Episode 317: I Want to Refer You, But…

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BNI Connect has the ability to give all BNI members the access to other BNI members who want to do business exclusively with other BNI members wherever they are. But this will only work if members complete their BNI Connect profiles.

On a recent search when traveling to a city, only four out of ten listed members in a given profession had sufficiently complete profiles to allow Dr. Misner to make a referral. It seems that many members may not have cross-chapter referrals on their radar yet.

If you are a BNI member and your chapter is on BNI Connect, go immediately to complete your profile when you finish listening to this podcast. Even if you don’t do business globally, you may get business from other BNI members who are traveling to your area.

And while you’re logged in, join Dr. Misner’s “From the Founder” group for a chance to connect with him directly and learn more about what’s going on in the organization.

Once you’ve done all that, come back here and tell us about it in a comment.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 317 –

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 today?

I am doing great, Priscilla. Thank you very much. Today we are doing a topic of “I want to refer you, but…” and it’s all about filling out your BNIConnect member profile for more referrals.

You know, when I first envisioned creating a worldwide online interactive program, which is what BNIConnect is, one that would allow BNI members to transcend the confines of their local chapter, I was really excited about the possibility. For years, I have wanted to use exclusively BNI members’ services when I am traveling or on vacation, when I doing business around the world or when I’m visiting family. Or when I know somebody who needs a particular service in some other part of the country or the worlds.

I know that there are a lot of members who would like to do the same. I know there are. I run into them all the time. BNIConnect has the ability to give all BNI members access to other BNI members who are also interested in doing business with people who have the same philosophy. There have been several times when I have used BNIConnect for personal service, as well as to refer BNI members around the world.

It has been exciting to log in and look up professionals where I need referrals and find who is in BNI in that area. About a year ago, I had a referral and I looked into BNIConnect to find a member to whom I could give the referral to. My excitement kind of turned into frustration as I could not find any BNI members in that area who had completed their profile in that business.

Wow. What area was it?

Was it the Bay area? In your neck of the woods. But frankly, I have seen it in other regions as well, most regions. There is a fair number of people who still hasn’t done their profile. I thought how can this be the case? Don’t our members know that they are now accessible throughout the whole organization through BNIConnect?

At this point, at the time of this podcast, there are still two or three countries that aren’t on it but that won’t be a whole lot longer. We are bringing everybody on board. It dawned on me that people may not even have cross-chapter referrals on their radar. It is so easy, and you and I have talked about this, to think of BNI in terms of your local chapter, not the global aspect of it.

Because our networking efforts have been locally focused for most of BNI’s history, making a shift this large can take time. I get that. Fast forward to a few weeks ago to refer a business professional in a major metropolitan city, while I found 10 members in the professional category that I was searching, the first five had very little profile information listed. Finally, the 6th member listed the type of work he did, the MSP program – the Member Success program- completion badge, multiple points of contact, office phone, cell phone, email address, and he had his website. Bingo. It was exactly what I was looking for. I continued paging through the remaining four members and found that a couple more had some. So we have progress, but out of 10 business professionals, only about four had enough information in their profiles that they could actually be contacted and legitimately referred to someone else- enough information to be legitimately referred.

So we have gone from virtually none to three or four out of ten. My goal is to get 9 out of 10 members having a complete profile because I think that we have an opportunity, a great opportunity, as an organization to transcend that local business and to truly build a global network. We have been international for many years, but for the first time, we can do business internationally.

Years ago, Alice Ostrower who is the Executive Director in Connecticut, did a BNI Directors Conference session, entitled, “Standing in the Middle of a Referral”. We are all standing in the middle of a referral. They are all around us. They are everywhere. The beautiful thing is with BNIConnect, you don’t even have to stand up to be in the middle of a referral.

You are literally lounging in the middle of a referral because you know people who are possibly looking for business or maybe you are going somewhere. We have members who have moved and want to connect with other BNI members around the world. BNIConnect’s mantra of “local business, global network is really an integral part of the global network aspect of BNI.

