Member Handbook

Table of Contents

  1. Ten Tips to Be Successful in ProVisors
  2. Accelerator Workshops
  3. Home Groups
  4. Testimonials
  5. Troika Etiquette
  6. Guesting
  7. Affinity Groups
  8. Needs/Deals/Wants
  9. Connect With Us on Social Media

1. Ten Tips to Be Successful In ProVisors

1. Member Profile/ProVisors Website

Your Member Profile should let people know exactly what you do, and should include the full breadth of your major services. This is important when other members use the keyword search function on the website. That said, keep it as brief as possible, not longer than a short paragraph, as a long profile printed on an RSVP List will look self-indulgent and probably not be read at all. In addition, make sure to take advantage of ProVisors’ LinkedIn group, as well as the Needs, Deals & Wants and announcement options through the website to keep members apprised of your accomplishments, as well as your firm’s and clients’ needs.

2. Attendance

Target at least 80% attendance at all of your home group meetings and events. Plan to arrive early and stay late. Guesting is one of the great value propositions of ProVisors membership, so RSVP on the website to guest at at least one additional group meeting per month. Challenge yourself to eventually visit each group within your region, including Affinity Groups. If you have a testimonial for someone other than in your home group, attend that member’s home group meeting and give it there. Not only will the member appreciate the effort, but it will strengthen your relationship with that group’s members.

3. Communication

Prepare for exactly what you’ll say when called upon in a meeting. Tell a brief, clear, compelling story of how you solved a client’s problem. Finish by saying your name and company, and, if you have a compelling tagline, give it at the end. Keep a running list during the month to remember who to acknowledge when it’s time for Testimonials.

4. Troikas

Come prepared to participate, and leave with action items for follow-up. And don’t forget that some of the best troikas are often those with members with whom you’ve already troikaed. Also, don’t hesitate to go outside the process and expedite your fostering of relationships by doing one-on-ones. Check the Photo List in advance of a meeting to perhaps decide on a specific individual to request for a troika. However, keep in mind that it’s quite common to find the best troikas when put together with someone you’d have initially thought could be of no value to you. Since the first objective of ProVisors is to get to know each other, make an effort at your troika to communicate personally, including things like hometowns, hobbies, family, travels, favorite restaurants, and movies. And always ask others in your troika how you can help them. If you promise to do something, follow through.

5. Who Do You Know/Who Knows You

Strategize by identifying your strongest alliances within the organization. Foster these relationships diligently. Get to know the Group Leaders and be sure they have an understanding of what you do. They, in fact, are the greatest facilitators of commerce within the organization.

6. Relationships

Track who is important to you, what you have done to the help them, and when to follow up. Let those closest to you know what you are looking for in opportunities and they will help you find them. Always be on the outlook for potential new members who can bring additional resources to ProVisors. The person you bring into ProVisors will instantly be a strong ally and resource for you.

7. Reciprocity in Thoughts & Actions

Listen closely and think of ways you can provide opportunities and create introductions for others. Go out of your way to provide expertise and counsel. Share experience as a resource. If you willingly give all of the time, you will proportionally increase what comes back to you.

8. Invest in Your Investment

Know what your membership activity costs in both time and money. Measure this investment and create a plan to ensure a return on your investment. Your ProVisors membership only works if it’s of specific value to you, and, if you make the effort, you’ll see that the resources exist to make it so.

9. Fraternalism

ProVisors membership is fraternal in nature. Capitalize on this. Know that you are part of an organization with benefits well above and beyond those you experience within your home group. Within reach are relationships and resources in more than 200 member groups comprising over 5,000 professionals. With the mere mention of being a fellow ProVisors member, our members tend to willingly engage in the fostering of relationships and helping one another.

10. Perception/End Results

Much is driven within the organization by your value as perceived by your fellow members. The greatest successes within ProVisors are not so much based on who you know, but on who knows who you are, and how you do what you do.

2. Accelerator Workshops

Accelerator Workshops are monthly lunch meetings designed to go over the dos and don’ts of ProVisors. They are led by two Group Leaders and review best practices and company policies. Group Leaders always offer tips and tricks that have worked for them. The Accelerator Workshop is designed to give you an introduction to the culture of ProVisors, and help set you up for success. Seasoned Members are encouraged to go as well to get a refresher on what might help them enhance their ProVisors experiences.

