Archive for November, 2012

Education Coordinators Mini – Workshop

Why Policies Are Good For Business

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 highlight the importance of rules and policies in BNI

Start by saying……

Some people ask us: “Why does BNI have so many policies and rules?” Today we are explaining why BNI is a system based on a comprehensive list of rules – and how you benefit from them.

The BNI system has proven rules and recommendations around:

  • Joining
  • Attending
  • Referring
  • Training
  • The Weekly Meeting
  • Leadership

There are many parts that contribute to creating a successful networking and word-of-mouth marketing group. While there may be “many” rules at first glance, policies to govern the principles under which a group comes together and decides to do business are crucial for achieving a common vision – and for the group’s success.

Look at it this way: You would not accept or start a job without having seen a job description and salary offer. So why would you want to join a networking group (= job) that has no direction, no expectations of its members, no way to measure its efforts (= no job description) – or can’t articulate the likely reward (= salary) you will receive for your hard work?

Some new members and visitors ask why BNI is so “strict?” The answer to the “why?” is simple – discipline creates value.

There is a lot of information, content and value contained in each weekly meeting:

  • Visibility for members/visitors (business cards, 60-second & 10-minute presentations)
  • Credibility (referrals, raps, and presentation)
  • Profitability & Measurement (referrals and closed business)
  • Accountability (VP and Treasurer Reports, Referral Reality Check)
  • Training (MSP, etc.)
  • Social Connection (events)

There are only 90 minutes available weekly that need to be used effectively. To lead a group of 25 to 75 people orderly (!) through a meeting of that length, and provide value to all participants – now that requires discipline.

Every rule in BNI is aimed at enabling its members to understand, practice and benefit from Givers Gain®.

©Copyright 2012 BNI

Why Policies Are Good For Business – BNI Education

Comments (0)

Did you know that a tiny part of the brain called the hypothalamus helps regulate things like thirst, hunger, parental behaviour, pain and pleasure?  It’s true and the hypothalamus likes validation, it registers pleasure in helping others and being rewarded for helping others.  In fact it’s the place for us to recognize we need to belong to something bigger than just ourselves.

So what you ask…

Well what are Christmas and the holiday break all about?  Helping and rewarding others by giving gifts and recognition to those we have worked with during the year.  We can satisfy the urge of the hypothalamus by giving all year around in fact, simply by exercising the Givers Gain philosophy!

In fact for good referrers it’s Christmas all year!

As human beings we are actually naturally wired to make referrals and it is a satisfying urge, which can and should be satisfied all year around.  Just because Christmas is around the corner doesn’t mean that business stops and that referrals stop as well.

In order to maintain that good feeling and keep out hypothalamus humming all year follow these five simple points.

Refer to Build Your Business

It’s true and we know that the more referrals we give, the more we get, so give referrals and watch your business grow.  Referrals build our social currency and bring us to the forefront of other business owner’s minds.  By providing a referral we make a little deposit into their referral bank account.  Eventually we will either be able to withdraw or be given deposits of our own.

Making Referrals Involves Some Risk

Again the hypothalamus monitors fear, so make sure that you have confidence in the person you are referring.  More importantly make sure that they trust you so they will be confident to refer you in return.  Trust underpins all referrals and business will evaporate if no trust exists.

Boring Businesses Miss Out on Referrals

Back to that hypothalamus again, remember it registers pain and pleasure.  Make sure your business is a pleasure to deal with, make it easy for others to refer you.  Take the time to educate your contact sphere about the exciting aspects of your business that will make you or your product more saleable.

Be Committed, Turn Up, Participate

Consistency builds more and more trust.  If you consistently turn up at your BNI Chapter Meeting, participate fully, give referrals, do 1-2-1 meetings and hand in Thank you for Closed Business slips, other Chapter members know that you are serious and will work harder to support you in return.

Follow the System

A fully functioning business is simply put a set of systems or processes put into place to reach a desired outcome.  Generating referrals is about following a system. Having a Referral Marketing Plan is the key to a successful system this includes a referral marketing vision, clear goals and an action plan to make your system work.

Remember a happy hypothalamus is a referring hypoyhalmus!

