This is a rebroadcast of Episode 112, originally published on July 8th, 2009, while Dr. Misner was in Tokyo.
Today’s networking lesson comes from dry farming techniques practiced in Napa Valley vineyards. The roots have to grow very deep to reach underground water no matter the climate, just as referral marketers have to develop “deep-water relationships” in order to generate referrals no matter the economic climate.
Another story that illustrates the power of referrals is that of giant redwood trees. You might expect redwood trees to have a deep root system, but they don’t. The technique they use to remain upright is intertwining their roots with those of their neighbors. Likewise, the members of a BNI chapter can support one another in difficult economic times.
This episode is based on a BNI SuccessNet article by Dr Misner.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 112 -
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables.
I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkley, California, and I am joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner.
Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
I’m doing great, Priscilla. This week I’m in Tokyo, Japan, for BNI. I’m visiting our BNI chapters here in Tokyo for the very first time, and I’m really excited because I’m here with my daughter, Cassie. And Cassie, about seven or eight years ago, came to the dinner table at our home and started speaking a couple of Japanese words here and there. And my wife and I were so impressed that we got her on Rosetta Stone on the Internet, and she came down every night and started speaking more and more Japanese. And finally we said, “We’ve got to hire a tutor for this kid.” And I promised her at least eight years ago, she was probably about ten years old, that if she learned Japanese well enough to have a basic conversation that when we open in Japan – at that time we were not in Japan, but I knew we would be eventually. I told here that when we open in Japan and I went there on my first business visit that if she learned Japanese well enough, I would take her with me to Japan.
I’m really pleased to say that she has done a wonderful job and now speaks Japanese well to hold a basic conversation with somebody, and I’m so pleased and honored to have her with me, accompanying me here in Japan to meet BNI members for the first time.
She can be your translator.
She is, absolutely, and she’s doing a great job. I’m very impressed, and I’m sure in a future podcast, I’ll talk about my visit here to Tokyo this week.
Okay, great. Well, what are you going to share with us?
Well, this week I want to talk about Networking Lessons from Nature. My wife and I recently visited one of our favorite Napa Valley wineries a couple of months ago, Chateau Montelena, which, by the way, a recent movie came out last year called Bottle Shock, was all about Chateau Montelena. Any my wife and I decided to take a tour of the agricultural side of the operation, and the vintner shared with us the technique the winery uses to ensure the quality of the juice from the grapes. Year after year after year, regardless of the climate, it’s a technique known as “dry farming.” He explained the benefits of dry farming, and I saw a business metaphor emerging for how referral marketing works for those businesses that understand business by referral.
When vineyards are dry farmed, they’re not irrigated. Dry season or rainy season, they’re not irrigated. As a result, the roots of the vine must really grow deep to get to the year-round underground supply of water, no matter the climate. This reminds me of how we teach business owners to develop deep-water relationships between themselves so that they can support growth no matter the climate, no matter the economic climate.
Now, doing business by referral truly is not a get rich quick scheme. We want to be able to produce a bumper crop of referrals year after year regardless of the economy.
That’s the gift of dry farming, the stability of the juice’s quality in vineyards. Just like the dependability of Chateau Montelena’s wine, we feel that deep-water relationships ensure a dependability in our own business stability unavailable to the average business owner.
There is another metaphor from nature that helps to illustrate the strength of doing business by referral, and that’s the story of the giant redwood trees in Northern California.
The giant redwoods average a height of 85 m (or 250 ft). You’d think that with such an amazing height, they would have a deep root system, but they don’t actually. They have a fairly shallow root system, much like our California eucalyptus trees. The California eucalyptus trees tend to blow over easily in heavy winds, and I’ve talked about that in previous podcasts. But the giant redwoods don’t.
You see, the giant redwoods also use another amazing technique to remain upright when it’s very windy. They actually intertwine their roots with the roots of their neighboring trees, thereby supporting one another when the winds come. So that when one is under the direct pressure of the wind, the others help to hold it in place, not just allowing it to succumb to destructive forces of that wind.
You see, relationship marketing puts you in the similar position of those giant redwoods. When you learn the intricacies of doing business by referral, you begin to metaphorically intertwine your roots with the roots of those with whom you are networking. When the economy pressures one member, the others help to hold them in place!
That’s why networking and relationship marketing are so important, especially in a tough economy. These two metaphors, I think, really sit well that you can have your roots to deep through this dry farming concept, and my going deep, you are more stable. But at the same time, if you can interconnect with other business people, you can help one another.
And so I love these networking lessons from nature. My wife, Elizabeth, helped me kind of create these concepts that we’ve used in some articles and now in this podcast, and I want to thank her for her help with it.
I think that’s such a beautiful vision of the redwood trees and how that all works, because they are just absolutely enormous. I know, because I live in Northern California, and there are redwood trees all over Berkeley. So it’s really fun.
Incredible, aren’t they?
They are amazing.
Well, that’s great. Do you have anything else you’d like to share before you end this podcast?
Well, yes. I need to apologize for BNI members in Australia and New Zealand and some other parts of the world, because the original title for this – I wrote it as an article for SuccessNet a while ago, and the original title involved, let’s just say, roots and root systems in BNI. I don’t want to use the phrase, but that was the original title, and I started getting e-mail – you’re going to love this, Priscilla – the original version of this article that I wrote about Networking Lessons from Nature, which was about root systems, the original title basically meant How to Have Sex in BNI.
It was sort of a slang down in Australia and New Zealand that meant that, and so I started getting e-mails from BNI members saying, “You might want to change the title of that article, Roots and BNI, because it means something completely different.”
That is funny.
It absolutely reminds me about doing a business internationally, all kinds of phrases that work in one country don’t necessarily work in another. So Networking Lessons from Nature works everywhere, probably won’t get me in trouble.
I will tell you as just a last comment. Our national director from New Zealand, he sent me an e-mail saying he just figured that the new title had something to do with our membership drive in the U.S. to help build up membership. I just wanted to assure everyone that that was not the case.
That would be a future podcast.
No, I don’t think so!
Okay, great. Well, thank you, Ivan.
I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you’ll join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.