Accelerator Workshops

  1. Introductions
    • a. Group Leaders and Staff begin with a ProVisors introduction
    • b. What’s in an introduction?
      • i. How to focus and be memorable
      • ii. Everyone is unique – no jacks-of-all-trades, trademark yourself, tell a story
      • iii. Introduce yourself to everyone in the room. Who are you? What do you do? What makes you unique in your field? Why did you join ProVisors?
  2. Giving Value: ProVisors’ give-to-receive mentality
    • a. How to market your fellow members to your clients, friends, and family: be proactive in referring, not reactive
    • b. How to bring people together and become a center of influence
    • c. How to help fellow members: be valuable to the group, not just a bagel-eater
  3. Congratulations, You Are Here
    • a. Get up, dress up, show up, stand up, speak up
    • b. How to participate
      • i. Your monthly home group meetings
      • ii. Guesting at other meetings.
        • 1. Why? How? How often? How wide should you go?
        • 2. Where? How to find a group that you can help, and a group that can help you.
        • 3. Plan ahead.
      • iii. Affinity Groups
      • iv. Home Group events
      • v. ProVisors Social events
  4. What it means to “Know, Like, Trust, Refer”
    • a. In ProVisors, your first job is to get to know your fellow Members
    • b. Once you know and like a Member, you decide whether to trust them, primarily through testimonials given to that Member
    • c. Now it’s time to refer
  5. Referrals
    • a. Referral etiquette
      • i. How to make referral
      • ii. Always circle back to the original referral source
  6. Testimonials
    • a. What makes a good testimonial?
    • b. Common testimonial errors
  7. Troikas
    • a. Prepare prior to any group meeting
      • i. Look at the attendance list
      • ii. With whom do you want to troika?
    • b. Confirm yourself. Don’t have someone do it for you
    • c. Multiple Troikas with the same person can be surprisingly beneficial
  8. Other ProVisors Items
    • a. The Non-Solicitation Policy
    • b. ProVisors’ Email Blasts
    • c. Your Profile

It takes time to build deep relationships that result in resource and commerce opportunities.

3. Home Groups

When you are accepted as a ProVisors member, you join your Home Group, which you attend regularly, in addition to an entire network of Trusted Advisors across the country. Your home group is the springboard to this community of Trusted Advisors.

When you join a Home Group, you are committing to attend at least 75% of all of the meetings.  People do business with who they know.  This is how they will get to know you.  Being there regularly will lead to your fellow Members knowing who you, understanding what you do, and building lasting relationships that lead to more referrals.

Guesting at other home groups is encouraged.  You can guest up to three times, per Group, per year as part of your Membership benefits.  Guesting other Home Groups makes you a trusted resource to more Members, and casts a wider net for possible referrals.

Membership in your home group renews every year.  You will be given advanced notice of your renewal from the ProVisors home office.

4. Testimonials

ProVisors is a networking organization based on Non-Solicitation. This means that our members cannot sell to each other, but they can buy from each other. The result is a membership which is never desperate or incurably salesy, but a grown-up community of dignified, patient professionals.

ProVisors members network with each other at various group meetings. A part of each meeting is dedicated to Testimonials. Testimonials are the currency of ProVisors. When a member gives a testimonial, he or she stands up and talks about another professional in the room, what the professional does, the caliber of excellence with which the professional provides these services, and how thoughtful the other person was to make the referral. The process by which Testimonials are delivered effectively communicates the expertise of both the referrer and the recipient of the referral by speaking to the type of business being transacted.

Imagine another Trusted Advisor standing up and singing your praises for the work you’ve done for him or one of his clients, friends, or family members – essentially telling the others in the room that it would be a good idea to hire you. When a member does this for you at a ProVisors group meeting, everyone will know what you do, how you do it, and begin to think of ways in which they can refer you. And they’ll know they can make that referral with confidence.

As ProVisors members refer one another, the result is commerce for you. A wide range of Trusted Advisors as resources make you the person your clients, friends, and family go to in need. As ProVisors members well know, this also often results in lifelong friendships. It’s this process and its proven results that make ProVisors uniquely successful in the networking world.

This leads to the concept of Giving to Receive. ProVisors members constantly look for ways to give business to other members. This not only feels good, but what goes around comes around.

Giving a Proper Testimonial

Testimonials are an important part of every meeting. Proper format is required.

They are most meaningful when they tell a story:

  • Who referred you
  • What firm they are with
  • What they do
  • A brief description of the matter, and what you were brought in to do.
  • If you and the referrer are collaborating, please elaborate to educate your fellow members about why and how your disciplines come together.

Thanking your fellow members has never been so good for your business.

