Dr. Misner encounters five basic personality types in BNI.
- The Hermit: No network, no positive message, not good with prospects or sales. Technology- and systems- rather than people-oriented. They can learn to succeed in BNI.
- The Hunter: Looking to close sales rather than build relationships. Steer away from them in BNI.
- The Apprentice: They don’t know how to network, but they’re on their way to success. BNI can be very helpful to them.
- The Schmoozer: They think networking is about passing business cards. They’re only about visibility. They can be trained.
- The Master: Has a positive message and delivers it effectively, and is just as good at listening as speaking. Master networkers know how to connect people. It’s an acquired skill and BNI aims to help you acquire it.
If you’re not a master networker, you need to be an apprentice. Set out to learn.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 267 -
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 am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Hi Priscilla. I am doing great and this week, I am at a Referral Institute retreat with my partners at Executive Circle franchisees and working on new contacts for BNI for networking and certainly what we do- and Referral Institute is helping BNI in many ways.
What do you have today that you are planning to share with us?
Today I wanted to talk about the five networking personalities. There are five kinds of personalities that I often see and would like to talk about those. If you are listening to this podcast and can think of other types of personalities, I would love for you to add to my list. Here are the five and then I will talk about each of them individually.
First, is the hermit networker. Second is the hunter. Third is an apprentice. Fourth is a schmoozer, and fifth is a master networker.
Let’s start with the hermit personality as a networker. A hermit is basically no network, no positive message. They are not good with prospects or sales. They tend to be personality types that are not very people oriented. They tend to be very technique- technology systems oriented. They are oftentimes not entrepreneurs but you will find some business people who are sort of this hermit personality, particularly certain professions that work with things more than people. I don’t want to generalize too much, but accountants are more likely to be very goal oriented as opposed to people oriented as opposed to a car salesman who is all about people.
There are different types and just because you are from a particular profession, doesn’t mean you are one, but they are people who just don’t like to network. They have no interest in networking, or they are just extremely uncomfortable by it. We see those in BNI. Those are the people who are afraid to stand up and talk, but as they do it more and more, they become more comfortable. They break out of their shell.
We had a person like that in our group. He was an electrician. He was very, very shy.
Has be broken out of his shell?
Not entirely, but if you talk to him one on one, he is very, very talkative.
Oftentimes, the more somebody is in, the more they break out of it. Why is that? The more somebody is in, the more comfortable they feel with the people they have developed a relationship with. They break out of that.
Next is a hunter. We talk a lot about those in BNI. These are people who are looking to close sales. They are not about building relationships. We really want to steer away from hunters. They are looking to bag the big one. They eat what they kill each week. You’ve heard that expression. When you are doing direct selling, you basically eat what you kill. Whereas, if you are doing business through referrals, it really is a situation where networking is more like farming than hunting because you cultivate relationships and it’s like harvesting a crop, as opposed to hunting. You can literally get business while you are on vacation through referrals. It is completely different. You really want to steer away from those in BNI. Hermits, they can break out of their shell. It’s okay. You really want to steer away from [hunters].
Next is an apprentice. An apprentice is someone who is building their network. They are learning how to deliver a message. They are on their way to success. We were all apprentices at one time. I certainly was. We have all been or are apprentices. They are learning how to do this because they don’t teach it at colleges and universities. They are learning.
The next one is a schmoozer. Actually, there are a lot of people who fall into this category, particularly before they are in BNI for any length of time. They think that networking is just about passing business cards. They can be confused with a hunter, but they really are not the same. I have told a story here on a podcast before about a presentation I did in London, where I told everyone, “Raise your hand if you are hoping to possibly sell something.” Just about everybody in the audience. There were hundreds of people. Then I said, “Raise your hand if you are here hoping to buy something.” Nobody raised their hand. Not one person.
That’s what I call the networking disconnect. People show up at networking events hoping to sell, but nobody is there to buy. The schmoozer mentality is what the media always thinks of when they think of networking. When I talk to the media about BNI, I often get, “Networking is about schmoozing and I hate that.” That’s what a reporter will say to me.
