Archive for September, 2012

Members Details
Amanda Van Den Broek
Financial Adviser
Agent For Life Pty Ltd
www.agentforlife.com.au
BNI Venus in the BNI Gold Coast Region

Tell us about your business:

Specialise in Personal Risk Insurance which includes:

  • Life insurance
  • Total and Permanent Disability cover
  • Trauma or Recovery Insurance
  • Income Protection
  • Child Cover
  • Business Expenses
  • Business Partnership needs

I believe in educating my clients on the importance of insurance to protect their assets, family and their businesses. I like my clients to understand what cover is available and make it easy for them to get that cover.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

Follow up with people you meet when networking within 24hours.

Don’t ’spam’ people you meet at events. Only contact people if you said you would or if you can send a friendly email relating to the conversation you had.

Ask for what you want and need, be specific – you may just get the assistance or client you wanted

What can’t you live without?

the people in my life – my friends, family, work colleagues and fellow BNImembers who support me in my life and my business.

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

Networking Like A Pro by Ivan Misner.

I only recently read this book but it has everything you need to knowon networking including ways of tracking how well you network and your referrals.

How Did Your Find Out About BNI & Why Did You Join?

I was recommended to BNI by a work colleague 3 years ago. I could see immediately the potential of BNI and would not have been able to start my own business without the support and clients I get from BNI.

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

3 years

What Position/s On The Leadership Team Have You Held? 

Vice President, Membership Committee, Visitors Host

What value & benefit have you or your business gained by being a BNI Member?

More than half of my clients have come from BNI.

The support from fellow members has been invaluable, along with having a panel of experts from various occupations on call for advice when needed.

What Do You Wish Someone Had Told Your When You First Joined BNI? 

Follow up on the visitors who come to your chapter. Whether they join or not, they could be a potential client.

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

When I first joined BNI 3 years ago, the mortgage broker and I formed a relationship and even though she then became too busy to remain in the chapter, we have continued to refer to each other. One of my favourite clients was referred by her. This is the best part of BNI I think, the relationships you form that continue for years to come.

Your Dream Referral Is…

Business Partners.

Who do you know who has their business set up as a partnership arrangement? Such as 2 solicitors who own 50% each and are both responsible for bringing income to the business.

I would like to advise them on how they can keep their business together in the event of an unexpected illness or injury as well as advising of their personal insurance needs.

Categories : Featured Member
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Sep
24

Top 5 Reasons to Invite Visitors

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Education Coordinators Mini – Workshop

Top 5 Reasons to Invite Visitors

This is a 2-4 minute workshop presented by the Education Co-ordinator or their nominee.
To the presenter: Please ensure that you are familiar with the objective of the workshop and read through the workshop before presenting it. What you say out loud to the chapter is in below. The small print italics is guidelines for you

Purpose of this workshop: To highlight the importance of inviting visitors to the meeting

Start by saying…..

One of the great things about BNI is that you get to build beneficial relationships with other business people, another great thing is the new business contacts you are able to meet that Members and Directors bring as Visitors to the chapter.

Today I am going to share the Top 5 Reasons to Invite Visitors to your BNI Chapter.

1. It’s not about you! – You have to remember that your visitor might just be the person that one of your members has been trying to get in to see for months. WOW! How happy would that member be at that meeting? Or what if it was someone else’s visitor… Remember that it is all about Giver’s Gain.

2. Attrition Happens! – Yes that is correct. You can expect to loose members from time to time in a BNI chapter. It can be from a whole hoard of different things. Job Changes, some just can’t honour the commitment, and the list goes on. Visitors are the life blood of your chapter. This is where new members are found.

3. New blood = Energy! – When you introduce someone new to your chapter mix they usually will bring with them their own way of doing things. If the visitor that you invite has been properly warned of the sales manager moment they just might knock everyone off their feet with something new.

4. It can get someone off the fence. – So you have an opportunity that just won’t say yes to the product or service that you want to sell them. Invite them to the BNI group. Once there, you have the advantage of 20-30 people telling your visitor how great you are. You think that will help make the sale. On top of that you might have introduced the visitor to his next sell too.

