Archive for BNI Fundamentals

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…… 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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Why I am a BNI ambassador?

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masters_of_networkingOver the last 15+ years I have met thousands of BNI members and spoken at many BNI events in Australia and New Zealand. One of my favourite BNI stories is how I first came to meet Ivan Misner and the wonderful opportunities that eventuated from that first meeting.

Picture this, it was the late 90’s and I had firmly established myself as a Global Networking Specialist, had many networking books under my name and my name was becoming synonymous with networking in Australia.

Ian Pendlebury had brought BNI to Australia and I had established a friendship with Ian as he showed up at many business networking events as he grew the Sydney BNI chapters. I had been to one BNI meeting to check out how it worked, gave it my tick of networking approval and referred many people to their local chapters. I chose not to join as I was travelling extensively and could not commit to one meeting per week. However, I was a real BNI fan.

One day I had a phone call from Ian. He hesitantly asked me if I was interested in helping to launch Ivan Misner’s new book. It was Ivan’s first trip to Australia and Ian was keen to get lots of coverage for the event and thought I might help draw a crowd. I had heard and read so much about Ivan and jumped at the chance to be involved. Ivan went to great pains to point out that Ivan would be “the main event” and my involvement was second place. “That’s fine Ian; I get to meet Ivan Misner – that’s fantastic.”

“Wow, I’ve just won $20.” Ian said.

“How come?” I responded.

“Well, when I told Jack, a guy in my chapter that I was going to ask you to be involved in the launch, he bet me $20 that you would say no!”

“Ian you are crazy, she will never agree to that – Ivan is her competitor, why would she do that?” Jack said.

“It’s obvious you have never met Robyn, she doesn’t worry about competitors, she believes in abundance and there being plenty for everyone.” Ian said.

“I’ll bet you $20 she says NO!” Of course Jack was wrong.

Fast track to the day of the launch and Ian had arranged for Ivan, he and I to have a lovely lunch at a beachside Sydney hotel. Over lunch Ivan asked me if I would be interested in contributing to his next book – “Masters of Networking”. Another wonderful opportunity and I accepted the offer immediately.

That night we had a great launch in the city, Ivan’s book sold well and BNI recruited many new and potential members for their Sydney chapters. A week later I submitted my words for the “Masters of Networking” book – knowing very little about the other co-authors.

Imagine my surprise a few months later, when I received my first copy of “Masters of Networking” with my name listed on the cover along with Harvey Mackay, Deepak Chopra and Bill Gates. As many of you would know the book went on to be a New York Times best seller and I bought the rights to publish the book in Australia and was very proud of my involvement.

Since then Ivan’s path and mine have crossed many time including California and throughout Australia – most recently at Ivan’s Australian book launch in 2012 on the Sunshine Coast.

So why am I a BNI ambassador?

I love systems that work. BNI is all about systems, procedures and protocols. And as big as BNI has grown and continues to grow – the systems work. Week after week, referrals fly around chapter meetings all around the world. Pro-active BNI members who “get” BNI grow their businesses quickly and professionally.

Some members last, some don’t – that’s life. Some want to change everything (usually these ones don’t last), others take the time to look at the systems and realise – they work because they are sound systems.

The pro-active members prosper. This is no one niche that will necessarily do better than another. What I know for sure, the BNI members who get it realise that they are only one introduction or connection away from new business.

Had I said “Thanks but no thanks Ian” back in the late ‘90s when I was asked to support Ivan at his book launch, many doors would not have opened for me as they have in the last decade. May I recommend that one of the most important things you need to take to your next BNI chapter meeting is an open mind?

Remember every best friend was once a perfect stranger.

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

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BNI chapters come in all shapes and sizes and over the last fifteen years during my visits to BNI chapters or speaking at BNI big breakfasts, there are three skills that I have observed all the successful BNI members have.

Let’s call this active BNI member Jack, a busy electrician who does both residential and commercial work. His business and life partner Jane also belongs to another BNI chapter and they credit more than 70% of their business growth to belonging to BNI. As their business has grown, they have also encouraged their staff to attend BNI meetings in their absence. BNI is a big part of the culture of Jack and Jane’s business.

Act Like The Host Not The Guest

Whenever I have met Jack or Jane outside of their chapter meetings, they always engage people as if they were the hosts not the guests. This makes first timers and strangers at other networks feel very welcome and best of all they remember Jack and Jane positively. They don’t always attend the same external events, but they are very busy socially and are basically friendly people.

TIP: The next time you see someone who looks a bit lost or confused; offer your assistance – that’s what hosts do.

