Archive for October, 2012

Education Coordinators Mini – Workshop

Read the Paper with Referral Intent

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 written below.  The italics print is guidelines for you.

Purpose of this workshop: To help fellow members find business opportunity.

Start by saying…..

Most people read the newspaper to gain insight into local and world events and news–and that’s all. I’m suggesting today that you try reading the paper a little differently – to look for opportunities for referrals.

Pick up your local newspaper and scan the front page. Turn to the local section, then the business news, and then the lifestyle section. The paper is teeming with opportunities for you to act as a gatekeeper for the people in your network. Every page presents problems or significant issues of one kind or another.

What are people saying? Who is talking about problems or changes in her company or industry?

What is happening that could have a direct impact on you or someone in your network? Who is in need of the services of someone you know? Where are there networking opportunities for you and your marketing team?

So why not start out by reading the paper this week with referral intent for two people in your network? Find each of them an opportunity or a lead that they might capitalize on through their network. Then find your own business a lead or two on which you can capitalize, and begin to ask your network for help in making the connection for you.

Clearly, these are more “leads” than “referrals.” However, there’s nothing wrong with telling a business associate about the details you just read about relating to a new company moving into town.

It’s good to show your referral partners you are looking out for them and – you never know – It could turn into something good.

©Copyright 2012 BNI

Read the Paper with Referral Intent

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There is one guaranteed thing you as a BNI member can do that will give your chapter a boost – that is to regularly bring a visitor. Most BNI groups get 20+% (even up to 30%) of their closed business from visitors.

That’s a pretty good incentive to bring visitors! Are there any other good reasons to invite visitors; and how do you go about attracting regular, quality visitors – to then close business with them?

Why Are Visitors So Important?   

Besides adding a healthy portion to the chapter members’ revenue, what are the other reasons visitors are so important to the health of a BNI chapter?

1. A visitor is a potential customer  / may buy from members:
Visitors can just buy from you – they don’t have to join. We often see that members try so hard when inviting – they go too far in selling the BNI concept. It doesn’t matter if a visitor doesn’t join your chapter. Why? Just ask them to come and take a look. Let the meeting do the selling of BNI – it’s geared up for it. Simply put, at the end of the day, if all a visitor does is bring you some business – that can’t be a bad thing.

2. A visitors may refer their contacts to our members for business:
This is an obvious concept, but often overlooked.

3. A visitor is a potential member / a visitor may refer their contacts to your chapter for potential members:
Chapters lose members for many business and personal reasons every now and again. Visitors form an important role in replacing the gaps in your chapter membership. The membership committee or a Powerteam announces which categories the chapter is looking for. These industries make great visitor candidates.

4. A visitor may become a good regular substitute:
Chapters often struggle with absenteeism. Forming regular substitutes in the chapter is a fantastic benefit for all members:  Visitors who may not want to join, or cannot commit the required time of being a full-time member, may like the idea of being a substitute.

5. A visitor will boost our chapter’s numbers – great for meeting dynamics:
A visitor is an extra person, increasing our numbers. Why does this boost meeting dynamics? Simply because: small groups don’t look impressive to other visitors. And existing members will take more care in their presentation and participation when there are new potential clients in the room. So, we can create an even better impression every time our chapter meets by bringing visitors

One Step Ahead in the Sales Process

Every member knows that having many visitors at meetings generates more energy and tempo. It is this type of meeting that sells BNI to visitors. When this happens, you have a larger pool of referrers to tap into.
So, how do you attract visitors to your meetings so that, in turn, your BNI chapter grows – and your business grows?

In a simplified approach to selling, we know that every sale involves two fundamental steps:

1. First contact

2. Final decision

The first step is the most difficult one, since many businesses don’t know who their next customer is going to be.
Not to mention there is a lot of prep time involved—it’s the most time consuming step in the whole sales process. For most businesses, the very first potential-customer contact usually only confirms whether there is going to be a next step – not whether there will indeed be a sale.

Now take a shortcut….

Think of all the time you could save if you concluded step one of your sales process – meeting new potential clients face-to-face – at your weekly BNI meeting.  There you could have the opportunity to meet with numerous potential new customers (i.e. chapter visitors) at the same time.