5. Makes Cold Calling Easier. – Imagine you are either on the phone or walking in to do a cold call. This time instead of selling your own services; instead give something away. Tell the gatekeeper you want to invite the business owner / sales person to an exclusive meeting of your centres of influence / closest contacts. You might just find that the gate keeper is not so crabby after that lead-in.

Inviting Visitors to your meeting is as important as bringing referrals, new people in the room present new business opportunities, in fact some of our members have received their biggest referrals from Visitors.

So what are you waiting for, bring a visitor next week.

©Copyright 2012 BNI

Top 5 Reasons To Invite Visitors

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Members Details
Malcolm Burrows
Principal
Dundas Lawyers
www.dundaslawyers.com.au
BNI Zenith in the BNI Brisbane Region

Tell us about your business:

Dundas Lawyers is a true boutique commercial law firm assisting organisations with intellectual property, commercialisation, capital raising and the resolution of commercial disputes. We’ve been going for just over one year and already have five staff

What are your top 3 networking tips?

  • Be the best you can, then people will refer you work;
  • Follow up and catalogue contacts;
  • Be yourself and inject your own personality into everything you do.

What can’t you live without?

My BNI Zenith meeting at Paddington every Thursday morning.

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

Formative thinking of my grandfather who gave me a copy of the classic ”Power of positive thinking”.

How Did Your Find Out About BNI & Why Did You Join?

Referred by Jose Abad (Perception Corporate Communications)

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

Since the start of Dundas Lawyers

What Position/s On The Leadership Team Have You Held? 

Education

What value & benefit have you or your business gained by being a BNI Member?

We track all referrals, so we know exactly how valuable BNI is to the firm. That said, one of the benefits I get is to see the businesses of others in the group evolving.

What Do You Wish Someone Had Told Your When You First Joined BNI? 

That it does take time to build relationships and trust.

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

I was at a Dance Card at one of the other members premises when one of their clients was leaving. We were introduced and subsequently that chance introduction has led to ongoing litigous work.

Your Dream Referral Is…

A growing business that is sick of lack of service and innovation from their existing lawyers. They would probably have at least ten staff and a growing turnover.

Categories : Featured Member
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Columnist Details
Lindsay Adams
National Director
Referral Institute
www.referralinstitute.com.au
BNI Premier in the BNI Brisbane South Region

Tell us about your business:

The Referral Institute is a training and consulting company that teaches business owners and sales people how to get more business utilising the contacts that you already have in your network.

We have a systematic approach to building better referrals through training and coaching.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

1.  Arrive early and stay late at your networking function.
2.  Only exchange business cards after you have had a meaningful conversation.
3.  Remember always have your networking tools with you at all times

What can’t you live without?

Wine, good food and my vege patch

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

Set 4 Life written by Tim Green and Lindsay Adams.

How Did Your Find Out About BNI & Why Did You Join?

I was approached by the Executive Director, who was a friend and business colleague of mine at the time.  I joined because I could see the power of doing business by referral.

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

Since 1998

What Position/s On The Leadership Team Have You Held? 

President, Vice President, Treasurer, Membership Committee, Education, Events, Visitors Host

What value & benefit have you or your business gained by being a BNI Member?

I have made many good sales and built wonderful friendships

What Do You Wish Someone Had Told Your When You First Joined BNI? 

Arrive early, stay late.

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

I joined the first BNI Chapter in Brisbane in 1998 and I’ve been a supporter ever since.

Your Dream Referral Is…

To meet David Marshall from Suncorp Bank so I can share all the good work the Referral Institute is doing with his Branch Managers and lending staff.

Categories : BNI Guest Columnist
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If someone refers you a profitable piece of business, should you reward them? And if so, how do you best and appropriately go about it? 

I believe that we don’t always have to automatically give a gift when someone does us a business favour.  But when we do, we need to get it right.

What’s Their Motivation?

How you should respond to a referral, depends on the motivation of the person referring you the business.  If, for example, you are old friends or long-standing business colleagues you may like to help each other out and refer business to each other with no expectations of a reward – other than the deepening of that relationship.

On the other hand, some business owners have specific referral partners for whom they actively seek business. They may have agreed a rewards-system for when business is passed between them.

What’s Your Method?

Many business owners have some methodology for rewarding people who refer them business.  Some pay a sales commission, while others give a gift of some sort.  While yet others do nothing more than say a heartfelt “thank you!”.