Putting the global network of BNI to work for you as a member can increase your potential earnings from referrals. There are many, many stories on SuccessNet about this and I have shared some of them in my podcasts in the past, just incredible stories about people who have gotten business in one country or another. When I was in the Middle East a month or two ago, I heard a story about someone who had gotten business from Kenya in doing business with someone in the UAE. That is the kind of thing that I am talking about.

So if you are a BNI member and your country is on BNIConnect, when you are done listening to this podcast, go immediately to BNIConnect and complete your profile. I can’t guarantee you will get referrals, but I can guarantee that you will not get referrals from other chapters if you don’t complete your profile.

Some people say they don’t do business internationally. I saw a dentist get a referral from an international member. Why? They were on vacation somewhere and had a cap fall off and wanted to use a BNI member instead of just somebody out of the phonebook. And they used BNIConnect to find a dentist and went to that dentist. So you don’t have to do business globally. People come to different areas.

Also, BNIConnect is a great way to share ideas, information and best practices, which is a great tool as well but not referral related.

Okay, I have a suggestion on how to get people to use BNIConnect. Create a competition in a region- region by region. So you have Assistant Directors or Directors who have a large region, maybe 40 chapters or whatever. Create a contest where an entire region where everybody who is on BNIConnect would win some kind of a prize.

Great suggestion and unbeknownst to you, we do have something in the works. I don’t have all the details so I can’t share it now, but we do have something in the works on that very vein to get people to complete their profile.

Yeah, because everybody loves a competition.

Everybody loves a competition. No doubt about it.

Okay, good.

So that is all I have for today. You know what? Let me add one other thing. If you get on to BNIConnect after you listen to this podcast, I invite you to join my group. There are groups on BNIConnect. There is a group called “From the Founder” and I invite you to join that group. It gives you the opportunity to see the kinds of things that are going on in the organization. I post every week something that is going on in the organization and it is also an opportunity to connect with me directly, and you are able to post messages. I read all the messages that go into the “From the Founder” group, just like I do here.

So I invite you to go participate in my group and start your own group. There are almost 2000 groups now on BNIConnect, and I invite you to join my group and start one.

That’s great. I love that. Okay. Well, maybe someone will do that and comment and you can talk about it next time.

Granted then, if you do join, mention that you joined because you heard this podcast. Thanks, Priscilla.

Okay, thank you, Dr. Misner. I would 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.


  1. says

    Just heard the podcast and promptly updated my profile.
    I have redefined my goal – I want participants for my training sessions from across the globe. It seems achievable as I have a global BNI Platform, I just need to work a little more on my strategy.

  2. says

    Even if you don’t do business internationally, people from all over the world know people who live and/or are moving to your area who need your products and services!

  3. says

    Deanna, you are absolutely correct. One of my favorite stories about Connect is the woman living in the UK who called her daughter living in Malta. She asked her daughter if that networking organization she belonged to (BNI) had any landscape people in London. Her daughter checked on BNI Connect and found one. The member did such a good job, the woman contacted her daughter to find a BNI member who was a handyman.

    Even members who do business locally can benefit by having their profile complete.


  4. N. E. Tucker says

    Bring on that competition! To reward chapters where all members have completed BNIConnect profiles.
    Maybe another competition to recognize chapters which have the highest percentage of members who have completed all (or most) podcasts ….. Let’s get more people taking advantage of this wonderful series!

  5. says

    Dr. Misner,
    I did a comparison chart of the PALMS report for “212” BNI Gainesville for July 2013 . Here are the results:

    JULY 2013


    31.5% RGI 7.3%
    32.3% RGO 9%
    38% RRI 11.5%
    24.8% RRO 12%
    33.9% 1-2-1 10.2%
    69.9% TYFCB 00.24%
    28.6% CEU 11.3%


  6. says

    As a new member just a few months first thing I did was complete my BNI Connect account as that is a great tool in today’s technology driven marketplace. It is like our BNI Facebook people love Social Media and that is why we do our one to ones to get to know each other socially. Love BNI Connect and hope we will get more and more features that will just help us to erase all boundaries and state lines and truly be the global community Local Business Global Community. Great pod cast btw

Solutions-focused comments are welcome