When it comes to effective networking, one thing that is a common denominator that most people search for, and privately hope for is to find competent and capable businesses that they can work with. It takes work to search out and find a good company that you can trust-whether this is for the sake of networking or being a consumer.
One of the best things about BNI is the fact that all of the members who are active within a chapter had to go through a process of reference checks, license checks, and a thorough interview before being accepted to become an active and participating member.
What does this mean to visitors who sit in on a meeting and see our members and action the very first time? Typically visitors tell us that their first impression of a well run a meeting is that it is on point, on time. There is a high amount of energy, a deep amount of sincere camaraderie- and most importantly, what the visitors pick up on, is the fact that our members trust one another.
This trust amongst members transitions to the visitor and shows up as a desire to become part of a chapter and thankfulness towards the person who invited them. The visitors are thankful, because as they hear our members speak within the format of the chapter meeting. The visitors begin to feel that they too-have just found a network of trusted professionals.
It is a funny observation to watch, but, there is an excitement that happens when our visitors realize that they too- could use the services of our members. In fact, it is in this moment that many of our visitors share that seeing our chapters and members in action is kind of like going on a shopping spree! Those visitors feel that if they were to engage the services of our members that they would be well taken care of. That personal desire to find a professional company that you can truly trust has been met.
So the next time you are out and are in search of a particular type of company that you would like to do business with, look to our local BNI chapters first. You too could easily find a shopping spree is in order.
Dr. Misner writes in his book, The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, that a great way to bring attention and potential business to a fellow BNI member is to offer one of their services at no charge when you sell a package of your own product or service.
This works best with related industries, but most specifically with a Power Team member. A Power Team member would be a person you actively refer business with.
A great example of this concept is when a personal trainer of a BNI chapter sells a training package and offers a complimentary service of another Health and Wellness member of the group to the client as a bonus for purchasing a package. For this scenario, lets suggest they offer a free massage given by the massage therapist of the chapter.
This allows the client to experience a massage at no cost and commitment, but does also give visibility to the massage therapist and provides an opportunity to potentially sell the client on their package offerings by providing outstanding service.
The opportunity for the massage therapist to present their service to the personal training client would have not existed had it not been for the direct connection from the personal trainer. In this specific instance, the massage therapist can reciprocally offer a free fitness assessment provided by the personal trainer for any client that buys a massage package.
Look to identify a member in your group that you can work with to “triangulate” more referrals for by offering some type of bonus product or service that will offer each of you visibility and opportunity to clients you might have never come across before.
How Can I Help You? The Mantra of Successful BNI Members.
Purpose: Create opportunities to help members put Givers Gain into Practice
Elements to consider:
Givers Gain – Law of Reciprocity: if you offer something of value to others it will come back to you – many fold. What could be better than to consistently show an attitude of giving? It’s not something you do; it’s who you are.
BNI is all about relationships. What better way to start and nurture them than to be a willing partner in other people’s success?
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Being a person of abundance and prosperity is better than being someone of lack or just another face in the crowd. Your show of support must be authentic because if you are attempting to manipulate people it will backfire.
You can’t ever have too much social capital with people. By being a proactive, helpful person you make deposits in your mental and emotional bank accounts with people and thus have something to draw on in the future.
Lack of attachment. Being a giving, caring, supportive person without needing something in return distances you from most people and makes you more attractive. People are more willing to connect with you and help you when you need it.
VCP (visibility, credibility, profitability) – a sincere offering of help is the easiest and best way to create visibility and move from visibility to credibility.
Engaging yourself by frequently asking ‘How Can I help you?’ allows you to stretch and grow. It’s a proactive way to experience more and learn things you would have missed out on. You aren’t often asked to do something difficult or complicated. Most of the time it’s either something simple or you have done a great service just by showing up in this way.
Examples – Identifying the opportunitites:
New member, not sure what to do? – How can I help you?
Not sure why BNI does something? – How can I help you?
Not getting what you think you should be getting from BNI? – How can I help you?
Not contributing like you want to? – How can I help you?
Have an issue with another member? – How can I help you?
Have an issue with what is happening in the chapter? – How can I help you?
Changing businesses or professions? – How can I help you?
Wondering about your future BNI role? – How can I help you?
You have a personal situation that is making BNI difficult? – How can I help you?
Looking to take your business and BNI to the next level? – How can I help you?
Want to improve your VCP? – How can I help you?
Putting it in Action – identify three times you can help another member in the next month.
How I helped
How I helped
How I helped
BNI is a team game and the best team players regularly execute the Givers Gain mantra , ‘How Can I Help You?”
There is no better way to build this into your regular habits than become a mentor or coach to another member. It could be with a brand new member or a seasoned member who is looking to regenerate that energy and action that they had as a new member. Here are five good reasons to be a chapter mentor.
1 – Your success in BNI depends on your efforts and those of your team. If you are a great player but your team is weak, your BNI results will be less than what they could be. If you help build the team, you leverage your member’s knowledge and efforts to work for you. By mentoring you add to your own prosperity.
2 – All seasoned members adapt. The BNI experience can become routine and lose its excitement after a while. Being a mentor lets you reconnect with the reasons why the basics are so important. And the best way to learn (or relearn) those all important basics is to teach them. Mentoring gets you back in touch with those things that make your membership efficient and effective.
3 – Being a coach to another member gives you perspective. It allows you to see how the BNI experience is not exactly the same for each member and in helping another member you gain mindsets and skill sets that you may miss if you pass on the opportunity.
4 – Creating a productive membership requires periodic updates and a BNI vitality mindset. Very few members have taken advantage of the vast array of training and other resources that are available to them. Being a mentor reminds you of this rich heritage and encourages you to learn more to earn more.