What you should do heavily depends on who gives you the referral and what kind of relationship you have with them.

Rewards & Recognition: Gold vs. Platinum 

When you are close business allies you may simply believe in Givers Gain™, i.e. “what goes around comes around”:  If you refer me business, and I refer business to you in return, we both win.

However, not all business works this way and sometimes it is easier for one person to send another a lot of business, while it is harder for the receiver to return the favour.  If this is the case, it may be prudent to have an arrangement where the recipient of the business referral rewards the sender for their generosity.

If this is the case, then I recommend that you apply the Platinum Rule.

We all know The Golden Rule that goes something like this:  “Do unto others, as you would like done to you”.

The Platinum Rule, as created by Dr Tony Alessandra in 1996, takes it one step further, and states:  “Do unto others, as they would like done unto them”.

The Platinum Rule – Works for Them, and Works for You

The difference between The Golden Rule and The Platinum Rule is that when we apply the latter, we are focusing on what the other person likes or wants - rather than what we prefer or like.

Let me explain:

Let’s say that, for example, a business colleague refers a nice piece of business to you worth $10,000.  You want to say thank you plus encourage them to repeat this kind of generous referral over and over again.

How do then you best reward them – and encourage repetition?

One client I introduced to The Platinum Rule came to me after a Golden Rule “thank you” gift gone wrong. He was a real-estate sales professional and known in the marketplace as the guy who wore the “outrageous” ties: bright, quirky, never conservative and always loud.  His signature look was a dark suit with a very bright tie always featuring yellow as the main colour.

When my soon-to-be client landed his nice piece of business from a recent business associate, he wanted to acknowledge the received opportunity and reward his colleague for the referral.  Not only did the real-estate sales expert want to acknowledge the kind referral, but also encourage his referrer to send business his way repeatedly .  So he went straight out and bought a present: an expensive yellow silk tie from his favourite tie retailer.  He had it gift wrapped and proudly presented it to his business colleague.

Some weeks later, he noticed that his colleague had not yet worn the tie. The problem was, of course, that his colleague didn’t like yellow ties.  In fact, he was a very conservative dresser, always impeccably presented, and never seen in a bright tie or any clothing that could possibly be described as “out there”.  He was simply uncomfortable with the gift and would never use it.

If the real estate guy had done some research – or simply stopped to notice the kind of ties his colleague wore – he would have realised that such a gift as his was never going to work.

He had applied The Golden Rule, and bought a gift based on what he liked. Instead, he should have applied The Platinum Rule – and bought something in line with his business colleague’s taste.

How simple would it have been if he had taken that little bit of extra time to think about his colleague’s tastes, personality and preferences first!

Give a Premium Rule Reward & Get Premium Returns

It’s easy to do the right thing for your kind referrer – and therefore strong relationships and your own business’s success. Next time you get a referral, what will you do to show your appreciation?

Hopefully, now you will apply The Platinum Rule and do a little research to find out what your generous referrer likes – rather than rush off to buy something you might prefer instead.

Of course, it also is the thought that counts. But a truly thoughtful gift will be remembered – and your efforts appreciated – long after the reason you gave it.  That “thank you” will carry far more weight and memories than any other will.

Remember: think, care – and only then shop.

Article written by the Lindsay Adams National Director of the Referral Institue

Lindsay Adams National Director, Referral Institute The Referral Institute is a training and consulting company that specializes in working with business owners and sales people to help them develop referral their marketing vision, plans and goals, before they go to BNI to take action.  Find out more at www.referralinstitute.com.au or email Lindsay directly at Lindsay.adams@referralinstitute.com.au 

Categories : Education
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You need to get out there and meet people to generate business….

In business, personal connections are everything. People prefer to do business with those they have previously met or who have been recommended to them by people they know. This is strong incentive for business people and professionals of every kind to build up their personal networks.

The most successful people in business are invariably the best connected.

Attending networking events is one thing. But making the most of them is quite another.  Here are some tips to help you make the most of your networking time.

