ProVisors members are top level professionals who are Trusted Advisors to their clients. This means that the clients of ProVisors members regularly turn to them for guidance on business and personal matters, both within and outside of their disciplines. ProVisors members exercise substantial influence over their clients' affairs; enjoy long-term client relationships; and regularly introduce their clients to other professionals to help them achieve specific goals.
Diversity by profession is a characteristic of success for Provisors groups. There is no exclusivity. It is up to the discretion of each Group Leader and the ProVisors office based on the following concepts:
- Members in the same profession may have different specialties. For example, one intellectual property attorney may handle only patents while another specializes in trademarks and copyrights.
- Two or more members in the same profession may not serve the same clientele based on such criteria as size or industry. Also, members may be conflicted out from some referrals. The key is to find and emphasize the differences, rather than automatically assuming that the two are competitive and inappropriate for the same group.
- Since each person is unique, you may want to refer two or three resources to a client to ensure a good fit. For some members, providing more than one referral is a requirement of their profession or firm.
- Your client may request more than one referral.
- Certain categories of professionals are over-broad. For example, a financial planner may provide life and health insurance products, investment advice, tax counsel, etc. That person should join a ProVisors group under one of those areas as a specialty. Since there is no exclusivity, no one is allowed to corner two or more disciplines within a professional category.
- More than likely, you will find ways to cross-refer to, or collaborate with, a so-called competitor.
ProVisors members do business with each other's clients. In fact, this is one of the hallmarks of ProVisors - that members do not sell to each other. Direct and/or persistent soliciting of business and unsolicited distribution of marketing materials to other members is not only frowned upon, but may be grounds for expulsion. We are committed to safeguarding open communication and appropriate sharing among members.
What is ProVisors' definition of solicitation?
Directly asking for business. Any communication that is a direct solicitation to action. Directly promoting a product or service from which you will receive remuneration from the sale or transaction. However, if a member asks another member about his service or for individual help, there is an expectation that you can sell directly to that "open" member.
When is it OK to email members?
Emailing other members is a privilege of membership (to be able to make such broadcasts to other members you know) as long as:
1. You have a business relationship with the other member. Just attending the same event or group meeting may not constitute a relationship.
2. The information is educational and informative (and does not ask for business).
3. There is an opt out for members to easily choose to no longer receive future emails. Do not hesitate to opt out if you do not find the communication useful. Members should not be offended when members opt out. If a member asks to be removed, do not email the member to ask why.
What is NOT acceptable according to ProVisors solicitation guidelines?
1. Using the troika sheet after a group meeting to email members about your services. Remember, even though you may have met the members, it is not okay to email them to provide company information, ask for referrals, or try to sell them something.
2. Automatically adding members to your group email or email newsletter list, without asking them FIRST if they would like to be added.
3. Members may talk about books they have written and post the information in the ProVisors Community blast. However, they may not directly offer them for sale to members.
ProVisors encourages our members to proactively market their firms and themselves to one another, providing the marketing is done tastefully.
Members may not directly ask each other for business. Any communication that is a direct solicitation to action or directly promoting a product or service from which you will receive remuneration is prohibited. However, if a member asks another member about his service or for individual help, there is an expectation that you can sell directly to that "open" member. Members frequently become clients of one another in the normal course of business.
Direct and/or persistent soliciting of business from co-members and the unsolicited distribution of marketing materials is not only frowned upon, but is grounds for expulsion from ProVisors. Acceptable ways to communicate a desire to provide services to a co-member include: "I would welcome an opportuity to work with you," "develop some quotes for you," or "review your portfolio." In addition, you may wish to discuss how you make referrals or your views on reciprocity.
Members are welcome to hand out, mail, email, or fax written materials to other members with whom they have a business relationship as long as the materials are educational and informative and do not ask for business. Written materials may include 1-sheets, firm announcements, newsletters or brochures, tombstones, economic forecasts, needs/deals/wants, article reprints, seminar invitations, legislative/legal/tax updates, and advisory and technical articles. Members may not automatically add other members to a group email list, without first asking if they would like to be added. Members must provide an easy way for the recipient to “opt out” from future distributions.
ProVisors does not endorse member seminars. Members are welcome to offer special pricing for other members; however, members should not represent that your seminar is backed by, endorsed or in any way associated with ProVisors.
We are a relationship-based organization, not leads-based. Members should come prepared to be a resource to their co-members, sharing experiences, introductions, technical experience and client referrals. As it takes timed to develop relationships of trust, new members should not expect referred business for 12 to 18 months. However, many members do successfully collaborate with co-members within the first year of membership.
Annual membership dues are $1,800 in California and $1,600 in Boston, Massachusetts. Membership includes admission to the monthly breakfast meetings of the group joined. In addition, members may attend meetings of any of ProVisors other groups as a guest up to 3 times per group during each calendar year. Members may also participate in Affinity Groups, as appropriate.
ProVisors' marketing committee compared the organization's core strengths with those of competing organizations. The clear differentiation is that, unlike competing organizations, ProVisors' culture is focused on collaboration, rather than networking. Collaboration requires deep relationships, rather than simply meeting new contacts with the hope of getting a referral. Changing our name from PNG to ProVisors reflects the refinement of refocusing and recharging for the betterment of each of our members. Hence, we concluded that "network" should be dropped from the organization's name. But what sets ProVisors apart remains the same - that we are built upon and nurture relationships that create value, even when there is no monetary reward. The underlying premise always has been, and always will be, a source of pride and strength.
Enforcement of the Code of Ethics and Responsibilities of Membership is at the group level. All members must confirm that they accept the Code of Ethics and Responsibilities of Membership prior to joining or renewing. Additionally, Group Leaders must attest that members are in good standing prior to their annual renewal.
The Responsibilities of Membership are guidelines, with the anticipation that they will be met. Abiding by the Code of Ethics is an absolute requirement. Enforcement of the Responsibilities of Membership and the Code of Ethics is at the group level, at the discretion of the Group Leaders. There may be instances where Group Leaders attest that a member is in good standing without meeting all of the Responsibilities of Membership.
Report infractions of the Code of Ethics or Responsibilities of Membership to your Group Leader or to the ProVisors office for investigation.
Advise the member to report the alleged infraction to his/her Group Leader or to the ProVisors office for investigation. Use discretion to avoid slander.