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 or email Lindsay directly at 

Categories : Referrals
Comments (1)

People Refer Specialists

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Education Coordinators Mini – Workshop

People Refer Specialists

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 remind members of the importance of narrowing your focus in your BNI presentations.

Start by saying……

You may perform a variety of services or offer a range of products, but if you want a referral, your description of what you do should be detailed and focused on a single aspect of your business.

Your referral sources will find it much easier to get you an appointment with a prospect if your sales message addresses the prospect’s specific needs.

People tend to say they do everything because they want to throw as broad a net as possible, catching everyone. The problem is, a really broad net has big holes in it.

When you tell a referral partner you’re a full-service provider, you ask them to mentally sort out all the people they know and cross tabulate what they do against all the things you do, problem is people aren’t computers.

If you say, “Who do you know who’s a sports enthusiast? Here’s how he can use my product,” then you’re letting your referral source do a simpler kind of mental sorting.

The more you can educate people about the different things you do, one at a time, the more likely you’ll get referrals in the long run. And getting referrals in a specific area doesn’t mean you can’t continue to offer other products or services.

When operating in a BNI Chapter, your immediate goal isn’t to close a sale; it’s to train a sales force.

You’re training people to refer you, and saying that you’re a full-service provider and that you do everything doesn’t train anyone.

You wouldn’t tell a salesperson for your company, “Just tell them we everything.”

You may still not be convinced that narrowing your focus is a good idea, but think about this for a moment: If you need a problem fixed would you be more likely to call a “jack of all trades” or Specialist in the area?

Remember: People are actually more likely to refer a Specialist, rather than a Generalist.

©Copyright 2012 BNI

People Refer Specialists – BNI Education

Comments (0)

It’s been a long and eventful year for many businesses, and we are all looking forward to a well-deserved Christmas and New Year’s break.  Festive parties, holiday events in our businesses or with our clients fill our social calendar.  We’re busier than ever socially – and it’s fun!  But… could your chapter suffer?

Silly Season: Keep The Energy Up!

Does your chapter lose momentum as we inch (then suddenly bound!) towards the Holiday Season and Christmas?  Are you worried that your BNI “sales team” might lose focus amidst the festive frivolities, or that you will experience a dwindling number of referrals leading up to (and during) the holiday break?

Fear not!

We have assembled some great tips on how to conquer a possible holiday slump in your chapter, and to keep you and your chapter focussed – while having fun, and a good break.

So, What’s The Problem?

From early December to the Christmas break, and through the (long) period to Australia Day, it can be a tricky time for chapters.

After a year of building a great group, we become pre-occupied with the festivities.  Family and social engagements, plus the need for a break, can create high member absences in December and January, as businesses close and people take annual leave.  Australia slows down, and often even comes to a complete halt until Australia Day.

The potential problem for your BNI chapter is that absences can become a starting point for declining referrals and people dropping out.  So you need to get people back in the weekly habit as quickly as possible after the break.

But even during the holiday break you can keep the momentum going.

Keep It Strong – Keep The Break (and Absences) Short

One of the key elements that differentiates BNI from other networking groups, is its structure – combined with the weekly protocol.  Not unlike a business that has sales meetings each week, the strength of the BNI system lies in the frequency and the accountability it provides.

It’s like going to the gym: once you get out of the habit, it’s hard to get back on track.  It’s human nature.

BNI attendance is no different.

Breaks that run from three, to up to five or even six weeks are a concern.  That is a long time not to see your sales team – and your team not to refresh their memory of your business.

So what to do? The shorter the break your chapter takes – the easier it will be to get back on track.  And the more you continue to engage before and during the break, the better 2013 will be for you, your business, and your chapter.

10 Tips – Before the Break

It is important for the ongoing success of your chapter to close the year on a good, uplifting note.  After a busy and perhaps demanding year, you want to go into the holiday season on a light note that will make all members look forward to returning to the group soon.