Have an objective when you go to a networking event. That way, you will feel more purposeful and find your actions more directed instead of wandering around the room aimlessly. It could be that you’d like to meet a certain individual whom you know will be attending. Maybe you choose to find two potential referral sources for your business or for a friend’s business. Perhaps you’d like to meet the speaker or re-connect with a certain someone you met at last month’s meeting and who you’d like to get to know better. If you cannot come up with a specific goal for the event, introduce yourself three or four people and learn about their businesses and then make them aware of yours, which is an excellent goal for almost any networking occasion. Don’t leave until you achieve your goal/s.

Look Sharp. Look professional. Before you get there, take a good look at yourself. Ensure your presentation reflects your desired image. That includes how you hold your drink and cutlery.

It’s about quality contacts versus quantity. When I go to a networking event, my aim is to make two to four meaningful contacts and invite them to meet me for coffee. It’s incredible what can happen over a cup of coffee. A good conversation in a relaxed setting often leads to good business and referrals for me.

Often, people are tempted to distribute and collect as many business cards as possible during a business event. You will get better results by setting a goal of making between two and five new contacts at each networking event you attend. By limiting the number of contacts, you are able to focus on quality connections, deeper conversations and building rapport and trust with each person.

It’s up to you to connect. So be proactive. Don’t just stand around waiting for others to approach you. Even if you are reserved by nature, now is the time to break out of your comfort zone. Everyone else in the room is there for the same reason as you and that is to meet others. So take comfort in knowing that nobody is going to snub you, if only because you might somehow be of value to them. Initiate conversations with a simple “Hello, I’m Ron Gibson. And you are?” Now you’ve got the person’s name and you’ve just started a conversation. In future articles, I’ll share some great questions you can ask to move your networking conversations along further.

Don’t make a beeline for your seat. Often, you’ll see people at networking events sitting alone at the dinner table staring into space―20 minutes before the meal is due to start. Similarly, you’ll see people sitting by themselves waiting for a seminar/ workshop to get under way. Why are they sitting alone? Take full advantage of the valuable networking time before you have to sit down. Once the event starts, you won’t be able to mingle.

Be genuine. Business networking is about being the authentic, real you. Putting on a fake persona or mask and trying to be someone you’re not will do you no good. No one likes a phoney. No matter how great you are and how great your product or service is, it won’t matter one bit if others feel you have something to hide. Always be authentically you, represent your business honestly and build genuine relationships with your network contacts. The financial rewards will definitely flow.

Remember these guidelines when you venture out of your office into the world of networking functions and events. Make the most of the time you spend while you’re there.

Happy networking. Maybe we will see each other at a networking event some day.

Referred to as “That Networking Guy” by many organizations, Ron Gibson provides in-depth networking training and coaching, focusing on business growth and development. Get Ron to speak at your next conference or sales meeting about how to bring in more business, more consistently and more often.  Ron can be reached on mobile 0413 420 538 and email gonetworking@iinet.net.au

Categories : Networking
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In this tight market, how can we get an edge over our competitors?

Let’s look beyond your immediate BNI chapter or other networking group. When we are used to receiving steady referrals from our regular networking colleagues, we can often become complacent with our actual client base.

And this complacency often results in lost potential business.

How to Open Up A Tight Market 

In any market, the first step is getting the client, the second step being paid for the completed work, and the third step getting repeat business. First time work is relatively easy during good times, but – combined with receiving repeat business – becomes crucial in a tight market to maintain your business growth.

So let’s look at a strategy to gain new business and keep it!

3 Keys To Cracking A Tight Market

Your approach does not have to be complicated, fancy or time-consuming – consistently combing solid customer service and marketing basics with some new technological aids will get you there.

PICK UP THE PHONE!

You would be surprised how many of my clients, when I ask the question “what work do you have in the pipeline?”, respond that they have emailed out five, 10 or more proposals in the last few weeks/months – and are “just waiting to hear back from their prospects”. Hear back from them! Whatever happened to picking up the phone and talking to your prospects?

Too many business owners today are using email as their only sales tool, rather than maintaining that personal touch and building their networks. It is not enough to just send a quote or a proposal – you MUST follow up.

Give your prospect an opportunity to ask questions, clarify their queries, say yes or no, or give you a firm idea of when a decision will be made. You must be as pro-active as your competitors.

