Episode 338: Pass a Referral Online (Get Connected–Stay Connected Part 4)

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Synopsis

Welcome back! This week John Meyer, U.S. National Director for BNI, joins Dr. Ivan Misner for the next episode in the “Get Connected–Stay Connected” series. Today we’re talking about entering referrals online.

BNI is not doing away with paper referral slips, but now you have an additional way to pass referrals through BNI Connect–with instant gratification. The person to whom you’re giving the referral receives an email with the details immediately after you fill out the form online. You can also track the referrals automatically.

Another advantage is that this system allows you to pass referrals outside of your chapter and thank members from other chapters for close of business, which was almost impossible before because you didn’t attend those meetings.

You still need to report these referrals at your meeting. You can print weekly slips out from BNI Connect and hand them in, or write the slips out on the paper forms but make a note that the referral is already recorded in BNI Connect.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 338 -

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?

Ivan:
I am up in your neck of the woods this week. I am up for the Referral Institute and a BNI event. Hopefully, you can come on out for the public event.

Priscilla:
I know. Or maybe I can drag you over here to the studio.

Ivan:
Anything is possible with my schedule. Today we are going to talk to John Meyer again. I think he now holds the record for being the individual who is guested on my show the most. John is the US National Director for BNI and he resides in Ohio. He has been the US National Director for a number of years and he has put together this Get Connected, Stay Connected campaign.

He is going to talk related to the Get Connected, Stay Connected campaign because I believe this will really make a difference to members success in BNI. This month is all about passing a referral online. Last month, we started some proactive topics. The first month was about developing profiles and education. It was really about positioning for success, one to ones and the GAINS exchange.

This month, we are talking about finding a referral for a chapter member and entering it into BNI Connect. Passing a referral online. John, welcome to the BNI Podcast and tell me about entering referrals online.

John:
Thank you. It is good to be back. Hello again, Priscilla. It is good to talk to you as well.

Priscilla:
Hello John.

John:
This is a fun part. It really is and I am not the most technologically savvy person in the world, but writing slips out which I have done for the last 20 years in my career in BNI- now we can enter those from an automated perspective. The first thing I want to do is be very clear that BNI is not doing away with paper slips. We will a lways have paper slips. This is just an automated version of that. To be really clear for people to understand that we are keeping the paper slips. This is just an additional way for people to pass referrals. It’s exciting.

Especially with the age of technology, this becomes a spontaneous gratification, if you will. The person on the other end receives an email as soon as you hit send. You don’t have to wait until the weekly meeting to pass the referral slip. That is still the reporting process. You still report it at the chapter meeting, but now you can leave your chapter at 8:30 in the morning and by 9:00, you can be passing referrals to people in your chapter and then report for next week. So this is really exciting stuff.

Ivan:
I think this is one of the things that makes BNI Connect a game changer- being able to automate the whole referral process. I believe that really soon here, we are going to be making an announcement about how much business was generated in 2013 and I can do that for the first time really, really crystal clear on what that number is because of this, BNI Connect.

We could have that hard data. That is one of the reasons it is important. And you mentioned that we are not discontinuing the paper slips.

John:
Right and it was confusing for a lot of people when we first started, but I think now people are starting to see the benefit of passing referrals online. They are able now to track their referrals from an automatic standpoint. We have always had a referral tracking system, an excel spreadsheet or a paper document that you hand write who passed you the referral, what kind of follow up you have been doing, whether it is closed and the kind of business you got from it. Now it is all done online or can be I should say. As long as it is passed online and you receive one online, it is all in the system and you start to now build your historical tracking system.

I will share a quick story with you. There was an attorney who has been a member almost 20 years and he still has a stack of paper referral slips that he has received since his first meeting in BNI 20 years ago. He was ecstatic to know that he now has ability to have his members pass them to him online, automatic. He was just ecstatic. It was pretty neat to see his expression.

Ivan:
To have all that data and to be able to look back at referrals is very important.

John:
Exactly.

Priscilla:
Can I interject something here?

