The 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?”
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.
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.
I 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
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.
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.
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
Gives the group members the opportunity to market themselves and network with someone new!
Gives the sub a chance to check out the group if they are in a field that isn’t represented
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.
Your business is always represented even if you’re not there (and you get credit for a guest).
Your sub may end up doing business with someone in the group (which gives you credit for a referral!)
Your sub may end up joining (which gives you credit for a sponsored member)
From Rob Mokry, Group Lead
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.
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.
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
The group member is represented during time of absence.
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.
Sending a sub suggests that you care enough about the group…and aren’t just “blowing” it off.
Without representation you are missing out on possible leads/connections.
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 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:
Gave or received a lead
Brought a guest to the meeting
Had a 1-on-1 with a member (or guest)
Sponsored a new member
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.
(Article) Not sure how to generate referrals for others or uncover referral opportunities for your referral partners. Explore some of the core principles, best practices and techniques used by professional networkers to digg-up referral opportunities…
(Article) One of the keys to making a referral network pay dividends is to make sure you surround yourself with your “IDEAL” referral partners. Learn who those professionals are and why you want to make an extra effort to connect and invite those professionals to your network or group.
(Article) In some industries referrals can account for as much as 90% of business. And for many professionals referrals are the primary source of new business. So, how do you create a true referral network that generates maximum referral business? Follow four simple steps…