Growing your group and adding new members is an important element to create an active, effective referral group. If you’ve ever attended other referral groups, you’ll realize that those that become large follow some proven practices to help turn guests into members.
Here’s a quick list of the key considerations, and processes that will help you turn your guests into members…
1. Your meeting and group sells itself. If you have good meeting attendance with people reporting that they are passing referrals, inviting guests and having one-on-one’s, your group will make a positive impression on guests. It demonstrates that yours is a good group to join. By the same token, if you have poor attendance and little member activity, your group can be seen in a negative light. Great groups are built by holding everyone accountable to contribute, and members members following the rules and best practices. Your meetings reflect this.
2. Engage Guests at the Meeting. This is a little thing you can do that will have a big impact. Have you ever been to a meeting, sat around and listened to people and not really felt like you were part of anything? The lesson here is, engage your guests and make them feel like they are an integral part of the meeting. Give them extra time to talk about themselves, ask them questions, encourage them to participate, and engage with them in a supportive way. When guests are involved their interest goes way up.
3. Managing an effective guest breakout meeting. At the end of each meeting, one of the group leads meets separately with all the guests. This is an important component, and how you present the group and its benefits will play a significant part in guest interest in joining. When meeting with guests after the regular meeting, take them to a separate area and follow the provided Partner4Leads agenda for meeting with guests. This will help you present your group in a positive and beneficial light.
4. Following up with guests is key. After the your meeting, one of your leads will complete your group’s post meeting form. When the form is submitted all guests (that you select to invite) are sent an automatic email invitation with a link to an online member application form. Often times guests don’t join until you contact them a second or third time. A few days after the meeting, reach out to guests personally by email or phone, and tell them you enjoyed meeting them and would love to have them join the group. A second follow-up often goes a long way. Here’s a typical message some group leaders send as a second follow-up message…
Thanks for coming to our referral group meeting the other day. It was great having you! Please do let me know if you can join us. If so, just use the link provided to complete our group’s online member application. Once you’re application is approved, you’ll be added to our group’s online referral directory, and everyone in the group will be notified you’ve been added to our community.
If you aren’t joining us, please do let me know as we’d like to invite another person in your profession.
5. Encourage all members to follow-up with guests. One of the best ways to convert members to guests is to encourage members who bring guests, to follow-up with those guests, and to encourage all members in the group to reach out to all guests. People who feel wanted are more inclined to want to be part of your group.
6. Allow guests two visits. Data shows that most of the professionals that need to attend meetings more than twice before deciding join a referral group are usually not a good fit. Much of the time these professionals are referral group hoppers. They look to attend many groups, squeeze what they can out of them, and provide little in return. As a general rule limit guests to two visits, unless there are unique circumstances.