Forging Business Connections Throughout Metro Chattanooga

A Typical ABL Meeting

The following is our exact meeting agenda with a brief description of why we do it this way. Although the need arises from time to time to deviate from this schedule, we try to stick to it as best we can.

Call To Order.

Although some of our members like to arrive early to eat and chit-chat, our president officially calls the meeting to order at 7:30am.

This call to order usually comes with a reminder for our members to turn off the ringer on our cell phones. We understand that business calls are important, but we don't want to disrupt someone's train of thought when they are speaking.

Pledge To The Flag.

We love our country so much that we put it's name in our name! To show our appreciation to a nation that grants us our freedom, we start each meeting by reciting the "Pledge Of Allegiance."

Introductions.

The president introduces himself and the vice-president. If any visitors are attending, they will be introduced as well.

Purpose and Overview of ABL.

The president chooses a member at random to give a brief summation of what ABL is.

Explanation of the Card-box.

The member who is currently in charge of the card-box gives a quick explanation of its use. Visitors can take business card from the box, but only members can put cards into the box.

Induct New Members.

On the days when we get to induct a new member, the new member is joined by the entire membership in reciting the ABL "Code of Ethics." When completed, the new member is given a handy ABL portfolio containing all of our member's business cards.

Educational Minute.

The member who is currently in charge of the educational minute will present a brief topic of his or her choosing with the goal of educating the membership on some aspect of operating a successful business.

30 second Presentations.

Every member and visitor is given thirty seconds, or so, to deliver their elevator pitch. Members often use this time to tell of new services offered, or to show new products. It is also advisable to tell who would be a good prospect for you.

Vice-Presidents Report.

The sitting vice-president will give his or her report on the previous weeks meeting. This report consists of the following data points:

  • Number of referrals exchanged at the previous meeting.
  • Number of visitors attending the previous meeting.
  • A referral reality check.
  • Future speakers schedule.

Introduction of First Speaker.

The sitting vice-president introduces the day's first speaker by reading from a member provided information sheet.

First Speaker Takes the Floor.

The speaker has five minutes to speak to the group about his business, products and/or services. Samples can be passed around for the membership to inspect. Literature handouts and visual aids may also be used if the speaker chooses.

At the end of the five minutes the speaker is given two additional minutes, more or less, to continue his presentation, or for taking questions from the other members.

This process allows each of us to gain an intimate knowledge of each other's business, build rapport and trust, and makes each of us better equipped to prospect for each other.

Introduction of Second Speaker.

Same as above.

Second Speaker Takes the Floor.

Same as above.

Occasional Training Days!

Occasionally we forgo both of the seven minute speakers in lieu of a fifteen minute training session. These sessions can be led by anyone, but must teach a topic beneficial to running a successful business. A training session must not be used to feature anyone's business.

Pass Referrals.

And now the main event! We go around the room and announce who we are, what company we represent, and pass any referrals we may have for other members. We also speak briefly about the lead and how it came about if applicable.

Visitor Orientation.

At this point in the meeting, a member of the Visitor's Committee will escort any visitors to a table outside of the meeting room where it is quieter. The visitors will have the ABL rules explained to them and will be able to ask questions. Each visitor will be given an ABL membership packet, which contains these rules and an application for membership should the visitor decide to join.

Draw for Door Prizes.

Each of the two seven minutes speakers are required to provide a door prize valued at $10.00 on the day of their speaking. It is ideal if the door prize a member chooses to provide is representative of his or her business, but $10.00 cash is also acceptable.

A member is chosen to draw two leads slips, at random, from the days exchanged leads. Those two lead givers are awarded the two door prizes.

On the days when there is no speaker due to training or member discussion, ABL will pay for one member's breakfast as chosen by a random lead slip draw.

Business Announcements.

The President opens the floor for business announcements. Any member may make any announcement that concerns ABL, their business, or doing business in general.

Closing Quote.

A member will read a quote designed to help us in business, for us to reflect on during the coming week.

Adjourn Meeting

The president will officially adjourn the meeting and remind everyone to turn their cell phone ringers back on.

Non-Business Announcements.

The president now call for any non-business announcements. Any member may make any announcement.

Meeting Is Concluded

We always try to reach this point by 8:30 am each week so that everyone may start their day. We manage to pack a whole lot into a single hour! Quite often, some members may stick around for awhile discussing lead details, chatting, or conducting a one-on-one.