Testimonials always highlight the person who sent you the referral. They are 80% about the other person and 20% about you. Your fellow Members will learn more about when to think of you by the examples you give that show how people in different professional specialties need you for their clients.

As an example:
I would like to thank Bob Smith, a CPA and partner of ABC Accountants, and a member of Group ABC1. Bob brought me in on a client whose two partners wanted to take their business to the next level. Their business was lacking financial controls, and the partners were not in agreement on where the business was going and how to get there. That is why he brought us in to help. My name is Susan Jones of XYZ Consulting Firm.

The testimonial could stop here or continue as follows: Together with Bob, we introduced financial controls and budgeting, assisted the partners in setting goals and putting together a strategic plan, then helped them in its implementation.

5. Troikas

At each group meeting, members and guests are assigned to a “troika,” which is a no-host breakfast, lunch, or coffee meeting of 3-4 people scheduled during the month following the meeting, designed to foster deeper relationships.

Members should always bring a business card to meetings. This is important so that the member is matched into troikas at the meetings. This is also how Group Leaders have a record of Members’ attendance for tracking and statistics for the group.

If you know that you have circumstances which prevent you from participating in a troika during a specific month, still turn in your card. Just write “No Troika” on your business card. It will still be copied on the sheet at the bottom of the troika list.

You can also look ahead at the photo list or list of attendees and request that a specific person be set up in a troika with you to deepen the relationship. To do this, simply write their name on the back of your business card. This is your way of asking that the Troika Master for the group assign you if possible to be with that person.

You must attend a group meeting to be assigned to a troika. However, if you cannot be at a group meeting, you may request a copy of the troika sheets and contact members directly to ask if you may be added to a specific troika.

If you cannot be at your group meeting, you may send another Trusted Advisor from your firm in your place.

Prepare for the Troika

Bring your calendar to group meetings so that you can schedule a troika that day. If your secretary keeps your calendar, have a hard copy of the next month so you can make plans. It is inconvenient for everyone to email back and forth trying to find a date after the meeting.

Appoint someone to confirm the troika a few days before the meeting. Exchange cell phone numbers so that if you are going to be late or cannot attend, you will be able to notify others.

Never cancel a troika via email the morning of the troika. Remember, most people are not in their office at 7:00 a.m. because they are coming straight to the troika meeting. If necessary, call to cancel and send an email.

Confirm the location and/or city of the troika. i.e. Is it Corner Bakery in Encino or Calabasas?

Log onto the ProVisors website to read your troika partners’ Member profiles and/or log on to your troika partners’ websites. This way, you will have a general idea about what they do and what more you want to know. It will help you stay focused on the conversation.

With pre-planning you can think about how you can help fellow Members and their clients, and to whom you can introduce them. You can identify other partners at their firm who have different specialties. Your troika partners will see that you took the time to find out what they do. They will appreciate it and, hopefully, model after you to do the same for others.

At the Troika Meeting

Listen. Think about how you can help the others in your troika and how they might be able to help you.

Be courteous and unselfish. Prepare to learn more about others first. Don’t dominate the conversation. Each person should be able to discuss their business.

Don’t just say what you do. Give examples and tell stories. Most people understand and remember when they can visualize what you do. Invite your troika partners to ask questions to help them better understand what you do, how you add value, and how you could collaborate with them.

Ask each person to describe two of their clients to further help you understand what they do.

Ask open-ended questions. Where do you spend most of your time? Who is your typical client? Where does the majority of your business come from?

Introductions are key. Offer to set up a meeting to introduce a Member to the type of professional who would generate the most business for them. Ask them to do the same for you.

Ask fellow members to invite their key referral sources to a ProVisors meeting. Give examples of Trusted Advisors who have an established cadre of ongoing clients who see them as a valuable advisor in more than their specific area of expertise.

Give fellow Members praise and ask if your troika partners know that person. Think of ProVisors Members unknown by your troika partners who may benefit from an introduction.

Leave an impression. Feel free to send information ahead to your troika partners as long as it is not sales material.

Protocol is that any bill is split evenly among the attendees. If you feel what you ordered was more than what other members ordered, offer to contribute a larger amount toward the total.

Follow-Up

If you said you were going to make a call or contact someone to make an introduction, do what you say; then, call your troika partner to let them know what you have done.

One meeting may not be enough. Additional meetings over time will increase the probability of referrals. Send updates about your practice; new cases you have worked on to show how you can be helpful to referral sources and their clients; remind each other about professionals who help build your practices; make new introductions; and share innovations in your field.

