This 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.
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.”
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.