Episode 46: “Small Actions, Big Results”

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In this episode, Dr. Misner talks about strategic alliances and the need to gradually enhance relationships. Each member of a BNI group will contribute to your success. No one person in your chapter is likely to turn your business around, but together, over a long time, they can make a difference.

  • Don’t give up if there’s no immediate payoff.
  • Successful networking is a series of small actions.
  • By working with multiple people over a long period of time, you build your business.

Sponsored by Networking Now.

Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 046 –

Priscilla Rice:
Hello everybody and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast brought to you by networkingnow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice and I’m coming from Live Oak Recording Studio which is in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. How are you, Ivan?

Ivan Misner:
I’m doing great, Priscilla, and I am talking to you from BNI headquarters in southern California.

That’s nice. Is it raining there today?

It is but it’s usually beautiful and sunny here.

Well, tell us what you are going to talk about today, Ivan.

I am going to talk about strategic alliances and how a series of small actions over time can really yield big results. I was recently speaking to a friend of mine who’s a partner in an international consulting and training company. In a conversation we discovered we had a mutual acquaintance who’s a best-selling author and fairly well known speaker, this mutual acquaintance of ours.

In our discussion, we found out that he had contacted each of us individually to see if there were any possibilities of some sort of strategic alliance with our companies. We were both open to that possibility, but we really couldn’t see any immediate or dramatic ways that our companies could link up with this guy at that particular moment for any specific projects.

We were both kind of amused in talking to each other. We discovered and figured out that there was no big deal that we could do right then and there, and we were pretty much dropped from his radar. There was no response to e-mails or any other attempts to connect from him after that. They were subtle things. We would send an e-mail and it would take months practically to get any kind of response. We got the sense that he was looking for one big alliance that would help his company just soar to the next level.

That realization started a conversation with him and I, this consultant, that night about the difference in the relationship between the two of us and this third-party who wanted to have a connection with us. Ironically, we had the same type of phone call. This consultant and I had the same kind of phone call 18 months earlier. We came to the same conclusion that there was nothing on a grand scale that we could do together at that moment.

But the difference was the rest of the story. He and I agreed to stay in touch and we did. We connected several times over the year. We met in person on several occasions. During that time, we found some really simple ways that we can help each other. We gradually enhanced the relationship. This is a sharp contrast to the third party that we had talked to individually. When this person didn’t see any big payoff, we became kind of persona nongrata to him.

The other reason is that the two of us found ways to help each other gradually, and even to this day, we continue to build our relationship. We came to the conclusion that most people who are successful at networking and creating strong strategic alliances view the process as a series of small actions taken with many people to create long-term positive growth for your company.

The process is more of a marathon than a sprint. Throughout the race, you form these alliances and you help each other over the long haul. I think this is a great story and a great example about how you build relationships gradually. It’s not a get rich scheme. By working with multiple people over a long period of time, you build your business. Don’t just write somebody off if they can’t add something or contribute something to your business immediately.

I think it’s a series of little tests. In each one, if you succeed in that small test, which would be considered the small action, then you kind of progress to the next level of trust with the other person. You know?

Absolutely. It has to be organic. See, this gentleman and I – you know what, I don’t mind. I will tell you who it is here in this podcast. His name is Greg D. Link. He is the international consultant. He and I were talking. Greg is partners with Stephen M. R. Covey who just wrote the book — actually it was just released in softcover – The Speed of Trust.

It was Greg and I who were talking. He is the person I am referring to in this. It was he and I who really came to the realization that we had kind of achieved what we were thinking of a year and a half or two years earlier. But it took time. By plugging away and enhancing our relationship, we have gotten to the point where we’ve really been able to help each other.

I think the best is yet ahead of us because we have been referring a lot of people to Stephen and his great book, The Speed of Trust. They certainly have been very supportive of BNI. I think they really get it in this kind of relationship. The third-party who I won’t mention just doesn’t get it and is just looking for that one big hit — and I think he still is to this day.

I think that might be all we have time for. It’s a great piece of advice, Ivan. I really like it.

Thanks. Let me just add one quickly as this applies to BNI chapters. If you are a member, look at the members in the group. Each of them will contribute to your success and they layer a little bit of success on top of each other for you. Each one is a little layer of success for you. No one person in chapter is likely to turn your business around, but together over a long period of time, they can make a dramatic difference. That is what I try to talk about here. It’s a series of people helping you over a long period of time that really, really builds an incredibly solid foundation for successful business.

I think that is so true. I know it from my own personal experience in my chapter. Well, I think that’s it for this week, Dr. Misner. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. This podcast has been brought to you by networkingnow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. I look forward to having you join us again next week for another episode of the Official BNI Podcast.


  1. says

    I really enjoy your podcasts. This particular podcast is in my opinion the missing link to successful networking and marketing your business.

    Very few people seem to understand the concept of building relationships and its powerful potential. And yet, it’s such a basic concept.

    Thank you for your stories that make learning so much easier.

  2. says

    Thank you for pointing out the value of nourishing relationships over time. This works particularly well when combined with your “Giver’s Gain” mindset. I have developed great relationships in my BNI chapter that have generated lots of referrals, but I also take that mindset with me to all networking events I participate in. When my goal is to find what I can do for others that I meet, I always go home feeling great, because I am often able to connect people to others that can help them fill a need. Over time, I follow up, share coffee and ideas, and then the magic happens and great referrals materialize. What a great and rewarding way to do business. Thank you for spreading the word!

  3. says

    i find that in bni that relationship works i am in bni now the bridgetown chapter bds for close to five years and i hav make great stride in these relationships so much that people who leav bni still pass good buisness and this gave my company greatassets as my company do likewise givers gain.

  4. says

    We have formed a power team at our chamber BNI Göteborg Sweden to help each other to improve our business on long term. I agree that you should develop your business with small steps and be open minded to influences during the time.

    Thak you / Tack så mycket

  5. says

    Dear Dr. Misner,

    Perhaps yet another manifestation of our “instant gratification” society. Many come and many go, but the few of us that “get it” stick around to nuture those relationships that bear abundant fruit at maturity.

    In someways it almost seems like people are not willing to do the work necessary to grow a relationship. They only have time for love at first sight.

    Another powerful point in successful word of mouth marketing, quality takes more time.

    Thank you, Dr. Misner.

    All the Best,
    Tom Doiron
    Atlanta, GA

  6. says

    BNI-Givers Gain-what a great reward to the giver.As we talk in BNI I feel word of mouth is the most efficient tool to gain the butterflyeffect.
    Keep it up DOC great work.
    Regards BILL NSW AUST

  7. says

    A profound truth. I just left a meeting with a potential teammember of my company. She felt comfortable talking with me even tho she and I are former competitors in business because I have always returned her calls, greeted her as a colleage and called with genuninte interest during our industry’s great change (financial sector). It is how you treat people that makes the difference. Now with her as a possible teammate, our region could get the ultimate ROI from a Return on RELATIONSHIP.

Solutions-focused comments are welcome