opportune moments by asking better questions. Better questions are those that give you insight into a prospect’s business. If you’re really good at asking questions, you’ll also get insights into your prospects personal life, what keeps them up at night, and why the do what they do. You might even get them asking you questions about your business, your personal life, and your why. The aforementioned trust is all about relationships. You already have some of those relationships. You also have opportunities to improve existing relationship, and to develop new ones. The simple truth where creating and nurturing relationships is concerned, is that you need to be seen and heard in order do create and nurture them. You need to regularly meet with people, with new people. You need to meet with friends, old friends, new friends and friends you’ve not yet made. Go to networking events. Host networking events. Join groups. Volunteer. Schmooze a little, and remember to listen.

What’s an Outside Lead and Why You Need Them

What is an outside lead?

Very specifically, an outside lead is a referral to someone who is NOT a member of your group, but who has direct interest in services provided by a member of your group.

Here’s a specific example.

Member A, we’ll call her Annie, is your group’s Photographer. She specializes in photographing people, and even more specifically, loves working with professional musicians.

Member B, let’s call him Hunter, offers Copy Writing services as a member of your group.

  • Hunter knows a professional musician by the name of Michael (NOT a member of your group)
  • Michael is looking for a photographer to do promo shots his band’s upcoming tour
  • Hunter tells Michael about Annie, highly recommending her photography services
  • Michael expresses interest in connecting with Annie.
  • Hunter introduces Annie to Michael

That is an outside lead!

photo: Two professionals walking

Another example is involves a referral to someone who is of direct strategic interest to a member of your group. You can learn more about this type of referral by checking out this blog post.

Here’s why you needs outside leads.

You can refer yourself to other members to your hearts content, but doing only this will limit the growth potential of your business and the businesses of your co-members. It will also limit the membership growth potential of your entire group, predicated on the fact that the value of a group is largely measured on the quality of referral lead activity. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with members doing business with one another. In fact it’s encouraged; but the fact remains that real and ongoing sales growth comes by way of outside leads. This ongoing sales growth in turn raises the value proposition of membership and the group as a whole.

Your group and P4L is a relationship first community, based on a philosophy of abundance and giving. Give outside leads to others, and the universe will send outside leads your way. This assumes your also giving lots of value to others and that you’re really good at what you do.

Have thoughts on this topic? Leave me a comment below.

Photo of women in bakery business

Ask Better Questions and Listen More

Asking better questionsThe topic of asking better questions came up recently in conversation in the context of having productive 1-on-1 meetings.  The person with whom I was having the discussion suggested that everyone talks about asking better questions, but so few people do so.  He went so far as to ask me what questions should we be asking?  That in and of itself is a tough question.

In the setting of a 1-on-1, where I’m trying to learn about someone’s business and their specific customer needs, I typically ask the following two questions.

“Tell me about a project you’re currently working on, or a client with whom you recently worked?”

The response will give me a better picture of the business in question (and the business person). Continue reading Ask Better Questions and Listen More

Having a Better One on One

This is your weekly member call recording for Monday, 14 Nov 2016

Lincoln Coffee Lounge, coffee meetingIf you’d like to see the rules I referenced in the recording, read this great blog post written by one of our original co-founders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. Continue reading Membership Growth