Archive for August, 2013

In this first video in the “Why People Resist Networking Series,” Dr. Ivan Misner® lists 4 ideas about why people most likely resist networking and goes into detail about the very first idea–Lack of Confidence.

He offers insight into three different reasons why people lack confidence when it comes to networking and then gives explanations & solutions to combat this reasoning which too often prevents people from reaping the benefits of networking for their business.

Hewson-pic-smallMembers Details
Chris Hewson
Stowe Landscape Design
BNI Carton in the BNI Melbourne Region

Tell us about your business:

Stowe is an innovative landscape design company that combines the holistic elements of nature to create dramatic and graceful outdoor spaces.
Stowe landscape design specializes in high-end residential projects, ranging in scale and program from small residential, through courtyard and rooftop gardens, to coastal and beachside escapes.
Stowe offers a variety of landscape design services ranging from consultation, design, construction and garden maintenance. Our demonstrated project management skills ensure the successful completion of your project, managing the entire process from garden design through to maintenance of your completed garden.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

  • Do as much networking as you can!!
  • Be nice: look to what you can offer other people rather than looking to what you can get out of the meeting.
  • Be persistent: networking and establishing relationships takes time!

What can’t you live without?

Good advice

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber.  Fantastic information and directly relates to small business owners

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

Through a friend that informed me of what it is and how it operates. Joined after attending a few meetings and seeing the positive attitudes and potential networking opportunities that presented themselves.

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

4 Months

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

I have received various referrals but more importantly have received invaluable business advice from like minded affiliates and colleagues.

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

Nothing really – has met and exceeded my expectations

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

A wonderful colleague at my BNI Carlton chapter that has on a few occasions driven me to see potential clients – that’s true friendship gained from being a part of BNI!

Your Dream Referral Is…

A property developer wanting a landscape design team to design and construct their entire property development.

Categories : Featured Member
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Rather than making assumptions, ask more questions.  This was a piece of sage advice that has been given to me both my spiritual mentor, and my sales coach!  No, they are not one in the same, but both have expressed the importance of asking more questions, as well as asking better questions.  Over the years as I have developed my networking skills I have come to learn the importance of not only asking questions but ask good questions.

I often teach people how to network effectively, to get beyond face to face cold calling, to do quality networking that allows you to build relationships with people whom you want to refer business to and who may want to refer business to you.  One of the most popular questions I get from my students is; “How do you start a good conversation with someone I meet at a networking event?”  My response is always the same, “Ask Questions”

People love to  talk about themselves, their businesses, what they are doing that is important to them, and what is going on in their world.  If you are shy, or timid, asking questions will allow you to interact and find common ground with people.  It will take you out of your shell by allowing you to focus on something other than your own fear.

Here are a few tips for asking questions:

Never ask yes or no questions, otherwise you just get yes and no answers and there is no conversation started.  Make sure your questions are open ended.

Ask thoughtful questions that you would really like to know the answer to.  People respond better when they know you are genuinely interested.  We are accustomed to hearing questions like, “How are you?”  “How’s business?”  “What brought you here?”  “What do you do?”  The truth of those questions is that no one really wants to know the answer, they are just being polite.

After you ask a question, listen to the answer.  It may lead you down the path of the next question or you may learn that the person you are speaking to would be a great connection for someone else you know if the room.

Don’t be a Drill Sargent and pummel the person with questions, it is far better to have 2-3 well thought out questions that draw the person into conversation with you, than it is to have a barrage of pointless questions.

One of the finale questions I will often ask people is this, “As I continue to network and meet people here is there anyone you would like to know or anything I can do to help you?”  In fact I almost always finish any conversation that I have with this question,  “Is there anything at all that I can do to help you going forward?”  If there is, I make a note of it, if there is not, I let them know that I am an email away if they can think of anything I can do for them, just drop me a note.

Often I can go to an event and say very little, but I learn a lot. It is said, that a wise man listens and questions, a fool rambles on and on.

hazelGuest Post Written by Hazel Walker: A passion for learning, personal growth, and relationship-building has been invaluable to Hazels evolution as a woman, a mother and an entrepreneur. Find out more at

chrisMembers Details
Chris Peacock
Inspire Excellence
BNI Centre Line in the BNI Perth Region

Tell us about your business:

Inspire Excellence offers dynamic, engaging, and specifically-tailored success coaching designed to help individuals and businesses alike reach a higher level of life achievement. Using the uniquely effective Affinity Coaching method to approach life coaching, team development, mentoring and more, we can help you learn for yourself the empowerment and strength that comes with true improvement.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

•Mind your manners – Networking might have it’s own additional set of rules and customs, but all of society’s normal, mannerly expectations still apply. Listen more than you talk, be thoughtful in your interactions and generous with your time when you can. Being perceived as professionally weak is something to avoid, but that never happens as a result of having good manners.