Consider the value of personal introductions made for you by your chapter colleagues to each of their visitors. A follow-up call to get you that extra bit closer to closing the deal can now start with a simple, “hello, we met at the BNI meeting…”

Why Your Chapter is Valuable to Visitors

Round up your visitors! Getting your visitors to a chapter meeting is easier than you might think. Every chapter has an enormous commercial value for each visitor: personal introductions to 25-60 professional businesspeople at the same time (that’s all of you, plus the visitors you attract… can you see another value of inviting visitors – for other visitors – here?)!

Visitors and members alike will benefit from the Open Networking part of the meeting, as much as the sales-manger minute information they receive during the meeting to make a pre-selection or confirmation of the businesses they want to work with.

How To Attract Visitors To Your BNI Meetings

Challenge your chapter to bring visitors every week, by reminding them that they will likely and regularly make more money plus save heaps of time every week.

When deciding what type of visitors match your chapter best, consider these ideas:

  1. Ask the Keynote (Ten Minute) speaker whom they want in the room for their presentation.
  2. Use One-on-One meetings to gauge the top three most wanted business categories.
  3. Start by inviting those with whom you are closest.
    They all have interesting jobs, and they all want to save time and make new contacts for themselves. They can be your clients, suppliers, friends or family members.

Once you have identified whom you want to ask, use these tips to make sure they attend a BNI chapter meeting:

  1. Don’t invite them to a BNI meeting. Invite them to meet your best business contacts, 25-40 at the same time.
  2. Give them the commercial values. Personal introduction, everyone wants to meet them, and everyone will want their business card.
  3. Don’t push them about membership.
    The meeting will sell BNI to the right persons; you don’t have to.

Increasing the amount of visitors will not only save you and your visitors time and give you all more business, it will also grow your chapter into the best it can be.

Categories : Visitors
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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.

Having connections makes growing a business so much easier.

To say you don’t have the time to get out there and meet people because you’re busy with work today, means that when you’re not busy tomorrow and you’re looking for business to keep the revenues flowing, you’ll have hard time of making it happen. Why? Because you won’t know enough people to contact and offer your products or services or ask for that introduction to the “buyer” you want to get in front of.

One of the best ways to meet people who can help you grow your business is by attending networking events. These might be “after-hours” meetings hosted by your local chamber of commerce, luncheon organised by industry groups, business breakfasts and the myriad social functions associated with conferences, seminars, trade shows and so on.

Networking at events can open a lot of doors for both yourself and your business.

The good thing about a networking event is the informal and relaxed setting you’re in – it’s an atmosphere where people who might be interested in your business are more comfortable to talk with you because both of you are outside the “buyer/seller” context. When you cold call potential ”buyers” and potential “referral sources” they generally have their defences up because they feel like they are being sold to. What’s more, at a networking event, hard to get to decision makers are free from their gatekeepers who screen their calls and e-mails.

The value of networking events cannot be denied or overlooked as a critical way to meet people who can take your business to the next level.

Attending networking events is one thing. But making the most of them is quite another and requires the ability to connect with others and engage them in a way that makes them interested in conversing with you. The questions that you ask, the ideas you bring to the table and your people skills combined with your networking strategy and your willingness to give of yourself first (before you ask for anything) are the fundamentals of what it takes to make solid connections for business.

Networking, done rightly, can generate the lion’s share of your business.

In this article you will gain an insight to my philosophy of networking and get practical, real-world how-to advice on how to make the most of networking events, conferences and other face-to-face opportunities.

Advertising, brochures, websites and on-line networking via LinkedIn and Twitter all have a potential role in the growth of your business, but nothing can consistently connect you with prospects and land you new business like face-to-face networking can.

Where to go? The best events for networking are the ones your ideal clients/customers and referral sources go to. (There’s an old and true saying in sales and it goes something like this: when you’re hunting elephants, find out where they gather and go there.) Most people in business belong to an industry or trade association. Simply ask your clients and referrers what meetings they go to and ask if you can tag along with them. At the meeting, have your client/referrer introduce you to people they know. And if anyone asks what you are doing there, tell them you want to learn more about the industry and to meet people and get to know them.

You are 100% missing out on good business if you aren’t going  to networking events. But you need to choose the “right” events.

If you’re at the right event, you’re bound to see someone you must speak to.

The sheer number of networking events happening in any given month can be overwhelming, so choose the type of events most suited to you. If you’re not a morning person, breakfast meetings may not be your thing. If you don’t like mixing and mingling at after-hours drinks gatherings, find another kind of event. It’s more productive, not to mention, more enjoyable to find organisations with activities you enjoy at a time of the day that works for you. Keep in mind that all networking does not have to be work-related. Beyond meetings and functions organised by your local chamber of commerce and business/industry association and networking/referral groups like BNI and Rainmakers, you can make valuable connections with like-minded people by joining a civic organisation like Rotary, by getting involved with a charity or community group, by joining a sporting or leisure club, by starting your own networking group or by taking a course or class of some kind.

