For Chairmen… How to Start an Estate Planning Group.
Chairing a successful networking group for serious professionals is both rewarding and challenging. Success as an EPGN Chairman requires a minimum two-year commitment. Once your meeting has started, we provide the monthly activity, and a list of who has RSVP’d for the meeting. We have provided these guidelines to get you started (Questions? Please click the email link at the bottom of this page)
Select a Deputy-Chair:
No matter how determined you are, things come up from time to time, so starting with a team approach reduces stress and allows everyone to be successful. Select a Deputy-Chair who is in a different profession than yours so that you are not inviting the same professionals to attend. Hopefully your schedules are a bit different and the life stresses you have are different. Communication is key, so make sure this is someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking with and who feels as committed to his/her own work as you are. Once you have found the right person, we suggest that you both attend an existing meeting to see how it is run. Chat with the Chairman to be sure about this commitment and better prepared for success. If there is not a meeting close enough to visit, we will talk you through the details. Our format has been tested for almost a decade and it is quite successful.
Identify the right day of the month:
Consider other large networking groups in your area along with the probate court calendar. For instance, if the probate court normally convenes on Mondays, it would be good to select an alternate day when trial attorneys can come to breakfast or lunch. We find that the best days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are other estate planning focused groups and others that serve seniors. Ask your closest associates which days are best for them, then select one day a month you can commit to, such as the 3rd Tuesday of every month. Make sure this date works for your venue. We are always dark in December.
Identify the right venue:
We suggest connecting with an assisted living residence that has ample parking and dining facilities. Many assisted living marketing departments would welcome professionals to come to the residence each month. Buffet style service is ideal, and breakfast needs to be ready by 7:15 am so your meeting can begin promptly at 7:30am. Lunch will need to be ready by 11:45. Once you have identified a suitable location and have come to an agreement with management on a monthly date, and time, please call Joe to share the contact information of your Deputy-Chair, and venue management. Our in-house team will take care of all of the transactions; receiving registrations, tracking membership renewal, working with the venue, and sending out monthly reminder emails to your attendees.
Chairmen inform the EPGN team as to how many participants actually attended, anyone who attended who has not yet paid, and they share email addresses of those you have invited, or would like to remind.
Starting Core Attendees:
Professionals who you know and trust are a great way to get the meeting started. Successful groups usually have a dozen, or so, attendees who attend regularly and who invite new people each month. It may take 30 or more invitations before you have your core dozen.
Utilizing the invitation to the meeting is a great way to introduce oneself to new referral sources, as no direct selling of your product or service is involved. The focus of this invitation is what’s in it for the professional you are inviting; the opportunity to meet other dedicated professionals. Tell the professional there is someone you would like to introduce them to at the meeting. Once the new person attends, then you will have the opportunity to share more about your own business offering. This instruction should be shared with all of your core folks and then with your attendees from time to time to keep the growth of the group going. Getting to know each other, through the planned activities, is an extremely effective way to gain more referrals.
Once you have a deputy-chair, a monthly meeting day, and a venue, it is time to send out invitations to the meeting. Don’t be discouraged. We are all challenged by schedule changes. Provide the email addresses of everyone you would like to invite to our staff, and we will send out monthly reminders to register for the meeting via email. Both the Chairman and Deputy-Chair should be inviting 5, or more, new professionals every month. This invitation gives you a reason to talk with new professionals at other networking events, as described above. All of this has been designed to make it easy for you to lead gracefully, and successfully!!
Sample Meeting Agenda and Activity:
7:00 AM Chairman arrives, makes sure signs are up (if any), parking is available and doors are open.
7:15 AM Deputy Chair checks everyone in - Networking is happening and Breakfast is served
7:30 AM Chairman starts meeting - Ice Breaker Question/Activity/Case Study
8:30 AM End of Activity/Case Study
7:30 am – Icebreaker Question(s) –
What one thing do you wish your clients knew?
7:45 am- Get your Article started – This activity counts on you to create an article, based on the given title and open discussion with your table mates. We have seen a few articles get published out of this activity and we encourage you to get your notes typed up as soon as you get back to the office.
We have one rule; everyone at the table gets to contribute. As a table group, please pick one title to work on first. If you run out of discussion, work on the second title.
“What I learned from my clients this past year”, or “If only more clients would…”
Three main ideas (inspired by your table discussion or ideas of your own)
This is a sample – All activities/case studies are provided to the Chairmen and Deputy-Chairmen every month, well before the scheduled meeting. If you have an idea for a case study, or activity, please email it to us. You may be asked to make copies, provide pens, or bring blank paper, depending on that month’s activity.
We use one activity/case study for all breakfast groups to work on each month. It is our goal to feature different professions, situations, and techniques for the benefit of every member. This is one of the ways we “Strengthen our estate planning community, for better client outcomes everywhere”.
Learn More about the Estate Planning Group Network below