Today Dr. Misner is answering two questions about time spent networking–from completely different perspectives.
Tina in Canada writes “I was planning on hiring extra people next year, and I was wondering how much time I should spend on networking.”
Dr. Misner’s book Business Networking and Sex–Not What You Think surveyed 12,000 people and found that the average amount of time spent networking by both men and women is about six and a half hours. Your goal is not to be average. The people who are really successful spend more time than that. Dr. Misner thinks an optimum amount of time is 8 hours a week. This is especially true if you are going to hire employees.
To make this work, it’s important to diversify your network. Look into the local chamber of commerce, professional associations, and doing more one-to-ones. Remember that the grass is greener where you water it.
Anita in Germany writes “We have lost members because they became so successful that they don’t have time to network.”
When members leave BNI and say it’s because they’re too busy, that’s often an excuse. There’s some other reason that they’re leaving.
Don’t take “I’m too busy” at face value. Conduct an exit interview. (See more about exit interviews in Episode 230.) Ask the same question in different ways in order to get to the real answers.
More times than you might imagine, the member is not happy with something going on in the chapter but doesn’t want to make a big deal of it. If you address the problem, the member is much more likely to stay.
What a successful businessperson does when s/he is too busy is hire more people. People who are committed to growing their businesses make time for networking.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of Episode 443 –
This is part of our Ask Ivan series. If you have a question for Ivan, email him at this address: [email protected]
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, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Hey. This is my first visit this week to our new BNI headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am really excited to be here in our new office. We had kept a regional office in Los Angeles. We are opening offices in Europe. We plan on opening offices in- we have one in Ireland now. We are going to open some other offices around the world, and our new headquarters is now in Charlotte, North Carolina. That is where I am this week.
Oh, that is great. Well, you have an interesting podcast for us today.
Yeah. Two questions that you are going to read, and I will try to answer. They are interesting because they are both about time networking but from completely different perspectives. So let’s tackle these. I think they should be interesting.
Okay. Well, the first question comes from Tina who is in Canada. She asks, “I was planning on hiring extra people next year, and I was wondering how much time I should spend on networking.”
Tina, that is a great question. I have actually done some research on this. I have some hard data. You can find it in a book that I co-wrote called Business Networking and Sex- Not What You Think. We talked about this on the show before, but it is about the difference between men and women and how they network.
One of the questions that we asked was, “How much time do you spend networking?” We found that men and women did spend a little bit different amounts of time, but the key is that the average amount of time spent by both men and women on a weekly basis was about 6.5 hours. Average amount of time. 6.5 hours.
When I am talking to an audience, they will often say wow. It is more or less. Whatever. I will ask them this question: Raise your hand if your goal in business is to be average. Of course nobody raises their hand. So the people who are really successful are spending more time than 6.5 hours, but the average is 6.5 hours.
The average person gets about 49% of their business through referrals from the survey. This was based on a survey of 12,000 people all around the world, not just BNI members. It was open to the public.
So if you are going to spend more time, we think the optimal amount of time is about 8 hours per week. If you are going to spend that kind of time, you are going to generate even more business.
If you are looking to hire additional people- and by the way, Tina, nice job.That is the way you work a BNI group. You come in, you generate business, you grow your business and then you hire people. In order to sustain that additional work force, it is important that you be the rainmaker. Or have them as the rainmaker, the person bringing in business. You do that by spending a little more time. We recommend about 8 hours.
Now, how do you go about that? I talk about his in a number of my books. World’s Best Known Marketing Secret. Networking Like a Pro. You have to diversify your network. So take a look at not only- and sometimes it surprises people to hear the Founder of BNI say go look at a Chamber of Commerce as a way of making connections with people. That is a casual contact network. Professional organizations, associations, service clubs like Rotary, Lions, Kawanas.
Do more time doing one to ones, sitting down and talking to people. One approach in terms of diversifying is about going broad. The other term is about going deep. You need to do both. Your network needs to be both broad and deep.
Spend more time. I recommend about 8 hours. And remember one thing. The grass is not greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it. Where you spend your time, your energy, your efforts are where you are going to get your business.
So, Tina, around 8 hours a week is what I recommend. The average is about 6.5 hours. I hope that answers your question. It was a really good one.
Excellent. The next question is from Anita in Germany. She asks, “We have lost members because BNI worked so well that we didn’t have time to come to meetings. What should we do?”
So I love this question. Anita, thank you so much. It is from a completely different perspective. The first person was saying how much time do I need to spend because I want to hire people? The second person was saying this is so big and I’m doing so well that I can’t come to the meetings anymore.