Ivan:
Sure.

Priscilla:
There is something that you haven’t mentioned yet which I think is a huge advantage, which is being able to do business with people from other chapters, to be able to give the a referral and to be able to thank them for closed business- because previously, it was almost impossible to especially credit them for closed business because you are not in their chapter, but now you can do it all online.

Ivan:
You can. It is important to note that this feature is turned off or on region by region but our plan is in the long term to make it available to all countries, so you can not just pass a referral from one chapter to another but from one country to another. It is a change in culture so it is taking a little bit of time to implement it globally. I couldn’t agree with you more, Priscilla.

This, too, is a game changer for the organization because it allows us to do business with people all around the world- legitimate business referrals to people all around the world with the same philosophy.

Priscilla:
Right. I think it is great.

John:
I couldn’t agree more. This truyly allows us to walk the talk about local business global network and now it becomes the opportunity where you can pass referrals to BNI members and it truly is like Ivan said, a game changer. It is a phenomenal thing.

Ivan:
It is funny because some members have said, “Well, I don’t do business globally.” No, but people will refer business to you locally from all over the world. One story after another in the I’m Connected section of SuccessNet- if you go to the I’m Connected section of BNI SuccessNet, you will see one story after another of local businesses that get a referral globally.

We are almost out of time. Do you want to talk about chapter reporting options?

John:
Because we still have the paper slips, people still need to report their slips so they can do it one of two ways. If they pass the referral online, there is an option in My Business portion of BNI Connect where you can actually print out your weekly slips and you can cut them up. They are the exact same size as a paper referral slip that you will hand into the chapter for reporting purposes and that you are able become eligible for the door prize.

Or if you don’t print them out, I have also heard members who still write out a regular referral slip but across the front of it, say “Entered on BNI Connect” or “BNI Connect” or put a big X through it, just so the VP knows it has already been entered. They don’t have to enter it as a duplicate. However, they still get the opportunity to get recognized for passing a referral and they are eligible to win the door prize. So it is important to still report the piece of paper at the chapter meeting for recognition and to possibly win a nice door prize.

Ivan:
Everybody likes to win a nice door prize.

John:
That they do.

Ivan:
So today’s topic was about really continuing to be proactive, passing referrals online- really important in the organization. It gives us ongoing data. It doesn’t replace the paper slips. Again, it is a game changer that allows referrals to be passed between chapters, as Priscilla notably pointed out. Anything you want to add, John?

John:
The only thing I will add is try it. People are afraid of change. They think this is a major change. It is really not. It is going to be a system that is going to help them be more organized, be more proactive and I think once they pass the first referral online, they will do a lot more.

Ivan:
Excellent. John, thank you for being on today, we will talk next month again about the next topic in the Get Connected, Stay Connected campaign. Priscilla, it is back to you.

Priscilla:
Okay. Great. Thank you both very much. 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

    Cheryl,

    Jeremy Walsh here – I am the director of support for BNI Connect.

    At this time, the profile does not allow the direct embedding of video clips. The reason for this is that the html coding that allows this embedding also has the potential to allow malicious scripts that could endanger the site itself. We are investigating safe ways to make this a possibility and look forward to a future release where this may become available.

    In the meantime, I suggest perhaps hosting a short video on YouTube, Vimeo or another video hosting site and then placing a link to your video in your profile.

    Hope this helps – if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at support@bniconnect.com.

  2. says

    I used BNI connect extensively since it was first introduced. It has been my experience that you can only past referrals, thank for closed business, and record 121s with in your own region. As someone who does a lot of business with another BNI region, I would be interested in finding out when this integration will take place. Thank you for the podcast. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  3. says

    Hello Cindy and thank you for your inquiry. Currently, you can only pass referrals w/in your own region online. It is likely we will be expanding that in the future to include the entire country and eventually throughout BNI global, but there is no timeline for that at this point.

    That being said, I still encourage you to pass referrals to BNI members outside your region. Through BNI Connect, you can find the profession or actual individual.

Solutions-focused comments are welcome