6. Guesting

When you are accepted as a ProVisors member, you join your Home Group, which you attend regularly, in addition to an entire network of Trusted Advisors across the country. Your home group is the springboard to this community of Trusted Advisors.

An important value proposition of ProVisors is in your ability to guest at any other group within the organization. When guesting, you network with not only that group’s regular members, but other guests, as well as candidates for ProVisors membership. Not only does it make you a resource to other groups, it also increases your referral resources. Guesting thus exponentially increases the opportunities to know other members and to be known.

We have created an organization that has many layers of opportunity for commerce and collaboration. In other networking organizations, you are often encouraged to refer to only the professionals in your group. An aspect of ProVisors that sets us apart is that it isn’t just about referring to other professionals in your group, but referring to the right ProVisors professional for your client.

Guesting is participating in home groups outside of your own. Members have the ability to guest up to three times per calendar year at any other ProVisors group meeting. Guesting is dependent upon space availability and approval by the Group Leader. Your guesting allotment resets on January 1st, regardless of your anniversary date.

Why guest?

If you only attend the meetings of your ProVisors home group, you deny yourself the full benefit of membership. The opportunity to develop deep relationships with Trusted Advisors and respected professionals from many different professions and specialties, who serve as resources for each other’s clients, is invaluable.

  • You can better expand your resources in terms of contacts and Trusted Advisors.
  • The more the membership is familiar with your skills, expertise, and personality, the more likely they are to remember you in a needed situation.
  • You can better communicate your needs in the presence of larger numbers of members and via other group meetings.
  • The professional development benefit is very valuable as most meetings offer a forum, a focused presentation, or a discussion item that is applicable to all present.
  • Attending additional meetings allows you to participate in more troikas and this is where the meaningful relationships often foster themselves.
  • The Group Leaders are a vital part of commerce in ProVisors and having the GL familiar with you and your expertise creates a reference point for GLs to assist their members with needs, deals, and wants as they arise.

Guesting Goals

  • ProVisors suggest guesting at least once per month; try to guest two or even three times per month, if you can. Highly active members target for three to four meetings a month outside of their home group.
  • Bear in mind each meeting you attend will, by default, place you on a troika unless you opt out, so this is an additional time commitment from each guesting opportunity. When guesting, it is customary for troikas to be scheduled in the city of the group in which you guested, regardless of where your home group or office is located. Ex. If a member in Encino guests in Century City, he/she should expect to participate in a troika in Century City.
  • Remember the responsibility we all have to attend our own group meetings as regularly as possible. Guesting is not a substitute for your home group meeting.

Guesting Protocol

  • Look at the calendar online and RSVP to a selected meeting as soon as possible and well in advance. The popular meetings book up fast.
  • Plan your guest visits so they work well for you geographically and from a time standpoint.
  • Decide after you visit a meeting the first time, provided you would like to visit again, whether to attend three consecutive months in a row or if it’s better to attend once every three to four months for that year. There are pros and cons to both methods.
  • Notify the GL if you are unable to make a meeting for which you have RSVP’d no later than the afternoon prior if possible. You can cancel your RSVP online up to the day prior to the meeting.
  • Apologize to the GL if you are unable to make the meeting due to unforeseen circumstances and do this the day the meeting has occurred if at all possible.
  • Know the location and suite. Be prepared to pay for parking. Be punctual and arrive early if possible to meet with members and applicants before the meeting starts.
  • Study the membership make-up on the ProVisors website/in the confirmation email before the meeting so you can learn who is a member and possibly select someone with whom you would like to troika.
  • Bring your ProVisors name badge, a pen, and your calendar/phone (for scheduling your troika and sharing cell phone numbers), and dress appropriately. Remember that you are either representing your firm or your professional self; business attire is recommended.
  • Bring business cards for troikas and introductions.
  • Introduce yourself to the GL upon arrival and thank him or her for allowing you to attend.
  • Tell the GL if there is a particular member with whom you would like to troika in advance of the meeting either verbally or by email. You can also write “see reverse” on the front of your card when you turn it in and write your requested person(s) to troika with on the back.
  • When presenting yourself at a meeting, identify your name, business, and the group in which you are a member (this is important so people have a reference point to find/follow up with you). Be respectful of the “air time” afforded you. Keep it short, simple, and to the point.

Guesting at Home Groups:

Members can guest as many home groups as they would like up to three times, per group, per year.