I’ll say, “Yeah, it is about that if you want to be bad at it. That’s exactly what it’s about.” It’s not a good skill. A schmoozer is just somebody who is glad handing and they are basically not even at visibility. They’re at visibility and trying to make sales. They just don’t understand that it’s about relationships. They are more trainable than the hunters.
The last is the master networker, somebody who has built a powerful, diverse network of contacts. They have a positive message. They deliver it effectively. It is absolutely an acquired skill. I have never met a master networker who didn’t really develop that skill. I have met people who say that they are a natural networker, but oftentimes, these people who are natural at it have some glaring weaknesses. One person that comes to mind in particular- he could talk to anybody, anytime, anywhere and strike up a conversation, boom, boom, boom. The problem was he could never shut up. I actually did not think he was a very good networker even though most people thought he was an outstanding networker. He was really good as long as he was talking, but he wasn’t so good if you had to actually listen. So networking, again, is about having two ears and one mouth and using them both proportionately.
A master networker is someone who has really developed the skills. I have never met someone who hasn’t has to do this. Now, for some people, it came a little more naturally, but it really takes some skills.
I would think a master networker would be somebody who is an exceptional connector. So somebody who can really put people together.
I think you’re right. I think you’re right. Somebody who is a master networker definitely knows how to connect people. That’s part of what being a master networker is all about. I think when I was first developing BNI almost 30 years ago, one of the first things that I tried to do so I could build a reputation as a good networker was try to connect people. That was my focus. I wanted to connect person A with person B. That is what I really tried to do. That is how I built BNI, how I built my business. I started BNI as a management consultant and that’s how I built my consulting business. I think you’re right- a connector is probably one of the most important characteristics of a personality.
The people who are doing too much talking, I think those are the schmoozers.
They are the schmoozers or they are the hunters. The hunters, they are schmoozing but doing it very aggressively, whereas the schmoozers are a little bit smoother.
Say that ten times quickly, okay?
Say that ten times quickly.
Yeah. They’re smoother with their schmoozing. They are not so in your face, whereas the hunters are really just going for the kill. They just want to make the business. You’ve met them. If they don’t think you are a good candidate, they’ll shake your hand and talk to you for a few minutes and then move on. Or they are looking over your shoulder to see who else they can meet who is more important than you. Those tend to be the hunters. The schmoozers tend to be more social.
An apprentice can be in any of those areas. Technically, an apprentice can kind of come across as a schmoozer because they really don’t know any better, but the difference is that apprentices don’t know what they don’t know. So they are trying to learn. They are going about it trying to learn. They will pop out of that schmoozer mentality and hunter mentality pretty quickly. Of the four, I think an apprentice becomes a master networker quicker than the other three.
The hermit is probably next in line if the hermit wants to change- I would say if the hermit realizes that they need to change. Then they are probably next.
Schmoozer is the next and then the hunter is the toughest to make the flip. So what do you think of that list?
I like that list. It makes me also think of different personality types that you might meet for clients and how that might apply.
Any that you would add to that list?
No, I think you covered it.
You mentioned connector. I think a connector is certainly somebody who is a master networker. I think if you are a really good connector, that qualifies you as being a master networker because somebody who connects people is generally very good. On the other hand, I have seen people who were good at connecting, but they weren’t good at asking for referrals. So it’s a piece of being a master networker. It’s not all there is.
Right because you also have to come around to yourself in a graceful way.
Yeah. So that’s my list. If you are listening to this podcast, I would love for you to throw in any other personality types that you can think of. Again, this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list but a good overview of the kinds of networkers that are out there. If you are not a master networker, you need to be an apprentice. You need to learn. The people who immerse and engage in a culture of learning are the ones who are going to be most successful in this area.
I think it’s an appropriate week for me because that’s what the Referral Institute is all about- really going deep and training. People ask what the different between the Referral Institute and BNI is. I think a good explanation is that the Referral Institute helps determine and work on the gameplan and BNI is the playing field for the program. It’s where you actually go out and do the things that Referral Institute talks about.
Well, that’s everything for today, Priscilla. Thank you.
Okay. Great, Ivan. Thank you so much. I would just like to remind the listeners that this. This podcast has been brought to you by networkingnow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.