Archive for July, 2013

You may or may not remember the 80’s movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure? It had Keanu Reeves and that other guy in it who didn’t go to do much else, I saw it recently again on pay TV. When I was thinking how to sum up this blog I remembered their motto to save the world was – to Be Excellent to Each Other. This motto rings true in life and BNI, you may say we are, if so, why are there still disputes?

I hate wasting money, it is too hard to get. But I see people invest money in BNI and then waste that money by doing the wrong thing by a member or a referral. In really infuriates me, because I know you can make a great deal of money from BNI, members are proving it.

Here is a quick pop Quiz:

Question; I get a Tier 1 referral from one of the members of my chapter I should.

  1. Get around to it eventually as they are not as important and it is probably only a small job
  2. Charge top dollar as I offer a premium service, besides I need to re-coop the Membership Fees
  3. Add value, do it quickly and show how good and credible my business is.

If you answered A or B. You have just wasted the money you spent on BNI, why? Members talk and no one will want to use your services anymore.

So how do you make lots of money in BNI?

Firstly remember This Is Big Business, Treat your BNI Team as your No1 Customer and make yourself fun to refer to. Remember this rule; everything you do that is seen as un-reliable  or unprofessional or unreliable is probably worth 10 times what-ever you do well.

That could be:

  • Selling to the Group
  • Not Following Up
  • Doing a bad job
  • Not being prepared
  • Poor Dress
  • Complaining
  • Bad Attitude
  • Missing Meetings
  • Not accountable
  • Being Late
  • Making Inappropriate comments
  • Not returning Calls
  • Not Following Up

As Dr Ivan Misner says, “what you do speaks so loudly, that I cannot hear what you say.”

You need to do things to Win Over your BNI team

When we win over the Members of our Chapter, they will want to refer to you and it will become fun, but we need to remember to keep a “Business” Relationship at all times.

Here is another  quick pop Quiz:

Question; I get a Tier 2 referral from one of the members of my chapter I should..

  1. Get around to it eventually as they are not as important and it is probably only a small job
  2. Charge top dollar as I offer a premium service, besides I need to re-coop the Membership Fees
  3. Add value, do it quickly and show how good and credible my business is.

If you answered A or B. You have just wasted the money you spent on BNI, why? Referrals give feedback & Members talk and no one will want to refer your services anymore.

Remember This Is Big Business, Treat your BNI Team and their referrals as your No1 Customer!

Remember your Referral Responsibility is at all times to; Make the Referral Source Look Good.

Referral Conditioning:

  • Being professional will not equal more referrals
  • Doing a good “job” you will not get more referrals
  • Good customer service will not get you more referrals.

It may prevent you from losing referrals, but it won’t necessarily get you more. You need to provide Awesome Service!

Checklist for all of your referrals

  • Add Value
  • Give Awesome Service
  • If you can, Do Something your Competitors Don’t
  • Do What You Say You will do
  • Follow Up & Turn Up On Time
  • Give the Customer a Special Experience
  • Smile

Give Awesome Service to a Tier 1 – BNI Member Referral

  • Positive Customer Experience
  • Shares Positive stories
  • Helps Earn Trust – even from people who have not done business with you
  • Feeling of Less risk of reputation to refer you.
  • Testimonials in meeting – Enhances Reputation & Credibility, Encourages other members to refer you.

Remember: Members Talk

Give Awesome Service to a Tier 2 – Referral BNI Member’s Contact

  • Motivation for them to pass you Tier 3
  • Shares Positive stories
  • Feedback to BNI Member
  • Make Referrer look good
  • Motivation for BNI member to pass more Tier 2 referrals as you have made them look good.

Remember…..Do the wrong thing by a member’s Referral, you have just wasted the money you spent on BNI, why? Members Referrals give feedback & Members talk!

So, what if you stuff something up? Fess up and fix it quickly.

The way you handle a problem can sometimes really enhance your reputation.

Remember; If we don’t fix stuff ups……..you have just wasted the money you spent on BNI

Referral Responsibility

  • Do your Best – if you cant, find someone who can for them.
  • Handle them carefully
  • Get More Information
  • Fix Stuff Ups Quickly
  • Treat them how they would like to be treated
  • Add Value
  • Say Thank You
  • Make the Referral Source Look Good

And Remember at all times, Be Excellent To each Other

Categories : BNI Fundamentals
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Jul
10

The Top Ten Networking Skills

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networkingskills

In today’s financial climate, building and sustaining revenue is critical for the success of both small and large business.  Finding new clients is a pointless and expensive exercise smart business people work their networks to mine the rich relationships they already have in business.

