A network of professionals that is a powerful difference maker.
The power of Echelon is obvious, or is it? For many new members or prospects, their only point of reference is another network group, or none at all. It is hard to believe, but some professionals are still, in this day and age, not involved in building relationships via networking. I guess if they do not need a base of referral sources or resources, then they are fortunate. But I only say that somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I think everyone needs some important connections, even if those are primarily personal.
The power of Echelon is that it is unique. There is no comparative group or organization. Yes, there are other network groups. Echelon is not a copy-cat, but a powerful difference maker. Let me enumerate those differences.
First, it is business development 101 and a doctorate combined. The basic format is the 101 of relationships. But the doctorate is the execution and the delivery by the best in class membership. Each group is about sharing their best ideas on finding new prospects, conducting marketing campaigns, displaying their USP (unique selling proposition), and retaining the client. No matter one’s level of professionalism or ability to sell (without selling), we learn from one another during the meetings. In fact, that is what the meetings are about. In sharing these ideas, we see how powerful are the persons in the room, and we can decide who is worthy of our introductions to prospective clients. Often, that is everyone in the room.
Second, the smaller groups of 15-20 members enhances the above conversation. It also allows members to get to know one another better, leading to more referrals. The careful selection of prospects by a vetting committee is critical to maintaining a trusted advisor membership.
Third, Echelon provides a video for each member, as well as the ability to write articles for an epublication distributed widely to other trusted advisors and companies.
One example of a renewed connection for me is Jim Cagle, who heads a mid-sized accounting firm. In prior years Jim had referred me business, primarily for valuations. Yet, as can often happen, our interaction was sporadic in the last few years. Once Jim joined the group I lead, we reunited closely. In the last six months, Jim has referred us real estate appraisals, business valuations, and cost segregation studies. This is just one obvious example of how Echelon has improved my business life, as well as closely connecting me with many others on a personal basis.