Guesting Affinity Groups:

Affinity Groups are a Member benefit. This means that Member can guest any number of Affinity Groups as many times as they wish for no additional fee. There is a nominal fee that is charged to cover the cost of lunch that differs based on which group they attend.

However, if there is an Affinity Group that any Member or Group Leader regularly attend, they should consider membership in this group as there is no additional cost, but only the benefit of being invited to the “closed” events and showing on the Member list for the group.

Submitting Guest Requests:

When you log into the ProVisors website, you will have a calendar of events that shows you all of the meetings and events happening in ProVisors. From here, you can request to guest. When you submit a guest request, you’ll receive a confirmation email that your request was submitted, and the Group Leader of that meeting or event is notified that you submitted a request. They will then go into their portal and approve or deny the request. Once approved the meeting or event will show under “My Upcoming Meetings and Events,” on your portal.

7. Affinity Groups

In addition to your home group, ProVisors also offers groups based on your profession or special interest that are included as part of your membership fee. These are called Affinity Groups.

Affinity Groups are sector or industry specific groups. They are designed to provide members with targeted opportunities to build relationships with other members working in similar fields or specific markets. Affinity Groups will have an educational component in addition to providing a platform for creating connections with other members. Some Affinity Groups provide continuing education credits.

Affinity Groups are lunch meetings that meet from 11:30-1:30PM with the first half hour set aside for open networking before the actual meeting starts at 12:00PM. They are hubs for sharing information and creating business strategy with like-minded Trusted Advisors. Affinity groups are topically themed and of more educational value than traditional home groups.

The core set of Affinity Groups which you will find in every ProVisors Region are as follows:

  • Women’s
  • Lawyers and Legal Professionals
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Real Estate
  • Estate and Succession Planning

There are many other Affinity Groups that vary based on the different regions as well.

The Benefits of Joining an Affinity Group

Members have the benefit of attending Affinity Groups as “Member-Guests,” or to join Affinity Groups as “Members,” without having to pay an additional membership fee. The cost is included in the annual ProVisors membership fee.

Joining the Group as a Member means that you no longer have to “Request to Guest,” you can just RSVP like you would to your Home Group Meeting. It also means that you’ll now be included in any meetings or social events that are closed only to Members of that group. You’ll also be added to their Member List so that you’ll show on the website, which gives you greater visibility amongst the ProVisors community.With the added benefits, there is also a commitment on the Member’s part to attend 75% of all meetings and events as a Member of the Affinity Group.

There is a process to join an Affinity Group. When Affinity Groups are formed, they create a Mission Statement and are formed with the intention of attracting professionals who work in a specific industry, or who have a significant amount of clients who work in a particular industry.

All members that meet the qualification standards of an Affinity Group (ie: attorney, women, real estate, etc.), are allowed to become members of the group. Qualified members cannot be denied membership in a ProVisors Affinity Group. Affinity Group Leaders can work with their RD to determine qualification standards.

When a Member wants to join an Affinity Group, they will reach out to the Affinity Group Leader for approval. Once the approval is obtained, they will let their Member Services Representative (MSR) know, who will confirm the approval with the Group Leader in an email. Once they receive approval from the Group Leader, the MSR will send an email to the new Member welcoming them to the Affinity Group.

8. Needs/Deals/Wants

Needs/Deals/Wants is ProVisors’ way of creating opportunities for instant commerce. We provide an online forum where Members can post things that they need, deals that they need help with, or even wants that they have. These things can be personal and professional.

There is an online submission form that posts as a blog is accessed from the Member Portal. Any Member can instantly post here and it shows as a continuous live feed. You can filter out by Region, topic, and so forth to narrow down exactly what you are looking for.

These blogs are then emailed out weekly to the entire ProVisors Membership connecting business from coast to coast.
There are three main categories for submission.

Business to Business: This is where you would post something that might be a deal that you are working on, or something that a client may be working on that you are looking to bring in another resource.

Jobs: Anyone seeking employment or looking to hire can post here.

Community: This is the forum for any kind of ad that is recreational or not directly related to business being transacted. This is where you might sell tickets to a sporting event, or announce an event that your company is having that you’d like other Members to be aware of.

9. Connect With Us on Social Media

ProVisors has over five thousand members across the country and we have built a platform of social media that breaks down regional boundaries and expands your networking to a national level. It allows members to connect with professionals from coast to coast for resources and referrals for your clients. Social media gives you the ability to take your connections with you wherever you go. You can access anyone, anytime, from anywhere, which means the commerce knows no boundaries, and ProVisors facilitates those connections on multiple platforms.

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