Episode 317: I Want to Refer You, But…

Synopsis

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.

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Episode 315: Don’t Promise, Just Deliver

Synopsis

This week, Brennan Scanlon, Chapter Director Consultant of the Commonwealth Chapter of BNI joins Dr. Misner to talk about the topic “Don’t Promise, Just Deliver.”

When it comes to making referrals to their fellow BNI members, about 10% of members over-promise and under-deliver. As the Texans say, “All hat, no cattle.” These don’t follow through on their promises; they leave their referral partners hanging. In most cases, they make the promises because they want to help, but they destroy their own credibility by not following through.

Most BNI members take the approach “under-promise, over-deliver.” They say “I think I might be able to do this for you” and keep their referral partners informed of their progress along the way. They don’t make promises they can’t keep.

The third way to do give referrals, and the one Brennan recommends, is “Don’t promise, just deliver.” These people don’t talk about what they can do, they just do it. They take notes at every meeting about what kind of referrals everyone is looking for and go out and find those people. Then they surprise their fellow BNI members with great referrals. The key to this approach is attentive listening and good note-taking.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

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Episode 304: Building Referral Relationships

Synopsis

To be a good referral partner, you need to learn something about the person that you’re referring. If you know some of the following points about a person’s business, you can make a much better referral. It often takes at least a year to build up the kind of relationship that leads to really high-quality referrals. A deep referral relationship requires a surprising level of personal knowledge and connection. It takes time and effort to build this kind of relationship.

  • What is the person’s background and experience? 
  • What is their philosophy of customer service?
  • Do you understand at least 3 major products or services from that person’s business?
  • Do you know the names of their family members?
  • Have you asked them how you can help them grow their business?
  • Have you asked them for ideas about how to grow your business?
  • Do you know at least a handful of their goals for the next year and beyond?
  • Could you call them at 10:00 PM if you really needed something?
  • Would you feel awkward asking them for help with either a personal or business challenge?
  • Do you enjoy spending time with the person? See Dr. Misner’s article “Who’s in Your Room.”
  • Do you have regular appointments with the person outside of BNI meetings?
  • Is this person top of mind for you?
  • Can you have open, honest talks about how you can help each other further?

How deep are your current referral relationships? What will you do to deepen your relationships with your fellow BNI members? Let us know in the comments.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Podcast intro recorded by Tony Wolfe.

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Episode 303: A Good Referral Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Synopsis

Susan Goodsell, BNI Executive Director for BNI Riverside and San Bernardino Counties (and also a BNI employee who works on branding), joins Dr. Misner to explain why a good referral is in the eye of the beholder.

All BNI members understand that a referral is the opportunity to do business, not a guarantee of business. But not everyone educates their fellow members with enough specifics about what’s required for a good referral.

The first time I give a poor referral, it’s my fault. But the second time I give a poor referral, it’s probably the receiver’s fault.

Each of us has a different definition of what counts as a referral. Listen to what counts as a referral for your fellow members. Don’t try to define referrals for other members.

If you’re a printer and you don’t want referrals for business cards because you don’t make much money from them, stop mentioning them in your 60-second spot. Talk about the products that do make money for you. Mention the price point for referrals.

If you get an off-target referral, go to the member who made the referral, thank them for thinking of you, and educate them on the kinds of referrals you do want.

As long as you are laser-specific, you’ll get good referrals. Wherever you set the bar is the level of referrals you’ll get.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Podcast intro recorded by Tony Wolfe.

 [View the entire transcript of this episode]

Episode 298: Following Up on Referrals

Synopsis

A BNI member named Gary asked Dr. Misner the following question:

I have passed a referral to someone on two occasions and they have not followed up on either. This happens to be someone in my own chapter. I am now wondering whether they actually want me to pass them more referrals or don’t want the work.

Following up on referrals is part of BNI’s Code of Ethics.

The first thing to do is talk to the member you gave the referral to. Clear, open, honest, communication is generally the best way to address a problem like this. It doesn’t have to be a confrontation.

Some of the possiblities are:

  • It wasn’t a good referral, even though you thought it was.
  • They lost the contact information or dialed the wrong number.
  • They’re disorganized and haven’t followed through.

If it’s not a good referral, find out why. If the person hasn’t gotten around to following through, explain that when you give a referral, you give away part of your reputation. If the member still doesn’t follow up, you can contact the membership committee.

Don’t complain about this member to anyone BUT the membership committee, and don’t talk to the membership committee UNTIL you talk to the other member. Gossip will destroy the morale of a BNI chapter. Remember: clear, open, honest communication.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Podcast intro recorded by Tony Wolfe.

 [View the entire transcript of this episode]