Here are some tips on what you can do leading up to and at the last meeting of the year:

  1. Get creative – fun is healthy, and contagious!
  2. Make the last meeting of the year a “thank you!” meeting to acknowledge members’ input – and encourage continuance in the New Year.
  3. Create a secular advent calendar (or two if your group is big) with some treats.  Everybody likes a little surprise to sweeten their day.
  4. Have a champagne breakfast – bubbles go perfectly with those brekkie strawberries!
  5. Decorate your meeting venue. Create some ambience, surprise your chapter.
  6. Have a themed Sales Manager Minute – and have a prize for the best one – or make the last meeting a Holiday Season fancy dress event.
  7. Psst… Organise a Secret Santa.
  8. Do something festive for the 10-minute presentation, like having different members explain their Christmas, Hanukkah, Saint Nicholas Day, etc. traditions, and how they celebrate.
  9. Organise a December social event – a harbour cruise, a lawn bowls afternoon, a BBQ, attending a carols picnic together – the options are endless!  Involve partners and families to create more personal ties.
  10. Remember to be aware of the different religious and cultural backgrounds of your members, and be sensitive to them.

Keep in mind that most members tend to be small businesses, and the majority are owners or sole traders who might not have any other work related festivities planned.  Give them something to look forward to!

Include BNI in Your Holiday Plans – Have Fun!

To keep it humming, you ideally don’t want to close your chapter at all over the holiday period.  But the need for rest and family time might make that too ambitious a goal.

Consider creating opportunities to connect during the holidays in a relaxed atmosphere, especially in your powergroups.

Here are some thoughts and ideas for you and your chapter:

  • Not all companies close at Christmas other than for statutory holidays – so referral opportunities do not stop for long.
  • Continue to meet on your allotted day – but focus on, for example, internal training or projects.
  • Like any business, give your chapter the best start to the New Year – take the opportunity to plan ahead during the break. Together.
  • Encourage powerteams to meet during the ‘closed’ period in lieu of a standard meeting.
  • Be less formal with the meeting – extend the open networking section, have a themed Sales Manager Minute, and use the 10-minute for fun networking tips.
  • Have themed Sales Manager Minute like: “my ideal referral for 2013 is…”
  • Make the first meeting after the break a casual dress day if most people are still on holidays from their work or business.

So, even if you cannot achieve a no-break meeting schedule, try to keep BNI activity up during the break: your referral levels will stay up!

Got Any Tips?… Let us know at how your chapter is having fun while creating ongoing business during the holiday period.

We like to thank David Cole, BNI Ambassador, 9-year member and current President at BNI Sky Scrapers for his contribution to this article.  David currently serves on the BNI International Board of Advisors, which ensures open communication between our international members and BNI Headquarters.  David is also the founder of management and business consultancy firm Focused Management Business Coaching.

Comments (0)

Education Coordinators Mini – Workshop

Preparing for your Keynote Presentation

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.

Start by saying……

You get to do your 10 minute Key-note Presentation to the chapter usually once or twice a year so it is extremely important to think about what you are wanting to say and do.

When your Key-Note Presentation comes up, what are some of the things you certainly want to do and not do?

Let’s start with the “To Do” list. Raise your had if you know something to be sure to do.

1. Be Prepared
2. Be On Time
3. Bring Visuals
4. Bring a Memorable Door Prize – (Don’t be Cheap.) – (Always have a back-up Door Prize.)
5. Ask for Specific Referrals!
6. Dress for the occasion. (Proper Business Attire)

These are all great ideas, so let’s talk now about what we definitely DON’T want to do:

1. Go Over Time.
2. Go Under Time.
3. Be Boring.
4. Hand-Outs during Your Presentation.
5. Ask for Questions. (If you have any questions, raise your hands to schedule a One-to-One meeting)
6. Bring wine as a door prize unless it’s your business.

Preparing in advance is as much of a key to success as the presentation itself. You know your target market so why not ask for members to invite those people to your meeting. Start asking in your sales manager moment a few weeks in advance those you want as visitors when you do your keynote presentation. This could be categories already filled in your chapter but that does not mean you don’t want to meet them – ASK!

Do these things and you will have a very successful Keynote Presentation.