Really? Really? Okay. Where should I start with this one? Let me start with something that I think is really important. I know I have talked about this in another episode. I will give you the episode in a minute. When members leave BNI and say it is because they are too busy, it is often for some other reason. It is because of some other reason that they are leaving.
Don’t always believe it when somebody says they are leaving because they are too busy. Sometimes it is true, and I will talk about that. But oftentimes, it is really for another reason. I remember once- Priscilla, I don’t know if you remember me telling this story, but I remember once a printer who as doing great in BNI. Fantastic in BNI. He had a lot of business. He resigned. He said, “I’m really busy.”
I was just so shocked when the chapter told me. I asked why and they said because he said he was really busy. I knew this guy. I didn’t think that was it. He was a smart enough business man that he would go hire employees like Tina was thinking. You hire somebody so you can do it.
So I called him up. I wrote what is called an exit interview. I wrote an exit interview. if you are listening to this podcast, go to BNIPodcast.com episode 230. Take a look at the exit interview. I wrote this exit interview many, many years ago for this printer. He didn’t know I wrote it for him.
I called him up and I said, “Hey, Tom. It’s really good to talk to you. It has been a long time. I understand that you are stepping down.”
He said, “Yeah.”
I said, “Man, I am really sorry to hear that. I starting doing an exit interview.” (I didn’t say, “I started doing it today with you.”)
I started asking him questions. One of the things that you want to do is a concept called a semantic differential questioning technique. All that means is that you ask the same question in different ways.
“So why, Tom, are you leaving?” He said he is too busy.
So after a few more questions, I came back to that first question. I said, “Tom, are there any other reasons that you might be leaving?”
He said, “No, no. That’s it.”
Then you say okay, ask a couple of questions and then you come back to it a third or fourth time. “If there were another reason, what would it be?”
That is when he said, “Alright, alright. I have a member in the group that owes me money and I can’t get it out of him. I just don’t want to go there every week and see the guy.”
Priscilla, I am telling you, more times that you might imagine, the member is not happy with something going on in the chapter. They don’t want to make a big deal out of it. So they just say they are really busy.
So when you hear that, I urge you as s member, get your chapter to do an exit interview. You can find the exit interview in episode 230. Do that exit interview and find out what the real reason is. If it is something else, then deal with that issue.
With this particular reason I said, “Look, Tom, if he is not paying you, he is not paying other people. Don’t leave and do that to other people. Take it to the membership committee.” I talked him into doing it. He took it to the membership committee.
Prisicilla, I swear to you, someone on the membership committee said, “Oh my goodness. He owes you money, too? He owes me money!” What happened is the member was removed from the group and Tom stayed.
So it is probably something else. If it isn’t, well, honestly, if they are so busy that they can’t come to the meetings, you probably don’t have the right member.
Let me read you something real quick from Stephanie from South Africa- this is an all-women’s questions and comments today. Stephanie sent me something right around the same time that I got this from Anita. She said, “I joined BNI over two years ago. My business has grown to the point where 80% of my business is generated through BNI and all my marketing is done in BNI as well. I don’t use any other advertising medium. My company has grown from the small business it used to be. I even employed additional staff to cope with the increase of business. As a result, my business has grown, even overseas.”
Wow. What kind of business does she have?
It was a marketing company.
What a successful businessperson does is they hire people when thing are too busy. I remember there used to be an advertisement in the Yellow Pages. Do you remember the Yellow Pages? I don’t think they exist much anymore. There used to be an advertisement. I loved the concept. It was Joe’s Desk Company. The Yellow Pages went in to Joe and said, “Would you like to advertise?”
He said, “No.”
“Because I just have one desk. If I sell the desk, I won’t have a company.”
Of course, the Yellow Pages was like, okay, that is a really stupid reason to not market- because you are in business to sell desks. But he didn’t want to sell because then he wouldn’t have a business.
When someone says to me, “I am so busy that I can’t make the meeting anymore,” they shouldn’t be in business. A really successful businessperson is someone who wants to grow their business, so either they have some other reason and they are not sharing it with you. Or they may not be the best member for to have in your chapter. Someone who is really committed to growing their business, helping you grow and them grow.
And that, Anita, is my answer. And, Tina from Canada with the first question. Thank you. They were both great questions. I will be happy to answer more of them in the future with this Ask Ivan series.
Any thoughts from you, Priscilla, before we wrap up here?
No, I really like what you said. We did lose a member because he said he was too busy and it is kind of interesting what your response is.
Alright. Well, check out that exit interview and keep that in mind the next time someone gives that excuse.
Alright. Thanks, Priscilla.
That is it for this week. 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 for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.