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

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

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.

Why Every Realtor Should Consider a Leads Group

SV Business GroupIt’s a well known fact that Real Estate professionals are among those who typically do well in referral/leads groups. One reason that referral groups are can be such a great source of referrals, is because it gives professionals the opportunity to build new professional relationships and/or strengthen existing ones. Savvy real estate professionals recognize that there are opportunities abound within these tight communities known as referral groups. The one-on-one concept alone gives Realtors access to the clients and friends networks of their group co-members. Referral groups also present an opportunity or Real Estate pros to get acquainted with new faces that come in the form of group visitors (i.e. guests). In fact, the door is wide open for setting appointments with visiting guests, all of whom are prospective clients and group members. These one-on-one conversations can and often do result in closed transactions over time.

Beyond the benefits of one-on-one meeting opportunities, referral groups are a proven marketing activity. Engaging in up to ten marketing activities is known to be a must for sales success, and referral groups provide great potential for the return on investment as one such activity. Participation is, however, key to getting the most out of a referral group; but that’s true with any marketing activity. Participation and active involvement make it all the difference.

Due to the nature of our business, Real Estate professionals rely heavily on partners to help in a transaction, therefore, we are natural networkers. Assuming that Successful agents know: to grow their business is good;  there are number of avenues to do this, like investing in social media, investing in Google ads, determining ways to improve one’s SEO, walking neighborhoods and knocking on doors, attending networking events, or holding open houses.  From my experience, the best leads, and strongest, are from introductions by those that know us, versus internet leads or even open house contacts. I would encourage agents to invest time in participating in a networking group.

~Rod Hibner, Realtor & Partner4Leads Group Lead in Campbell, CA

As a Real Estate professional, finding an opening in a referral group is seldom easy. What should one do in this situation? Ever consider starting your own referral group. Partner4Leads has the training systems, resources and infrastructure needed to build successful, active referral communities. Contact us to find out how we can help you build your own referral generating group.

September Networking Events

Partner4Leads Activity FeedThe month of September is filled with some unique event happenings, as well as the usual event activity at Partner4Leads. We have new group kickoff events in San Francisco, Sunnyvale and Sandy, Utah, and a happy hour mixer event in Santa Rosa, CA. For more info about these various events, see our Eventbrite listings.

Sunnyvale Success Partners Kickoff Event
Fog City Business Group Kickoff Event
Referral Business Now Kickoff Event
Happy Hour for the North Bay Masses

 

Using Snail Mail to Generate Record Guest Numbers

Photo of Lindsey EhrlicherLindsey Ehrlicher and her amazing cast of co-leads of the Santa Rosa Leads Group (aka The M.A.G.E.) have figured out how to get 20-plus guests to a Visitors Day event. Lindsey recently messaged her group with a directive that has become standard procedure for planing their Plus+1 meetings. In the spirit of sharing, Lindsey gave me permission to post the content of her email and Visitors Day Letter. We hope you’ll find it inspirational and a valuable resource for planning your next Plus+1 meeting.

Good evening P4L,

Attached is the letter for our Guest Event on March 8th.  For those of you that missed the meeting today, here is what you missed….

In order to attend our fabulous Guest Event on March 8th at Merrill Lynch, you must turn in your 10 letters by February 22nd.  Two weeks from today.  The letter is already written and formatted for you.  All you have to do is insert the name of the guest, insert your name at the bottom and sign.  Don’t forget to put your business card in each envelope.  These 10 people/business’s don’t have to be people your know.  You can google the categories I sent out, Yelp, Facebook, phone book, business card bulletin boards at coffee shops; there are endless ways to find 10 business’s/people to invite.  If you do know the person/business and want to personalize the letter, you’re welcome to.  Just don’t take away what’s there, add to it.  All letters need to be stuffed, addressed and stamped; handed in to Ryan Kelly on the 22nd, at the meeting.

If you know now you will not be there, turn them in next week the 15th.  If something comes up the week of the 22nd and you can’t make it to the meeting, please arrange to drop them off at my office and we will mail the entire batch out on the 22nd.  This is a group activity and we can’t have a successful Guest Event without each and every one of you participating.  This group thrives on each members accountability, not just in this activity, in everything we do.

For those that haven’t participated in our event; having each member send out 10 letters has been proven to effectively grow referral groups and hold each member accountable.  It’s simple, easy and very effective.  On top of this, Ryan will also be creating a Facebook event and an EventBrite, similar to Evite.

I can’t thank you enough for all you do for the group.  The continued success and participation, will lead us to have the best group in Northern California, that is my goal!

~Lindsey

The Letter
Dear,

Does this statement resonate with you?

New business is critical for my job, business, or professional practice. Without it I am vulnerable to financial setbacks and professional challenges. With it I am unstoppable. The income it creates gives me financial independence and stability.

On March 8th at 11:30am you’re invited to a networking lunch to help benefit and grow your business. There’s no charge for the lunch and the meeting is no cost as well.

Where:  90 South E Street @ Sonoma Ave, downtown Santa Rosa.  Please utilize metered parking or available parking on Sonoma Ave.

When:   March 8th 11:30-12 Networking-Complimentary Lunch.
Meeting promptly starts at 12pm and goes until 1:30.