©Copyright 2012 BNI

Preparing For Your Keynote Presentation – BNI Education

Comments (0)

Do you allocate networking time every day or a set time every week to complete your networking strategies? If you don’t you might find you are not getting the results you want. Smart networkers have systems in place to assist them with their time management and their networking results. Let’s look at 3 simple systems guaranteed to maximize your allocated networking time.

Systems + Time = Networking Results

Let’s aim to allocate a minimum of 15 minutes per day as your networking time. This does not include the time spent at your BNI chapter meeting. These 15 minutes are a specific time frame set aside for networking activity.

Can’t spare 15 minutes per day? Don’t worry – this does not have to be a solid 15 minute block. There may be many opportunities for stolen minutes, for example:

  • When you are waiting for a teleconference call to start and you use that time to network, by chatting with those people online.
  • You might write a quick thank you card (yes a hand written note rather than an email) to thank someone for a favour they have done for you. Addressing the envelope often takes longer than actually writing the card – but the impact on the receiver is WOW – 10/10 for effort.
  • A welcome back to work email to someone who has been on sick leave or holiday leave.
  • A welcome email to a new member of your BNI chapter – “Welcome to XYZ chapter, I am the guy in the green shirt this morning who talked to you about challenges with employee’s absenteeism.”

Are you getting the idea? No one actually has 15 minutes to spare, but they do have lots of stolen minutes throughout their day and every stolen minute eventually totals 15+ minutes.

So now you realise it’s possible, let’s suggest a few systems to fast-track your results

Make Technology Your Friend

Beware though! No point getting carried away with Twitter if your client base doesn’t follow it. Talk to your clients and prospects – find out what form of technology works for them. I recently had a client tell me his fingers were too fat for texting, so it doesn’t work for him. A different handset might solve the problem, but I made a physical note – phone Jim S. – don’t text if you want a response quickly.

Group sports followers together, so that you are able to do a blanket text – Sydney Swans lead by 6 points with one message to a group of fans quickly and strategically. Rather than individual texts or none at all. Never assume everyone loves the team you are passionate about, even follow the sport or sports in general. Getting to know your network is critical.

Keep It Together!

When you attend a non BNI networking event implement a couple of really simple systems. Print off the invitation to the event and insert into a plastic sleeve. When you return from the event, put the business cards you have collected into the plastic sleeve.

If you have gently turned down the corner of the business cards of the people you need to follow up with, then they will stand out from the others. Put the plastic sleeve into your “networking activity” 2-ring binder immediately.

Then if you don’t get a chance to action it today, or want to refer back to the people, whom you met – it is all together. Remember one in four of the people you meet at business networks will become a prospect, referee, client and/or new friend – but only if you follow up.

Be Prepared

Picture a coloured manila folder with a flap, so that things don’t fall out of the folder. You can buy an exotic version of this folder or stick to a cardboard one – whichever you prefer is fine. This is your colourful networking follow up pack. Assuming that the bulk of your workstation has a lot of white paper on it, your networking folder will stand out – for all the right reasons.

When you purchase the folder, you may also collect some stationery – coloured paper, coloured envelopes (so they stand out), happy birthday cards, sympathy cards, congratulations cards. This might also be the spot where you keep copies of your favourite articles, cartoons, your own hard copy newsletter, with compliments slips etc. All these bits and pieces that are generally scattered throughout your work place – are now in one spot for easy access.

Imagine you have read in your community newspaper or heard at a BNI chapter meeting that your peer or a prospect was a runner up or a winner in a local award. As a pro-active networker, you want to congratulate that person for their achievements. A phone call or email would be appreciated. A hand written congratulations card with your business card enclosed will have an even greater impact.

In the same way, you hear one of your BNI chapter member’s has had a death in the family or death of a close friend. You take the initiative to send a sympathy card or flowers on behalf of your chapter.

Think about the best networkers in your BNI chapter. Over the last 12 months, you may have received a variety of contacts and correspondence from them for all sorts of reason.

Was anything they did, something that you would not be able to duplicate? Probably not, it all boils down to thoughtfulness, systems, being pro-active and staying connected. And it all starts with 15 minutes per day.

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

Categories : Networking Systems
Comments (0)