Spreading the Word About Your New Business

I’m always asking new subscribers and community members the following question.

What’s your #1 biggest challenge right now when it comes to growing your business?

Challenge | growing a business | networking

One of our newest community members responded – “My biggest challenge right now is simply spreading the word about my new practice. I’m a start up right out of school…”

Similar responses I’ve heard from other community members include:

  1. One of my challenges for growing my business is exposure to new people…
  2. My biggest challenge right now would have to be getting the word out about my business…
  3. My biggest challenge currently is that I’m new to the area and don’t know anyone…
  4. The hardest part of growing a business for me personally has been starting in a new career in a area…
  5. My number one challenge right now is name flow. I don’t have much of a warm market…
  6. The biggest issue now is getting more quality leads for our product.

Here’s what I suggest to those of you operating service based businesses or who provide other services that require good old fashion person-to-person / people-to-people / face time–and I’m not referring to the iPhone app.

Networking is going to be a huge factor in your initial success. Here are my thoughts on your best options, and in no particular order. Everyone has to find their own jam, so to speak.

Attend networking events – Use social sites such as Meetup.com, Eventbrite.com and Facebook to find events in your area.

Organize and host your own events – You don’t necessarily have limit the event themes to your industry. Branch out a little. People are not surprisingly interested in things like art, photography, gardening, and more.

Join a networking organization or group – Whatever group you choose, be very actively involved. It’ll get you noticed.

Create a networking group – As an example, starting your own leads group or mastermind group. Even if you don’t successfully get a group going, the exercise of pitching a group is going to get you in front of more people.

Volunteer – Do this because you want to make a difference, but also be sure to introduce your self and be very actively involved.

For questions about any of these tactics, you can always reach me via our Facebook or Twitter (@partner4leads).

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

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.







Promoting Referral Partners Through Your Social Network

We’ve written about it in the past, but it’s worth reiterating the importance of actively referring your partners. Reason one is that by letting clients know that you’re a hub of resources, you’re strengthening your client relationships; and strong relationships improves your chances for more business. Reason two is that actively referring your partners plays into the “givers gain” philosophy. It’s human nature to want to help those who have helped us.

Part of referring your partners involves actively seeking out opportunities to do so. Promoting partners in your social network can be an effective way to let clients and friends know that a) you’re involved in a referral group and b) that you’re a resource hub. Like any marketing activity, regularity and repetition is key. Social media is a great way to promote your partners on a weekly basis. Choose a partner to promote weekly, focusing first on your your Professional Pod (i.e. ideal referral partners). As with your one-on-one meetings, make your Pod the initial focus, and then expand outward to others in your referral group and sphere of influence.

Here are some examples of social media posts that you can use to promote your partners.

Facebook post screenshot for Copacabana Design USA







Twitter screen shot promoting Partner4Leads group




Your Partner4Leads group website includes easy to use links to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (Posting About Your Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). Get creative and get social when promoting your partners and group. It’s easy exposure and could help you find your next client or referral partner.

Top 3 Reasons for Sending a Sub

Sleep is no substitute for caffeineI recently polled leaders from groups that have 20 or more members asking them to share their top three reasons for sending a sub. Bare in mind that these are also among the top reasons that they also advocate the practice.

From Ryan Kelly, Group Leader / Consultant

  1. Proving to the group that I value my seat enough to send somebody in my place whenever I’m not there. By sending a substitute, it proves that I remember that there’s a group meeting happening and I’m expected to be there.
  2. By sending a substitute it allows the membership and group to be exposed to somebody new. It not only expands their circle of influence, but expands the substitutes circle of excellence.
  3. All of the substitutes that are coming to my groups, could eventually see the value of joining a group. Therefore expanding our membership.

From Terri Miller, Group Lead

  1. Gives the group members the opportunity to market themselves and network with someone new!
  2. Gives the sub a chance to check out the group if they are in a field that isn’t represented
  3. New energy in the room keeps everyone on their game!

From Tim Smith, Group Lead

Tip: Choose someone with a business not currently represented in the group and offer them the “opportunity” to sub as well as meet some folks who could help them grow their business.

  1. Your business is always represented even if you’re not there (and you get credit for a guest).
  2. Your sub may end up doing business with someone in the group (which gives you credit for a referral!)
  3. Your sub may end up joining (which gives you credit for a sponsored member)

From Rob Mokry, Group Lead

  1. Most importantly, it will keep you in the forefront of every member’s thoughts.  “Out of sight, out of mind” is a very true statement, and if they aren’t thinking about you…more than likely it will slip their mind when a lead opportunity comes about that could have been passed to you.
  2. Although the guest will more then likely not give be as good at representing you as you would (unless your name is Tim Brown). At least any new guests will hear your name, what you do, and hopefully inquire about your services/grab one of your business cards.  You may do something that they may need or know of someone else who could benefit from knowing you.
  3. It will help you to keep an untarnished attendance record, and keep that member score up!  (Which means a lot to me personally)  It shows to the group that you actually care enough to have your seat represented EVERY WEEK!!!

From Christina Zegrean, Group Lead and recent Partner4Leads Radio Guest

  1. The group member is represented during time of absence.
  2. The group member is exposing another potential member to the power of their networking group…and are potentially able to add a member as a result.
  3. Sending a sub suggests that you care enough about the group…and aren’t just “blowing” it off.
  4. Without representation you are missing out on possible leads/connections.
  5. People need to see you (or hear your infomercial) to remember you.

On a closing note, I know of cases where people ask someone to sub for them, successfully get that person to attend their meeting as a sub, but fail to provide their infomercial and reporting activity. Your sub can’t represent you without this information. That’s missing at least half the point!

Timing and Structure Tips for Group Meetings

Egg timer imageTiming and structure are at the core of a good referral group meeting. Here are three helpful tips for improving your group meetings.

Time introductions: If you have 12 in attendance and everyone gets a 60-second introduction, introductions will use about 7.5 minutes of  meeting time. Introductions can be as short as 30 seconds, so just do what makes sense as your membership and guest attendance grows. Designate an official time keeper. Find a good smartphone timer apps with fun options for buzzer sounds, or be old-school and tap a glass with a utensil.

Have your members sound-off during group reporting: In round-robin fashion, members should let the group and guests know if they did any of the following since your last meeting:

  1. Gave or received a lead
  2. Brought a guest to the meeting
  3. Had a 1-on-1 with a member (or guest)
  4. Sponsored a new member
  5. Have a testimonial for another member

Always be the trainers: The most highly effective group leads are always reminding and training members to stick to the program. Introductions are for just that (introductions), testimonials should be given during group reporting and marketing for upcoming events should be discussed during your open discussions. Most members (and guests) need gentle reminders that the meeting has a structure and runs best when sticking to the schedule and program.

Do these things, and your meetings will run smoothly, be more productive, and will impress your guests.

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