When you pick up the phone, ideally it’s so you get the work confirmed. Though even if you don’t confirm work, you want to leave the potential prospect with a positive opinion of your professionalism. The successful supplier this time might not meet their expectations and your name will be top of mind for next time. And if you really want to stand out, send them a hand-written note. Saying something like  “Hi Kate, sorry to hear we were not successful as the supplier for your XYZ project. Should you need anything that your selected supplier cannot help with, please do not hesitate to call me. Either way, I trust your event will be a great success.” Of course, include a business card with your note.  Trust me, you will be remembered.

STAY CONNECTED

I recently had a conversation with someone who had networked his services for one organisation through to multiple companies, purely by keeping in touch with a handful of key players and spheres of influence. At one stage, all these key players worked together, then there was a takeover/merger and they had gone their separate ways over time. He had stayed connected with each key player, and eventually he was approached to take his services to four different companies – all because he made the effort to keep in touch.

He also made the comment that during a twelve-month period, there were times when he left phone messages, or sent emails and did not get a response. “That’s life,” he said, “some of the group adapted to the merger better than others. A couple of them took time to find a new role of equivalent status. There were a few times I heard about work in the marketplace and I would text them saying, did you know they were looking for a new supplier at XYZ company?”

It doesn’t take much to be remembered positively. In this volatile market, there is a lot of movement in, and some great staff have been and will be made redundant. Sometimes your peers feel embarrassed to ask for help. Why not – tactfully – keep your ear to the ground and offer help to others who you know may have recently lost their job.  Even if it’s a tele-coffee – a pre-arranged phone appointment taking 5-10 minutes – where you ask or offer help, shoot the breeze or bounce ideas around. It takes very little to be remembered positively these days.

CONVERT YOUR LINKEDIN CONNECTIONS 

In the olden days, we used to call it working your database, making regular contact with people in our networks. Today, LinkedIn makes this so much easier (if you have not as yet joined the LinkedIn fan club, please visit my website www.networkingtowin.com.au for a complimentary e-copy of “Why I Love LinkedIn, And How I Went From Zero To 2500+ In 12 Months”). When people connect with you, they begin to follow you and, as long as you a regular LinkedIn user, you will show up on their LinkedIn radar.

However, connecting with someone via LinkedIn and sending a few messages is sometime not enough to firm up business quickly.  I use a couple of different strategies with my LinkedIn prospects:

  1. I pick up the phone – regardless of where they live and the potential cost of the call. I talk to them. Again, I am not trying to “sell me” – purely giving them an opportunity to ask me any questions they may have, attempt to get to know them better, and build trust ear to ear.
  2. Face to face, of course, is the number one way to get to “yes”. Sometimes you may even find that there is an opportunity to connect with a potential LinkedIn prospect at a networking event. It may not be a network you have been to before. However, as long as you are clear about 1. the why you are going, 2. what you want to achieve, and 3. how you are going to do it, you are bound to get results. Does that mean you walk away with business that day? Maybe, maybe not. What you will have done though is move the person from stranger to acquaintance to colleague – before you ultimately move to customer (who buys once), client (who has used your services two or more  times) and advocates (those who do your selling for you).
  3. On their LinkedIn profile and website, you should be able to tell if Skype is one of your connection’s preferred methods of staying in touch. Why not arrange a Skype meeting? Again, you are putting a face to the name and the messages, and progress the relationship.

Networking with a System is Still King

Today, I believe, we have to be realistic, flexible and practical when it comes to growing our business and careers. Networking is still one of the best ways to open doors nationally and internationally for you.

You must ensure, though, that once you make the connection – be it face to face or electronically – you have systems in place that enable you to maximise the connections, build on those contacts, and ultimately convert the connections to real business.

Avoid complacency with your BNI or other networking chapter – don’t take referrals for granted. One day they may stop otherwise. One thing I know for sure: the more referrals you give, the more referrals you will ultimately receive.

Happy networking – until next time.

Article written by the “Australian Queen of Networking” Robyn Henderson

Global networking specialist, Robyn Henderson has authored and contributed to more than 30 books on networking, self promotion and self esteem building. She has spoken in 12 countries, presents over 150 times per year and has never advertised. All her work comes from networking, referrals, LinkedIn and her website www.networkingtowin.com.au

Categories : Networking
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