5 – Bottom line, being a savvy and sincere mentor is one of the very best ways to move up the VCP curve. The Visibility and Credibility you get with those you mentor and the testimonials they provide will help improve your Profitability.
Check with your chapter’s mentor coordinator to find out what you need to do to qualify as a mentor. If your chapter doesn’t have an active mentor program, talk with your Director Consultant.
What’s the common thread with these words? You are correct if you said they are all nebulous terms or if you said these are the words you are instructed in MSP to avoid using in your 60 second presentations!!
Nebulous means vague or indistinct. When you use terms that are vague or hazy then your audience (your fellow BNI members a.k.a your salesforce) will have a harder time finding the referral you are asking for. Speaking in generalities wont give you as strong a chance to get the connection you are looking for as compared to being specific.
Seasoned members are just as guilty of using these trite identifiers as a fallback option when their preparation is not up to speed for that morning’s meeting. Remember that if you give your audience a focal point to look for your chances of success increase greatly. The next time you want to use anyone in your “ask” try and pinch yourself or just make a commitment to come prepared for your next meeting.
Get an accountability partner to email you their ask the day before the meeting so you can remember to do your research beforehand or vice versa. Encourage other members to hold themselves to a higher standard and you will all be able to find each other more business and better connections.
One of the things we learn in BNI is the power and benefit of sharing real life testimonials on what BNI has done for us. This sharing is part of our core philosophy of “Givers Gain”.
Here is a recent testimonial by one of our members, Dave Tuckman of the BNI La Jolla Chapter:
“My name is Dave Tuckman and I am with the La Jolla chapter BNI
My testimonial goes beyond that of a single referral, relationship and/or business development scenario. It’s for all of those things wrapped up in one neat little bundle we call BNI.
I was familiar with BNI, the giver’s gain philosophy, and how the organization can help a business help itself in development and exposure to new opportunities for a couple of years before joining. It took awhile, simply because I was just too busy – my schedule wouldn’t accommodate what I knew was necessary to give of myself. So when the opportunity presented itself (April 2010), I was ready to jump in. Now a little over one year later, it’s been hands down one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
Not only does our company receive a respectable amount of new business from referrals via the chapter, I have focused and been fortunate to improve other areas of my life. With the other professionals in our chapter, I have improved our business and family’s overall quality of life. Everything from personal training, properly insuring our home/vehicles and property, working with our life coach, and too many others to list.
Simply stated, I couldn’t be where I am today, if it weren’t for the opportunities made available via the quality of professionals I get to meet and collaborate with on a regular basis and BNI itself, as an organization.
Thanks in advance,”
Golden State Web Solutions
I have been a BNI member for just over a year. Although my ROI has been profitable, I believe that I have benefited just as much from non-monetary benefits of BNI as well. Through the Advanced Training modules, I have learned to become a better communicator. Developing my 60-second “Ask” actually forced me to pause and critically think about my business and my goals. That simple exercise has had a dramatic effect on how I present myself. Now, when I meet someone and they ask me what I do, I can give a clear concise explanation in an informative and professional manner. I believe that it displays confidence in what I am doing.
Each of the Advanced Training modules that I have attended has been well worth the time spent. I am constantly amazed that each time so much valuable information is shared. We are so lucky! All the “fluff” has been trimmed out. It’s business savvy best practices shared by successful business owners intent on helping their fellow BNI members succeed.
TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) Chapter of BNI San Diego
On Monday, February 7th 2011, BNI San Diego Members arrived early to the Handlery Hotel and kicked off a buzz of networking in the wee hours of the morning.
Eager to network with professionals who KNOW how to do referral based business, these BNI Members were part of the kick off celebration of International Networking Week. (R)
International Networking Week was an initiative by BNI to recognize the power that word of mouth referral marketing is having on our Global Economy. It’s been long established that networking is something people are inclined to do. BNI serves it’s members with the knowledge and ongoing training in developing the skill sets it takes to be good at it.
This local event was bustling with members who represent a variety of professions in 37 chapters of BNI in the San Diego area. Starting out the event was an hour and a half of time dedicated for the sole purpose of real networking.
One San Diego member, Kathie Nies, from www.LifeSimplyChanges.com, is a member of the BNI Platinum Professionals. She shares that this was her first regional event by BNI. She is used to focused networking for 15 minutes on a weekly basis before her chapter meeting starts, but she was not sure of the benefit of networking with intention for an hour and a half.
“So- at yesterday’s event we spent an hour and a half networking with other chapters. At times I was thinking “what’s the point?” Well, today I got a call from someone I met. She gave me a tier 2 referral, a solid one. Already have the job…. Who knew??? (except Debbra, I’m sure!”)”
Kathie was one of many members that benefited from that time and then got to interact with the founder of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Dr. Misner kicked off the formal sit down portion of the event via live web cast. The members present that day found Dr. Misner to be approachable and full of insight, knowledge and humor. For many people, having the chance to step up to the mic and ask the man who CNN calls “The Father of Modern day Networking” any question they wanted- was a pure treat.
The event went on to deliver amazing education and key insights on HOW to make sure your Networking is WORKING.
Finally, attendees got a first hand look at the new global platform of online networking now exclusively available to BNI members. This new platform is called BNI Connect and is a walled garden of highly trained business professionals who know and want to network with one another.
All in all, this years all chapter regional event was a great success for many attendees. Plans for next years kick off and celebration of International Networking Week is underway. If past years are any indicator of attendance and interest in ongoing education on how to network more effectively, next years event will prove to many ‘the place to be’.
Here’s to great success with your networking efforts!