Network Outside Of BNI at Least Once a Month

The BNI chapters that consistently attract new members and build solid memberships have members who attend additional networking events every month. These events might range from a golf day or a chamber of commerce event through to a conference. The main reason they do this is to expand their business. The secondary reason is that they meet lots of new business people. And during their conversation with these strangers, they mention BNI and invite that stranger along to a meeting.

TIP: Look around your chapter and identify the members who regularly give multiple referrals every week. Talk to them about the networking events they attend outside of BNI and ask if you can tag along to one of these events. Yes your prime intention is to promote your business AND you can also invite strangers you meet to come along to a BNI chapter meeting. Remember you probably have to ask two to three people to attend BNI, to ensure that one shows up.

They Are the Face Of BNI

Jack and Jane understand that they as individuals are the face of BNI. They are not directors; they are active members, who are committed to BNI as well as their business growth. When they meet people socially or at business events, who have never heard of BNI, they make sure they follow up with them after the event. Even if the stranger is a financial adviser or real estate agent (both popular categories at BNI chapters), they still invite them along to a meeting – as they know new chapters are forming all the time. Most of all Jane and Jack know that they are growing BNI as a whole, not just their own chapter. They believe in abundance firmly knowing there is plenty of members and business for all current and future chapters.

TIP: If one of your guests attends a BNI meeting and decides NOT to join BNI for whatever reason, don’t dismiss them from your network. Over the next twelve months, they will still have a need for the products or services from many of your current members. They can tap those needs through connecting with you and accessing your BNI members. Before you know it, you will be the top referral giver at your chapter.

Givers gain is the BNI mantra and we know it works. Jack and Jane are successful BNI members because they live BNI – they build their business growth around being active members. What about you? Is it time you stepped up? What if you took on these three tips for the next ninety days, what have you got to lose?

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

The old saying that we “treasure what we measure”—and vice versa—turns out to be highly relevant in networking.

I created a survey of 12,000 men and women for one of my most recent books. As my co-authors and I explored the extent to which survey respondents correlated success and networking, we discovered that most of the people who credit networking for some of their success also maintain a system for measuring the dollar value of their networking activity. Conversely, most of the respondents who said networking played no role in their success had no system for tracking any money generated by their participation in networking groups.

In a world where news media frequently reports the latest sports scores, stock market numbers, and even the weekend’s top-grossing films, wouldn’t you think common sense would motivate business networkers to track how much they’re making from their efforts?

Unfortunately, common sense isn’t all that common.

In the survey, more respondents said they did not have a system than said they did have one. More importantly, women said that they did not have a system to follow up more than men did! It is easy to see that the more systematic you learn to make your networking the more productive you are going to be.

Male or female, having a system is key to success. However, for women, this can really be a major key for them. Why is this?

Women have fewer hours to actually spend networking. They have to balance family responsibilities from getting kids off to school in the morning to getting them to their after-school activities, home for dinner, and off to bed. Add to that all the other activities that they need to take care of in a given day and there is little time for networking.

Having systems to follow up and stay in touch allows for more productive activities and results from networking activities. There is no way to create success if your success is out in “airy-fairy” land. Hard facts and data tell you what you are doing well and what you are not doing at all. Tracking is a key factor in success.

Track Everything

There are so many things that need to be tracked:

  • What organizations you belong to and what results you are getting from them?
  • How much time are you spending networking and working your network?
  • How much money have you made as a result of your activities?
  • Who is sending you referrals, and how much of your income are they responsible for?

You must have systems around all the tracking as well as systems for:

  • Following up with those people you meet
  • Staying in touch with your network members
  • Rewarding your referral sources
  • How you are going to help your referral sources

Here is the key point: If you learn to use good systems, it will allow you to get better results in much less time. This will free up more of your time for family and personal life. The work and time is upfront developing and implementing the system. On the backside, you will spend much less time going out networking and more time working in your network.

Last year BNI celebrated its 25th anniversary. In a quarter of a century, BNI has gone from a spare room in founder Ivan Misner’s home to a multi-national company with more than 1,000 employees worldwide.
And today, BNI members pass over 6 million referrals and generate close to $3 billion in business – every year.

Before BNI Was Born

Back in 1985, BNI founder Ivan Misner ran his own consulting company. He had just taken out a mortgage for a new house when soon after he suddenly lost his biggest client. Unfortunately, the bank still wanted the monthly loan repayment, though. So, what to do? Advertising and PR wouldn’t help – his clientele was too niche and these options expensive. Direct mail or cold calling didn’t seem the answer either.

It All Started With a Simple Idea

Ivan, like many other businesses owners, already received referrals through his informal network of business acquaintances. But they were mostly an afterthought and coincidental product of a conversation. And many referrals too often were just vague leads in the cold light of day.