What:
This is a Partner4Leads referral group. We meet at the Merrill Lynch building at 90 South E Street in downtown Santa Rosa on Friday. Normal meeting hours are 11:45-1:30pm, lunch is included.

Why:
Your profession is one that our members have identified as a target
for referrals. We are an exclusive group, we only allow one member per profession and we would like to meet you.

On March 8th I can give you an introduction to my networking team of motivated local professionals who like helping and referring people. Bring about 50 business cards and be ready to tell people what you do, what a good referral would be for you and how we can help your business grow!

Make sure to RSVP and let us know you’re coming so we can have lunch prepared for you.

Best,

Get an editable copy of the letter here.

Replacing Members Who Aren’t Engaged

Referral group imageThis week, I was copied on an email from a group lead who wanted to express concern to me and his co-leads about attendance at his group’s plus +1 meeting, and attendance in general. It goes without saying that the Summer months are somewhat challenging, because so many of us vacation during this time of year. It’s also safe to say that all groups ebb and flow when it comes to member attendance and participation. Despite these facts, member attendance and participation is something that groups typically have to discuss on a recurring basis.

One point of discussion from the email exchange I had with the aforementioned group lead, was on opening up categories for members who aren’t participating. The ensuing discussion was and is globally applicable to referral groups.

As soon as a member’s attendance drops below 80% and/or they’re not participating in the activities of referring others, meeting one-on-one with others and bringing guests, it’s time to have a conversation. When having such a conversation, it’s important to remind the member(s) in question that her presence and participation are both important to and valued by the group. This is also a great time to refer to your group’s rules on participation, attendance and member replacement. These rules are part of the commitment that Partner4Leads referral group members make to one another when joining a group. You can see the standard and typical group rules at the end of this post. Your conversation with said member should go something like this.

“Hi Member,

Your absence as of late hasn’t gone unnoticed. We would normally expect to hear from you when you can’t make it to a meeting, and expect that you’d send a sub to fill in for you. Alas, we’ve not heard from you lately and frankly, we miss you. Understanding that life and business happens, we’d like to give you a chance to make good on your commitment to the group. Shoot me an email or give me a call to let me know if we can expect to see you at the next meeting. If I don’t hear from you within the next couple of days, I’ll assume that your priorities have shifted and that we should open your category up to another candidate. You may wish to visit our group rules page, as a reminder to the commitment we made to one another when we joined the group.

[Group Rules Link]

I look forward to hearing back to you soon.”

Where can I find Rules for my group?

Open and supportive communication that emphasizes your groups rules for participation is the easiest way to pull absent members back into the mix, or to clear the path for a new candidate. Successful referral groups are all about participation, commitment and accountability. Your engagement with absent and non-participating members support that commitment and accountability.

Typical Group Rules:

Meeting Attendance: Meeting attendance is mandatory; however, on the rare occasions when you can’t make a meeting, you should find someone to attend in your place, and let a managing group leader know that you will be absent. When you have a substitute attend in your place, you will not be marked absent. Your attendance should not drop below 80%

One-on-One Meetings: Members in the group are expected to meet one-on-one with other members, on a rotating basis between meetings. This is an important element in creating an effective group. One-on-one meetings facilitate and support strong relationships, referral trust, and true community. One-on-one meetings also help members discover new referral and coop marketing opportunities.

Member Replacement: Each member is expected to participate and contribute to the group. Participation requirements include sponsoring a member, monthly referral activity and meeting attendance. A strong group is created when everyone feels a sense of responsibility to participate and be active. In the event that a member does not meet their requirements (80% attendance, referral activity, member sponsorship) after an initial 60 day grace period (from the time of joining), the member is automatically placed on probation. When a member is placed on probation, they run the risk of being replaced by another professional in their field. The group leaders reserve the right to replace any existing member who are on probation or they deem to be disruptive to the group.

Group Leaders & Group Management: The group is managed by a voluntary group management team made up of 4-5 appointed members who act as group leaders. All members agree to support as leader at some point if called on. The group leaders serve a minimum of 6 month terms and may repeat terms if desired. There are two key group leader roles — meeting leader and member director. Each of these roles has a primary and backup person. When a primary group leader in either of these roles steps down, the departing leader must appoint and train a new primary leader for that roles. The departing leader then becomes the backup support leader for the role able to fill in on occasion if new primary leader is away. This process ensures continuity, community management and a smooth succession process for group leadership. Group leaders make decisions on behalf of and in the best interest of the group, following Partner4Leads group management guidelines. Decisions related to group management are made by the group leader team and are NOT made by group vote.

Exclusive Profession Representation: Each member may exclusively represent only one profession.

Meeting Agenda & Process:The group follows a proven agenda and process provided by Partner4Leads, Inc.. The group follows this proven agenda and process because it is shown to be effective in running an active group.

12 Month Term: Members in a group who drop out prior to a 12 month term, will not be permitted to join another group. Groups are about long term local business community. Those that attend for short periods of time are not a good fit for a group.

Network Marketing Professionals: Members in network marketing professions are allowed into groups, however they should be talking about the products and services they offer at meetings, not the multi-level recruiting aspect of their business. These members may discuss the recruiting component when doing one-on-ones but should not be pushing this at the meetings.