Networking:

An activity by which groups of business people gather to build rapport and gain contacts, with the goal of growing one's business.

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Leads Group:

An organized group of business people who refer one another to their business contacts, and who usually meet on a regular basis to exchange those referrals.

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Pledge Of Allegiance:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

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Our Card-Box:

"Each of our members are encouraged to keep a supply of their business cards in the card-box at all times. This box is passed around each week. Members and visitors should take anyone's card they need, and members can re-stock their own cards.

This allows our members to always have the other member's cards for handing to referrals."

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Code of Ethics:

"Upon my acceptance to ABL, I agree to abide by the following Code of Ethics during the tenure of my participation in the organization:

  • I will provide the quality of services at the prices that I have quoted.
  • I will be truthful with the members and their referrals.
  • I will build good will and trust among members and their referrals.
  • I will take responsibility for following up on the referrals I receive.
  • I will display a positive and supportive attitude with ABL members.
  • I will live up to the ethical standards of my profession."
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Elevator Pitch:

"A short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.

The name "Elevator Pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting.

A variety of people, including project managers, salespeople, evangelists, and policy-makers commonly rehearse and use elevator pitches to get their point across quickly."

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Reality Check:

"A couple of referral slips from the previous meeting are selected, and the receiving member is asked to discuss the outcome of the referral.

It is our belief that this helps to prevent the passing of bogus referrals."

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What Is A referral:

"A referral, as defined by ABL, is a person who has agreed to be contacted, or to contact, the person who the referral is intended for."

Example: Your client asks if you know anyone in real estate. When you mention that you have a very trustworthy agent in your ABL group, your client asks you to have the agent call them. Your client is now a great referral for the realtor! The realtor can now make a warm call to your client since your client is expecting, and wanting the call!

What A referral Is Not:

If someone drives past a lot with a "For Sale By Owner" sign, that is not a referral for the realtor. That would be the same as a cold call, and the realtor is perfectly able to make cold calls on his or her own.

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One-On-One:

"Each member is encouraged to have a one-on-one meeting with each of the other members, usually scheduled at at a place and time outside of an ABL meeting. This gives both parties a chance to ask each other questions about their business, and to build rapport and trust.

Only through a greater understanding of each other's business, products and/or services can we become effective salespeople for each other."

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Tagline:

"An often repeated phrase associated with an individual, organization, or commercial product; a slogan."

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Dues:

"Our current dues are $120.00 per year, just $10.00 per month paid annually. Your membership term will run for twelve months from the date you joined."

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We Help Our Community:

"Since we are a non-profit organization we spend our money for the good of our community.

Each year, we adopt at least one under privileged family and provide them a Christmas, including gifts for the children and food for the family.

We also select at least one college student and provide them a one time $500 - $1000 gift to use as they see fit."

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Quality Over Quantity:

"Some networking groups force you to bring at least one referral every single week as a requirement of your continued membership. They brag about their number of referrals generated.

If you don't have a referral a couple of weeks in a row, you might be tempted to make something up to keep from being thrown out of the group!

We understand that this doesn't help anyone. We would rather you turn in good referrals that usually result in business no matter how infrequent. As a result, the number of referrals you turn in is not tied to your membership status."

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No Manditory Meal:

"Some networking groups force you to purchase a meal at each meeting as a condition of your continued membership. This often doubles the true cost of being a member of the group.

While we also meet at a restaurant, you are not required to purchase anything."

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No Corporate Fatcat:

"Some networking groups are actually franchised businesses that keep some money, and pass some upstream until finally, the founder on his yacht gets his cut.

Why make someone else richer? Networking should be about making yourself more successful, and hopefully, rich.

All of our money stays in our community!"

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No Exorbitant Fees:

"Some networking groups charge:

  • An application fee.
  • An annual membership fee.
  • A weekly meeting fee.
  • A mandatory weekly meal purchase.
  • And some even force you to purchase "Training" materials.

That's a lot of fees!

We charge only $10.00 per month, paid annually each July 1st."

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Industry Exclusivity:

"We allow only one person or business from an industry to be a member.

If you join our group as a widget salesman, you will be the only widget salesman, and all of those leads would go to you!

Check out the list on the left sidebar to see if your industry is already represented."

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Seven Minute Presentation:

"During your presentation, the floor is yours. You may show products, explain services, answer questions, give demonstrations, or any combination thereof.

This helps all of our members to learn about, and trust, one another. Which in turn makes it easier to find referrals for them."

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