•Elevator pitches still matter -There will always be a reason to sell what you do in a very short window of time. It will always play in your favour if you maintain the ability to do that in a way that manages to cover who you are, what you do, and why it’s relevant. Remain casual and efficient, not forced or pushy. You should repeatably practice ahead of time and, periodically update your pitch.

•Play to your weaknesses. There are loads of apps and online/mobile tools that can bolster your networking arsenal. For example, if you know you’re prone to having a memory lapse about following up with new contacts, plan ahead. Set an alarm to go off the following week right when you first enter that person’s contact info into your mobile.

What can’t you live without?

My family

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This book provides a rounded, principle driven approach to life and provides great insight for solving both personal and professional problems.

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

BNI was recommended to me by a colleague who said it was highly beneficial to him in growing his business. I joined to experience the same results for my business

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

One Year

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


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

Internal referrals have generated the largest part of my income this year. Additionally I know I have trusted service providers who have and will continue to treat my clients in a professional manner

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

The mentoring program was not clearly explained to me in the beginning. It took quite a while to find my feet. It would be great to be allocated a buddy who takes you under their wing for the first month.

Your Dream Referral Is…

Andrew Forrest, owner of Fortescue Metals

Categories : Featured Member
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yellowtieNetworking and gaining referral business is all about building trust.  As we know building trust takes some time, it doesn’t happen overnight.  The thing about building trust however, is that it can be lost in an instant. And it could be due to things that you aren’t aware of.

As the world is changing and more people are jumping onto social networking sites like Facebook, which boasts almost 12 million Australians, it’s increasingly important for business owners to ensure that their online profiles are reflecting the same business image as their offline networking is.

Facebook provides all the settings and options to ensure only the information you want seen by the world is seen, but sadly many entrepreneurs aren’t aware of what they need to do.  Below I’ve outlined the five key areas of your Facebook Personal Profile which you need to be aware of to protect your business image online.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, but I’m not friends with anyone on Facebook who I do business with. While this might be the case it doesn’t matter as most Facebook profiles are searchable and rank in a Google search.  Jump over to Google and put your name in, you may be surprised by what you find.  Therefore make sure that your Facebook Personal Profile isn’t losing you business and referrals.

1. Profile Image

Located at the top of your profile, it’s set by Facebook as public, however you can change this.  When someone lands on your account, your profile image is the first impression of you.  How does this image reflect on your ability to do your job?  A few years back, my mum was sent a letter from our bank introducing our new Business Banker.  After a quick Google search, his Facebook Personal Profile was found and let’s just say that his profile image didn’t instill any trust in his ability to handle our finances.  Business lost instantly!  Make sure your profile image reflects the impression you want to project for your business.

2. Cover Image

By default your cover image (which is the large image across the top of your profile) is set to public and this can’t be changed.  Everyone who lands on your profile will see this image – it’s huge – they can’t miss it!  Due to it’s size, the impression it provides is larger than your profile image.  Have you ever snooped through a potential suppliers, employee or referrals partners Facebook profile before giving them the the go ahead?  A client of mine was just about to send a letter of offer to a new employee, before she jumped on to Facebook to find a cover image she described as ‘soft porn’.  She just couldn’t run the risk of her clients seeing this image.  Can you?  Save your ‘soft porn’ image for other albums on Facebook (or better still leave them off) and make sure your cover image sends the right message.

3. About You Section

When people want to find out more about you they often refer to your about section.  This is where you can complete a paragraph or two allowing you to connect with the people who find your profile.  Most people just leave this blank but if you are in business you can’t!  It’s best to approach this section in two minds; firstly as a business owner and secondly just as you.  As a business owner you want to entice people to want to find out more about you and direct them to either your Facebook page and your website.  And about you, just provide some insights into your life, as this helps people build rapport and find common grounding.  Make sure you set this section to public in your privacy settings (as discussed later).

4. Linking Your Facebook Page In Work Section

On the About Tab on Facebook you can list your current and previous work and education.  Many people miss the mark with this by leaving it blank, but you are missing out on an area which has proven to increase your Facebook Fans.  In the work section simply type in the exactly name of your Facebook Page.  Most of the time Facebook will automatically link this through and you know it works because you can see your Facebook Page Profile image.  If you happen to have a suitcase, it didn’t work!  You can watch this quick video.  with more instructions on how to set it up correctly.  Again, in your privacy settings, set this area to public.

