Whether you are new referral group, a small group or a large established group, you’ll want to get into the habit of holding a regular “Plus +1 Meeting” every couple of months.
What is a Plus +1 Meeting and Why is It So Useful?
A Plus +1 Meeting is a coordinated referral group meeting where EVERYONE in the group agrees to bring a guest. The meeting runs in a similar fashion to your regular meeting, only you allow for more mixer time at the end of the event for open networking.
Plus +1 Meetings are ESSENTIAL for effective groups, for a variety of reasons…
1. Meeting New People in the Community. One of the benefits of a referral group is meeting new business owners and professionals in the community (whether they join your group or not). Groups sometimes forget this. Plus +1 meetings are a great way to demonstrate the value, benefit and importance of using your group as a way to meet new people.
2. Generate More Referrals. Many groups report guests generate as much as 20% of referral business passed in the group. When people visit your group, they often need services offered by members or they know others that need those services. When you have good guest turnout, you see more referral opportunities.
3. Trains Everyone to Always Be Inviting Guests. Some referral groups have 4-5-6 guests at EVERY meeting. Members have learned that inviting guests creates a weekly gathering where everyone can meet new business owners and professionals in the community. Plus +1 Meetings help train your group to use meetings as a platform to meet new professionals.
4. Creates Positive Group Energy. Ever notice when your meeting has a number of guests it feels more energetic, new and interesting? Plus +1 Meetings go a long way in revitalizing and energizing your community.
5. Helps Grow Your Group. Finally and most obviously, regular Plus +1 Meetings will help you grow your group. When guests show up to meetings, there’s good energy and you’re likely to grow your group. Adding new members and connections to your network is an important part of creating a vibrant and active group.
How to Coordinate and Run a Plus +1 Meeting
Holding an effective Plus +1 Meeting only requires a little concerted group effort. Here are the basics…
1. Plan the meeting. Plan a meeting date 2-3 meetings out, and collaborate with members at your meetings on everyone bringing at least one guest. You can provide a reward for the person who has the most guests. Let everyone know the meeting will run 20 minutes longer than usual, to allow for guest/member networking after the regular meeting. Coordinating coffee and snacks are a good addition, if appropriate.
2. Remind everyone leading up to event. At every meeting leading up to the event, remind members of the event and that they should a guest. Announce that , “This is our +1 Mixer where we collectively bring guests, and everyone has an opportunity to meet many business owners and professionals in our community.” Send an email 4-5 days before the event and remind everyone again that they need to have a guest.
3. Member activity the week of the event. If you have an established group, push everyone to make a an extra effort, the week before the event, to be active in passing referrals and doing their one-on-ones. This is important, because the reporting you do at the meeting will leave an impression on guests as to whether you have an active or an inactive group.
4. At the meeting. Run the meeting the way you would an ordinary meeting with a few minor exceptions. 1) Give the guests a little extra time when speaking. 2) Make guests feel extra welcome and engaged by introducing yourself and taking the time to meet with them. 3) Make sure to follow-up after the meeting with guests about joining your group.
Get in the habit of doing a Plus +1 Meeting every couple of months and you will help: make your group a regular networking channel, train members to regularly invite guests, and continually bring new energy, excitement and leads to the group.