Episode 300: Visitors’ Days

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Synopsis

Visitors’ Days are an outstanding way to bring measurable growth to a chapter. They are not the only way, but as a single technique, they can be one of the best. But don’t wing it. Use the BNI Visitors’ Day Handbook. Your local BNI director will be able to provide you with a copy of Secrets of a Successful Visitors Day.

Your Visitors’ Day will only be a spectacular success if you follow the week-by-week instructions in the handbook exactly. It contains guidelines for selecting a location, a sample press release, sample invitation letters, and instructions on developing a prospect list, among other things.

Follow up on your Visitors’ Day with a really great BNI meeting.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Podcast intro recorded by Tony Wolfe.

Congratulations to Dr. Misner on 300 episodes and Happy Birthday to Priscilla!

Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 298 -

Priscilla:
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? And congratulations because this is our 300th podcast.

Ivan:
Our 300th podcast. That really is amazing to me. We have really great content on this site for memTbers all around the world. That’s good because I am, this week, in Poland. This is my first visit to Poland with BNI. We have some good chapters here. I am really excited to be in the Polish chapters for the very first time.

Priscilla:
That’s great. Okay. Tell us about visitor days. What are you going to share with us?

Ivan:
While I am in Europe, let me share a question that was posed to me by a BNI Director and a member from Europe. They sent me an email saying that some time ago, I sent out an email saying that Visitors’ Days are the only activity that brings measurable results related to chapter growth. They asked me to talk about that in the podcast.

I wanted to clarify that Visitors’ Days are not the only activity that can bring measurable results relating to the growth of the chapter. If someone thought that I said that, that’s not exactly what I said. Visitors’ Days are an outstanding way to bring measurable results of the growth of the chapter. They are not necessarily the only way. For example, the truth is you shouldn’t have a Visitors’ Day just to invite visitors. It’s a journey, not a destination.

It’s something that you are doing constantly, as you run across somebody who may make a good candidate. Stack days are a great way, where you get multiple people from the same profession. That’s another great way to get measurable results.

But if you are looking for one thing to get substantive growth in a chapter, a Visitors’ Day is an outstanding technique to use. Here’s the thing: don’t wing it. And don’t assume you know what a Visitors’ Day consists of unless you get the Visitors’ Day handbook.

Yes, we have a Visitors’ Day handbook. One of the advantages of you members being part of a gobal organization is we have really tried to write everything down. So we actually have a manual on how to do a successful Visitors’ Day, and you can get this manual from your local BNI Director. Ask them for an actual copy of the manual. It has different titles in different countries. The English speaking version is Secrets for a Successful Visitors’ Day Meeting Handbook.

We are not going to attach it here because there is a lot of proprietary stuff in it, so I am not going to attach the whole thing to this podcast. But I will touch upon some of the key aspects of it. You can ask your local Director for this material so that you don’t have to wing it.

So some of the kinds of things that are in here so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel is literally a week by week outline of how to put together Visitors’ Day. It literally has week number one, do this. This includes things like take the sample invitation letter, which is part of the manual, use that and develop a personal prospect list, which is part of the manual. Take a look at a contact sphere worksheet, which you guessed it, Priscilla, is part of the manual.

So it is all there. Then week number two, do this. Week number three, do this.

I mention this because I have had many members say to me over the years that they have been there and done that. They have done Visitors’ Days and they are a waste of time. When I dig deep, I find that they did Visitors’ Day, but they basically winged it. They just said, “Let’s do Visitors’ Day. I know it’s supposed to have this and we’re supposed to do that, but we don’t need all that. Let’s just kind of set a date and invite people.” Well, it’s like if you only follow part of the program, you are only going to get part of the results.

My advice is if you really want to do it right, don’t reinvent the wheel. Take the system and apply it. Don’t start pulling things out. I had somebody once say to me that it’s like having a facory assembly line where they are manufacturing a car, and you start picking and choosing the things that you don’t want to include in the manufacture. Do we really want those cushions? And that wheel? IS that wheel necessary? You would have a car come off the assembly line and it has no tires.

You can’t start picking and choosing things to pull out and expect to get great results. So my advice is Visitors’ Day work and they work really well if you, in fact, do the full Visitors’ Day program. How do we know that? Because in almost 30 years, we have perfected a system that works globally.

So sit down with your local BNI Director and get the visitors packet. It has things like guidelines for your location, which we use for kickoffs as well as Visitors’ Day. A goal setting for Visitors’ Day best practices, so there is actually a graph on the kinds of things that you can do to develop the best practices for a great Visitors’ Day. Step by step. You can’t screw it up, including the sample invitation letters, the prospect list, etc, etc.

The short answer to the question posed to me by the BNI member and the Director is Visitors’ Day is not the only thing that brings measurable results, but it’s probably one of the best if it is done right. If it is not done right, it is a total and complete waste of time.

Priscilla:
I have a comment. Our chapter is about to do a Visitors’ Day, but we are about to do it in combination with another local chapter in our city and maybe even two chapters. I think why that might be a really great idea is that if we happen to get somebody who is in a profession that we already have represented in our group, they can join the other chapter and vice versa. You can spread the wealth and make it possible to enlarge more than one chapter at a time.

Ivan:
Yeah, joint Visitors’ Days are a good idea as long as you have chapters that really get along well. You don’t want to have one chapter to hijack another one in terms of visitors. So you want to work out the details of people and visitors who are coming. Generally speaking, chapters are very cooperative with each other, so I highly recommend the concept of joint Visitors’ Days. They can work extremely well.

Priscilla:
And then you can share the cost of the room, refreshments and all that stuff.

Ivan:
That’s right. Remember one last thing before we wrap up and that is remember that you can put on the absolute best Visitors’ Day in the history of the world. If you run a meeting that sucks- that’s the technical term. If you run a horrible meeting, nobody is going to join. So it’s all about the person’s experience. You want visitors to have a great experience.

That means that you want to run a great meeting. Having a great Visitors’ Day and a really marginal meeting defeats the purpose. You want to do the work. Follow the system that I have been talking about. Where do you get it? From your local director. Follow the system and then you want to run a really good meeting. If you do both back to back, you will have a great Visitors’ Day. You will have a lot of people who will come to that meeting and go, “Wow. I need to get a piece of this. I need to have part of what I am seeing here because this is really amazing.”

That’s my material for today, Priscilla. Thank you very much.

Priscilla:
Alright. That’s great, Ivan. Thank you so much. Well I would just like to remind the listeners that 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.

Comments

  1. says

    Great Podcast! I am a new member as of January 2013. We just had a Visitor’s Day Extravaganza and gained 7 new members and still getting more apps coming in! It was great! Thank you for allowing me to be part of a great organization!
    Sincerely,

    Karen Goins

Solutions-focused comments are welcome