5. Privacy Settings

Facebook provides an in depth area where you can change and control your own privacy settings.  As business owners and Facebook users it’s important that you understand this area and check it regularly.  It’s your responsibility to make sure your privacy is protected.  Your privacy can be controlled by two main areas on Facebook.  From the top right corner, select the clog and then privacy settings from the drop down menu.  Have a look through all the settings, read them and make any changes.  Then you need to check individual areas on your profile.  As you edit sections, such as your About Tab, there will be privacy controls in the top right corner.  Also remember to check your photos and albums as many people have these unprotected.

If you are online, you must protect your online presence and your Facebook Personal Profile is just one area.  Don’t lose business because you didn’t spend 15 minutes getting this right.  Protect your profile and protect your business and referrals.

nataliealaimosocialmediatrainingNatalie Alaimo is the National Social Media Director for BNI Australia.  She also runs social media training business, Natalie Alaimo International, teaching entrepreneurs how to leverage the power of social media to generate an avalanche of clients.  Visit her online and join the free 30 day Facebook Challenge.



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Simon Caust l Owner l KeepTrak

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simonMembers Details
Simon Caust
BNI Business by Referral in the BNI South Australia Region

Tell us about your business:

KeepTrak is a Navman Wireless Dealer, We give business owners piece of mind that their staff using the businesses Vehicles,Plant & Equipment are productive and safe. We do this through real time monitoring of these assets.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

  1. Do 1-2-1’s regularly & properly
  2. Be always on duty
  3. Listen to understand not to answer

What can’t you live without?


Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  The positive effect this had not just on my business but also my personal life.

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

Met A BNI member in the local dog park!  The networking education.

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

Nearly 4 Years

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

Vice President, Membership Committee, Education, Visitors Host

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

Meeting great and motivated business people who genuinely want to help others succeed.
An increase in business.
Networking Education
A concise sales pitch!

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

Build a Power team.

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

The best referral I have received came form a visitor. Get there early and network.

Your Dream Referral Is…

A local company that expands across Australia & then Internationally!

Categories : Featured Member
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Again, in this case, it’s possible to attend too many networking groups, and it’s possible to attend too few.  The key is to attend a number of different types of groups, and not so many that you have to neglect any of them.  Each type is useful in a different way.

If you want something more definitive, we would say that three is the magic number. It can be more or less than three, depending on your abilities and needs, but there is a pretty good target for an effective referral network.  You can select from a menu of seven different types.

Strong Contact Networks (referral networking groups such as BNI) are structured explicitly to pass business referrals among members; they allow only one member per profession.  Strong-contact networks are particularly good for developing in-depth relationships because you see the same members week after week and pass referrals as part of each meeting.

Casual Contact Networks (chambers of commerce, for example) bring business people together in a less structured context than strong contact networks, but for many they are a primary source of referrals; membership is not limited by profession.  These groups are good for developing breadth in your network, but deep, long lasting relationships can be formed as well.

Service Organisations (Rotary, Lions etc) are associations that exist to provide and support humanitarian efforts and good works in the community and larger venues.  They also bring people together in settings that facilitate referrals and knowledge networking.  Like casual contact groups, they help you add breadth and diversity to your network.

Professional Associations or knowledge networks are established to exchange information and ideas among those in a given industry, as well as to promote and support that industry.  These networks often include direct competitors, but they also provide contacts in related but non-competing businesses as well.

Social/Business Organisations such as Jaycees (insert link) or business singles clubs, combine social activities with business networking and can provide a variety of networking opportunities; unfortunately, many tend to resemble singles bars.

Women’s Networking Groups are still important networking organisations but are slowly disappearing as women enter the business mainstream, especially as professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. In mixed strong contact groups such as BNI, about 40% or more of the members are women.

Online Networks  are a new phenomenon covering a wide range of interests. Many such as, offer business-networking opportunities.  Just as with more traditional networking groups, you need to develop relationships of trust with online networks as well.  Other ways to network online include starting your own blog and emailing your company newsletters.

Not only do we recommend being active in three groups, but we would also suggest that they be three different types of groups.  For referral networking, we would suggest that a strong contact network is particularly important, along with two other groups of different types. If you go to weekly meetings of three groups, you will be spending somewhere between five and six hours per week in meetings, not counting contacts you make outside the meetings in order to follow up on referrals and attend to other group-oriented activities.  That’s a pretty good investment of time, and if you make full use of your networking groups and develop a fair number of relationships, you will probably have as much business as you can handle.

Taken from Truth or Delusion? Page 97 – 99  Online Networks would now be considered LinkedIn.

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