Getting out to networking events will do more to build your business than making cold calls, advertising and spending money on a website or well-designed brochure.

Which networking events do you regularly attend? Remember finding the right networking events for you is critical to your networking success.

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

Categories : Networking
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Is Your Chapter Referable?

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Education Coordinators Mini – Workshop

Is Your Chapter Referable?

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 written below.  The italics print is guidelines for you.

Purpose of this workshop: To help members understand, individual actions reflect on the chapter as a whole

Start by saying……

During Member Success Program we talk about Members doing the things inside and outside the meeting to build Visibility, Credibility and Profitability (or V.C.P.) to make an acceptable return on our BNI investment.

What is the most important part of the V.C.P. process to get referrals?

Wait for the answer of Credibility

In other words, are you referable?

The V.C.P. process is also applicable to our chapter as whole.

Visibility – Is when people know about our chapter.

Credibility – Is earned when a visitor attends our chapter meeting.

Profitability – Is when they decide to become a part of our chapter and share referrals with us.

What is the most important part of the V.C.P. process to get new members to join or do business with us? Once again the answer is Credibility.

Now what things can damage our credibility in the eyes of visitor?

We are after the responses below, add what the members miss:

  • Poor Attendance (No Substitutes)
  • Members late & leaving early
  • Visitor Host not doing their role
  • Members Ignoring Visitors
  • Members not prepared or winging presentations
  • Members saying I have no referrals today

What BNI is finding that the chapters where members perform professionally, have great attendance, members that arrive early and stay later to network and have Visitor Hosts performing their role fully, do more business!

In other words, is our Chapter referable? And what are you doing to as a member to enhance that?

©Copyright 2012 BNI

Is Your Chapter Referable?

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Members Details
Tabitha Hobbins
Personal Success Coach
Who You Really Are Success Strategies
BNI St Kilda Road in the BNI Melbourne Region

Tell us about your business:

I help people that are stuck at a fork in the road to get from where they are to where they want to be. I do this primarily by helping my clients change their thinking and move from being at the mercy of effect to being the CAUSE of effects in their life! I specialise in helping financially successful men with their relationships, health, weight loss and career satisfaction

What are your top 3 networking tips?

1. show up! and keep showing up until the job gets done!
2. When networking don’t worry about giving out your cards, but focus on collecting other’s cards instead. That puts YOU in charge of the follow up!
3. Ask about the other person and what is dear to them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!

What can’t you live without?

Time in Nature

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

Think and Grow Rich, because it shows that everything that can really influence you is INSIDE of you! The answers are not out there!!

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

A trainer at my Lifecoaching college recommended I join. In his first year in business, 75% of his paying clients came from BNI referrals…

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

2 months

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

Networking and business skills, people skills, new friends 🙂

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

Do dance cards at a rate of knots until you are getting the referrals!!

Your Dream Referral Is…

A wealthy male CEO (like of a bank or major airline) who hates his job and wants to do something else, but feels trapped in his current position

Categories : Featured Member
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Members Details
Dean Knowles
Managing Director
Techwise P/L
BNI Royale in the BNI Southern Tasmania Region

Tell us about your business:

Techwise (formerly Computergear) is an IT services & consulting business founded by Dean Knowles in 1997.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

Be upfront. No bull. Tell it like it is.

Value relationships like a fine wine. They get even better with age!

What can’t you live without?

Internet access and Get Smart re-runs. One’s ahead of its time and one is sadly behind.

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

Business networking and sex – hope there’s a sequel!

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

A valued friend recommended it, and I went along to a chapter not even in my town. I immediately joined that chapter, which required 5am starts to be there!

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

6 years

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

President, Membership Committee, Education

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

The friendships and business relationships

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

that the return on investment could be 1000% – turns out it was true! that info is far more important in the meeting than advising of the cost to join!

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

Within 2 months, 6 of us in the ”business services” power team had formed a Pty Ltd company, which is apparently still going 7 years later with several original BNI members!

Your Dream Referral Is…

A 30-seat small business that needs real direction and support regarding their IT, and advice on how to best align technology with business goals & objectives.

Categories : Featured Member
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