Research at the US Shyness Institute reveals that around 60% of people in business have difficulty introducing themselves and engaging in meaningful conversation with other people at business functions.  As BNI members we know that networking skills can be learned and utilised to make this easier.  Interestingly a recent Harvard Business Review study concluded that networking skills will help organisations large and small find and capitalise on business opportunities.

So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and network!

Hang on before you go, perhaps you should read what the Top Ten networking Skills are and make sure you have them all before you set out.

The Top Ten Networking Skills

  1. Have a Plan:  Great connections don’t just fall in your lap, you have to plan activities and use your time wisely to access the best networking opportunities.
  2. Get Strategic: Not all networking events are worth attending, make sure you get strategic about how and where you spend your time.
  3. Understand Your Personal Style:  Networking is easier for some people than others, make sure you know your behavioural style and how to relate to others who aren’t like you.
  4. Engage In Meaningful Conversation:  Having cheap surface level conversations will never lead you to business like a real and meaningful conversation can.  Take your time, talk and listen carefully to those around you.
  5. Develop Deeper Relationships:  Once you identify a worthy business prospect take the time to build a deeper relationship before you even begin to think about asking for a sale.
  6. Assess opportunities:  Cut short your conversation if you assess that the person you are talking to is not in your target market.  It’s OK to be mercenary when you are networking, remember you are doing this for you, not them!
  7. Showcase Your Expertise:  Make sure you take the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise, without appearing to be a “boorish know it all”.  There is a fine line between information and skiting.
  8. Create Value:  Create value for the people you meet and find a reason to help them.  Remember the best way to get a referral is to give one first.
  9. Follow Up:  After you have left the function, remember to follow up, send the article you promised, connect that person with your friend or whatever.  Maybe just send a hand written note saying, it was nice to meet and spend some time with you.
  10. Thank People:  Finally, take the time to thank those people that help you.  Often people are happy to take and forget the most important part giving thanks.

These Top Ten Skills will help you achieve better outcomes at your next networking event.  Take the time to lean them and put them into practice and then reap the rewards.

© Lindsay Adams 2013.  All rights reserved.

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 : Networking
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prematureExcerpt from Business Networking + Sex By Ivan Misner

Has someone you didn’t even know solicited you for a referral or business? I call this “Premature Solicitation” (Say that fast three times and you might get in trouble!)

I’ve been a victim of “premature solicitation” many times. I was recently speaking at a business networking event, and, before my presentation, a man came up to me and said, “Hi, it is a real pleasure to meet you. I understand you know Richard Branson. I offer specialized marketing services and I am sure his Virgin enterprises could benefit from what I provide. Could you please introduce me to him so that I can show him how this would assist his companies?”

Ok, so what I was thinking was:

Are you completely insane? I’m going to introduce you, someone I don’t know and don’t have any relationship with, to Sir Richard, whom I’ve only met a few times, so that you can proceed to attempt to sell him a product or service that I don’t know anything about and haven’t used myself? Yeah, right. That’s NEVER going to happen.

I am pleased to report, however, that with much effort, I was able to keep that little monologue inside my own head, opting instead for a much more subtle response.

I replied, “Hi, I’m Ivan, I’m sorry – I don’t think we’ve met before, what was your name again?” That surprised that man enough to make him realize that his “solicitation” might have been a bit “premature”. I explained that I regularly refer people to my contacts, but only after I’ve established a long-term, strong relationship with the service provider first. He said thanks and moved on to his next victim.

What was even more amazing to me was that a few months later I blogged about my experience on one of my favourite online social networks. A great dialogue ensued with most people sharing their horror stories and frustrations about people who pounce on them at networking meetings asking for business even though they’ve never met the person before.

Every time I start to think this is an almost universal feeling of distaste for that approach to networking, I am brought back to reality by the minority of people who still think that this is actually a good networking technique.

To my astonishment, a man on the forum actually wrote:

I don’t happen to believe that you need a relationship with a person you are asking first. What you must have is a compelling story or product/service that would genuinely benefit the referral. The fact that you had not cultivated a relationship with the person has become irrelevant because, more importantly, you have been in a position to help [your contact] benefit from the introduction. If it’s of genuine benefit to the person being referred, I don’t see the problem.

It’s about the benefit of what’s being referred rather than the relationship with the person asking for the referral

Who am I to deny my contacts something good?

Wow. What can I say? The “relationship” is irrelevant! All you have to have is a good story, product, or service and I owe it to you or any stranger (who says he or she has a good product) to introduce him or her to a good contact or mine! People really think this way!? According to this writer, it doesn’t matter if I actually know or trust the person wanting the business. As long as the person has a good product (or so he says), I should refer that person because I would otherwise “deny” my contacts “something good”!

Networking is not about hunting. It is about farming. It’s about cultivating relationships. Don’t engage in “premature solicitation”. You’ll be a better networker if you remember that.

Categories : VCP
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