Creating a successful leads group is fairly simple in concept. In fact, it can be broken down into three steps:
- Bring a group of business owners and salespeople together each week
- Build relationships with each other
- Pass business leads to each other
How hard is that?
The challenge, and possibly the challenge with most endeavors, arrives in the form of all the little things that must happen in order for those three big things listed above to materialize. In this article, we start with the first step:
Bring a group of business owners and salespeople together each week.
The problem with business owners and salespeople is that work occasionally gets in the way of marketing. They know they should be at the meeting, but things come up – that’s business. (Or is it? But that’s the subject for another article.) And before you know it you are averaging 5 out of your 10 members. If that happens – you can most likely kiss your leads group goodbye because it won’t last longer than another 3 months.
The solution, however, is easy.
Most people know a good 8-10 business people that have knowledge of your business and are probably participating in another leads group where attendance is important. If everyone in your group were to make a pact with 2 or 3 of those people to simply be a sub when you know you will miss a meeting, you would go as a group from 50-70% attendance to 90%+ attendance.
How important is attendance?
A high percentage of attendance:
- dramatically increases the energy and enthusiasm of the group (and in fact the occasional sub would add new life and new perspective)
- increases the close rate with guests
- decreases the “burden” of the group and less people would quit over time
The above benefits become even more important with a small group. With a small group, if even 25% of the members are missing, the chances of a guest joining can decrease as much as 50-75%. Why? Because there is less enthusiasm, there are unhelpful comments (“boy we sure are having trouble getting members here”), there is a tendency to bypass the regular agenda and “wing” it – in a word, there is trouble. Guests want to join a group where the members are excited and committed and that begins with attendance.
So where does your group go from here?
Challenge your members to find two reliable attendance partners in the next two weeks. Ask them to bring in the names and contact numbers of the attendance partners and create a “qualified substitute” list. Here are some qualities you might want to find in your attendance partners:
- Someone coming out of their shell. If you meet someone who is a little shy at a networking event, let him or her know this is a great first step into the world of networking. “This is a chance for you to try out a leads group and see how leads groups work,” you could say. “I will write down what I would like for you to say on my behalf so that all you have to do is read the card. My members will love to meet you.”
- Someone in another leads group with attendance requirements and create a trade agreement. “If you come to my group when I can’t make it – I will come to yours when you can’t make it.” Set up a limit in advance: “we agree to only ask each other once per month at the most to substitute.”
- Someone (if possible) who has a business not represented in your group. Another aspect of this is to make sure the group knows to allow attendance partners to give their own commercial as well as yours. You never know – the person may end up joining the group but that’s a great reason to lose an attendance partner. You then just find another in a related industry and soon you are surrounded by your power partners.
Important Note: Attendance Partners are not an excuse for you to miss 75% of the meetings. Your goal should be to attend at least 75% of the meetings yourself and you use the attendance partner just for those times when something comes up and you can’t get out of it.
This one key to leads group success could very well make or break your group. The biggest reason for groups folding is not a lack of guests – it is a lack of members showing up when you have guests. Nothing is more demoralizing to your membership than to have a great guest show up with only 5 out of 10 or 7 out of 15 members present. Leads group success begins with 90-100% attendance.
Make it happen.
Life is short, Live Big!