But the concept of referrals was good.
Ivan decided to harness the power of recommendations and referrals by making them more targeted, informed and plentiful – he knew he needed a networking system.

The seed that would turn into BNI was planted.

Today, BNI’s first employee and four of the original founding-members are still with the organisation.

How BNI Is Different

What Ivan realised was that no networking group existed that combined all the elements that he was looking for, and was convinced would lead to more quality referrals and more prosperity.

He wanted to be part of a networking group that offered a “system of mutually beneficial networking based on business referrals in a positive environment”. A system designed from the ground up to do one thing really well: generate the highest-possible number of high-quality referrals for all, from as many sources as possible.

BNI’s Keys to Success

Since its beginnings in the 1980s, BNI has provided the benefits and advantages that Ivan set out to achieve for his own business success. Little did he know then that his group of four would turn into the largest business networking organization in the world!

Today BNI is going strong due to:

And so, a simple idea keeps businesses prosper in Australia, and all over the world.

Meet Ivan Misner – Book for his Australia Visit Now!

Ivan will be visiting Australia in May/June 2012 to promote his book “Business Networking & Sex (Not What You Think)” – and to meet you!

This is your chance to have the founder of BNI speak at your regional events. First, find out more about where and when you can hear Ivan speak here.  Please contact your regional director or go to Ivan’s Tour Dates for the best way to connect with Ivan on his Australia visit 2012.

Support your business and your chapter – learn more about powerful networking from the founder of BNI, Ivan Misner in May/June 2012!

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Achieve 3 Visitors per Week!

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This week Yorkshire ED Niri Patel shares his secret to success of getting 3 eligible visitors at every meeting. Niri writes…

“USA ED Tom Fleming has 1,657 members in 42 chapters, with an average size of 39.45! He does this by having a monthly Leadership Team meeting to ensure the flow of advice and information is not from the BNI office alone, but from the Leadership Team’s peers. He credits his success to this meeting – it gets buy in from the LTs, recognises what’s working and remedies faults quickly. It includes a regular review of goals and targets. One such target is the number of visitors that a group needs each week to sustain growth. Having looked at my own region in January this year, we found the following related to chapter traffic lights banding”:

The conclusion?

“If we want to grow like the best groups in our region, we need 3 visitors per week. You need 2 visitors per week to just stand still! It seems to be working. Each month we remind all groups of this at the LT round table in South Yorkshire. The groups that have a full turnout each month are the ones that seem to be growing. Coincidence? You decide!”

Although the meeting is still a work in progress, Niri’s top 3 tips for the Leadership Team meeting are:
• Do plenty of recognition, especially for things you have set out as initiatives.
• Get the LTs who are doing well to share their experiences. Peer to peer learning is powerful.
• Always start and finish the monthly meeting on time.

Here at National Office we endorse this approach and encourage you to do the same.

Contact Niri Patel

Whether you are just getting your networking L-plates or are a contact-building buff, there are always new resources you can tap into to make your networking successful, fun, and a rewarding time-investment.

Be Visible, Be Trusted. And Be Successful.

Connecting, building trust and relationships with other professionals, industry contacts, your BNI peers, and other referral sources (and of course existing and potential clients) is fundamental to any business’ success. The potential for additional business momentum and income from building a “tribe” and trusting network is enormous.

BNI - Navigate the Networking JungleStroll Through The Networking Jungle

To get the best enjoyment and return on investment from your time spent business networking, you may want to create a few new habits that build on your existing networking strengths.

We would like to share our proven 10 Top Tips to successful networking with you, so that every business function, networking event and BNI meeting will be valuable, enjoyable, and a great experience for you.

Armed with these tricks of the trade, you will be ready to go and breeze through the (previously perhaps a little daunting) networking jungle!

The 10 Networking Tips You Can’t Do Without

Over the coming weeks we will delve deeper into each of these recommendations, plus share more networking ideas with you – to give you even more tools to grow your networking muscle.

  1. Arrive early – and leave late. Welcome new people, be warm and open.
  2. Work the room. Spot the connectors, open groups and “lost” people.
  3. Network as a group of complementary businesses or with those who use your services. Network with a client – a walking testimonial source, and a great way to forge a closer bond with your client.
  4. Be prepared. Bring a lot of business cards, and any marketing material. Wear a name badge with your own and your company’s name.
  5. Listen. Givers do gain, while hard sellers, who talk only about themselves, are seen as rude and pushy. Give the first referral, if you can.
  6. Have an objective. Be specific about the referrals and connections you are looking for. Have a good elevator pitch ready that matches your audience and goals.
  7. Create “VCP”: be Visible, Credible, – and reap the Profitability rewards. Trust takes time to develop, so network regularly.
  8. Be Consistent. How do you present yourself, how are you perceived? Match your appearance to the occasion – and your business. Ensure your online presence is consistent with the real-life “you” and business.
  9. Say thank you. It’s not only the polite thing to do, it will also make your referring contact feel appreciated, and it encourages future referrals.
  10. Follow up after your networking event! Your reputation (and that of your referrer) and conversion-rate hinge on this perhaps most important of all networking tips.

Our networking pointers are of course not all there is to successful, profitable and fun networking. But with practice, these first steps will see you go a long way in establishing a great business network, and trust. And that visibility and credibility are essential to getting referrals, making lasting connections, and to growing your business. So, which tip will you try out on your next networking quest?

BNI Learning is the new flagship online learning platform pioneered by the team of Directors of BNI in Australia, together with BNI Director of e-Learning Mark Graber who “in his spare time” is the Principal of Websmart Design.

With the support of Ivan Misner and the team at BNI HQ in the US, Australia is trialling new ways to effectively upskill members in world’s best BNI practices. This is absolutely necessary if we are to listen to adult learning principles, and help members get the most of their BNI experience.

To date over 1,700 members from around the world are active on BNI Learning, including over 700 members in Australia. Ready in time for the April training events, members were encouraged to complete 30 mins of online training on the “how to’s” of their new roles. This allowed the face-to-face training to go in more detail of the “why” of BNI practices, and the feedback from members has so far been outstanding!

For example in Perth where well over 100 members were trained, the feedback was:
- 93% of members felt that the online training answered their questions about their role and what was expected of them; and
- 94% of members said they would recommend this training to others.

We were particularly pleased that Members who had previously undertaken leadership training found the new training refreshing, and they gained new inspiration and knowledge to take back to their chapters.

Michael Sinclair said “I was impressed by the new format of leadership training. Instead of spending three hours going through who does what and when for each meeting, a quick 30 minute “how to” online training session with a short video went through these basics. The face-to-face group discussion fostered discussion between chapters, developing ideas that we could then bring back to improve our own chapters.”
Michael Sinclair, Harper Group Pty Ltd.

The new format of face-to-face training was conversational and, an aspect that was particularly appreciated, allowed members to share their knowledge and experience.

If you haven’t tried BNI Learning for yourself, go to and check with your local BNI Director for your enrolment key!

The key concept in referral marketing is relationships. The system of information, support and referrals that you assemble will be based on your relationships with other individuals and businesses. Referral marketing works because these relationships work both ways: They benefit both parties.

A referral marketing plan involves relationships of many different kinds. Among the most important are those with your referral sources, with prospects these referral sources bring you and with customers you recruit from the prospects. These relationships don’t just spring up full-grown; they must be nurtured. As they grow, fed by mutual trust and shared benefits, they evolve through three phases: visibility, credibility and profitability. We call this evolution the VCP Process.

Any successful relationship, whether a personal or a business relationship, is unique to every pair of individuals, and it evolves over time. It starts out tentative, fragile, full of unfulfilled possibilities and expectations. It grows stronger with experience and familiarity. It matures into trust and commitment. The VCP Process describes the process of creation, growth and strengthening of business, professional and personal relationships; it is useful for assessing the status of a relationship and where it fits in the process of getting referrals. It can be used to nurture the growth of an effective and rewarding relationship with a prospective friend, client, co-worker, vendor, colleague or family member. When fully realized, such a relationship is mutually rewarding and, thus, self-perpetuating.

This simple concept has made a bigger difference in more people’s networking efforts than any other single idea I’ve discussed. For this reason, I’m going to devote the next few blogs I write to explaining each step of the VCP Process individually. Come back on Monday to learn why it all starts with visibility . . . I guarantee you you’ll want to read this one!

For more information visit Dr Ivan Misner Blog.

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An ODE to the BNI Chapter Library

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Written by Joe the Handyman, BNI Northern Stars Geraldton

When I was at school, I ran amuck,
They said I fell off the idiot truck.
My mates were crazy and I was mad,
An embarrassment to my mum and my dad.

But later in life after long duration,
I learned the value of education.
Success in life is not pot luck,
So let’s wave goodbye to the idiot truck.

Successful people I have learned,
Their success indeed, they have earned.
They study and read and educate,
So let’s start now, it’s never too late.

In BNI, what do I find?
People with an open mind.
Willing to learn, willing to grow,
If you don’t believe me, just ask Joe.

There’s no need to be stuck in a groove,
We all have room to improve.
Reading, reading is the key,
So let’s make use of our library.

Download Your Copy To Use In Your Chapter This Week

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