In this episode, Dr. Misner discusses the GAINS Exchange and how members can use it in 1-to-1s to more quickly build relationships by learning more about each others:
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 005 –
Hello everybody and welcome back to the official BNI podcast. I am Frank Felker in Washington DC joined on the phone today by Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner, calling in from BNI headquarters in southern California. Have you recovered from your whirlwind trip to Europe yet, Ivan?
Dr. Ivan Misner:
Yes. Luckily, I don?t get jet lag too badly. It?s no problem. I am ready to roll.
How long of a flight was it back from Europe all the way to California?
About twelve hours.
And you don?t get jet lag?
No. If I get enough sleep, I?m good.
I can never seem to sleep on trains or planes. I can imagine that if you can sleep the whole twelve hours, it doesn?t matter what time it is when you wake up.
I had been asking you a couple of questions relative to my relatively new membership in BNI about different things that I wanted further clarification on, and one thing in particular that I was curious to hear directly from you was more about the GAINS Profile. Can you tell me about that?
The GAINS Profile is also known as the GAINS Exchange. It is a great tool for BN I members. It originally comes from the book Business by Referral, which was written by a Robert Davis and myself. It was really originally designed for people who want to get to know each other a little bit better, not necessarily inside the context of BNI.
However, it has evolved into a very common tool for use in BNI, specifically for the one to ones. Frank, you may see that expression used a little bit differently in some areas. We did at one point call it one on ones. We changed it to one to ones. Any idea why we made the change?
We discovered that in some countries, one on one has a completely different connotation.
I think I am following you.
Yeah. We had a lot of people saying, ?I want one of those one on ones.? To avoid harassment charges, we switched that. That is a true story, actually. We had to switch it to one to one. You may commonly see it now as 1-2-1 or 1 to 1. It is really where you have the opportunity to meet another BNI member and get to know them a little bit better, so that you can pass referrals to them.
One of the things that we recommend that you do if you?re going to do a one to one is do the GAINS Exchange because it is a great way to get to know the other person a little bit better. That is probably the way it is most used in BNI.
One of the first times that we started implementing this in the one to ones, was right before the book, Business by Referral, came out. I was testing it to see how the GAINS Exchange would work within chapters. I went to a chapter and asked them to implement this.
A couple of the members dragged their feet and didn?t want to do it. They just had to sit down and talk to each other. They didn?t have to actually fill this thing out.
What you fill out is a form that has a response to each one of the letters. GAINS is an acronym. In stands for goals, accomplishments, interests, networks, and skills. They respond to each of those.
We had two guys who absolutely did not want to fill this thing out. But we made them play the game. They sat down and they did it. It was really interesting because they had nothing in common. They had hardly spoken to each other in the six months that they were both members and not because they didn?t like each other but because they didn?t have anything in common. While they were filling this out, they found out that they are both soccer coaches for their sons? soccer teams.
It?s amazing that they didn?t know that about each other.
In some countries it?s called football for those of you listening in other countries outside of the U.S. In the U.S. it?s called soccer. They were both coaches for their sons? soccer teams. And boom, they struck up a conversation about that.
They were both very excited about coaching their sons soccer teams so they started sharing ideas and plays and strategies for playing the game. Then the even started going to each other?s big games to help out and give ideas on what the other teams were like.
Guess what happened? They started passing referrals to each other. The actually started doing business with each other, and it came about because they were both soccer coaches. If you would have told me that your earlier, I would have been shocked, but now I see that happen all the time.
People do business with people that they build a relationship with. It doesn?t matter what the relationship is based on. It can be based on getting to know each other from the context of the soccer team or neighbors or whatever. But if there is a relationship, they?re going to do business with each other.
I can see where having that common interest makes it easier to trick us teach other as well.
That is exactly it. The common interest is the mechanism for their relationship to develop. You go through and list answers to each one of the categories.
For example, under goals, it you would put down your financial, business, educational, or personal objectives that you wanted accomplished. That?s what?s important to you. It could be problems that you want to resolve or decisions that you need to make either immediately or down the road. Writing those down lays out the goals that you have in your life.
A lot of people find accomplishments difficult because you?re almost bragging about yourself a little bit and but put it in the context of things that you are interested in. It gives you insight into some others in terms of knowing what they?ve achieved, what projects that completed, and what they have accomplished. Accomplishments can be either as a student or an employee, community member, etc., and can include any recognition that they may have received.
Interests are things that they enjoy and things that they like to talk about. Listening or collecting things ? the kinds of things that they like to do in their spare time. That is what would go under interests.
Networks would be groups(formal or informal), organizations, institutions and connections that they have around the community. That one is pretty straightforward.
Skills would be talents, abilities, assets, and those kinds of things.
Some of these overlap a little bit and that is okay. It?s not meant to be separate and distinct. It?s all right if there?s a little bit of overlap. The key is to get people to open up and start sharing their interest because once they start sharing their interests, they?re going to start a relationship.
There is nothing that people love talking about more than themselves. If you are asking a specific level of questions about these items, people are obviously going to come forth with the information. I have not used this yet but will use it going forward. I can see where it?s very powerful.
I am often interested when a member of my BNI group is doing their ten minute keynote address and when they?re introduced, some of these facts about their background come out that I wasn?t aware of. I am often amazed at the accomplishments some of these people have had in their lives.
That?s very true. It?s surprising sometimes what the people sitting right next to you have accomplished in their lives, and you don?t know it unless this kind of thing comes out. It gives you a lot of respect for people. I remember I was working with somebody for a long time and found out that he was a graduate of West Point. I had no idea that this guy has been to West Point. It was very interesting to know that.
Yes, that?s a big deal. It?s quite an accomplishment to a graduate from one of the service academies. Well, we?re just about out of time for this week?s podcast. Is there any last pearl of wisdom that you would like to leave the listeners with?
If you?re going to do a one to one, make sure to take the time to pull the GAINS Exchange out and use that in your one to one. You want to have the other person complete it and you complete it as well. You will have one on them, and they will have one on you.
You can find it in the book, Business by Referral, and you can also get it from just about any BMI director. It is in their manuals and you can just ask for a copy of it. Go to work on it. If you do it and you have some great experience, I would love to have you post your experiences up on the BNI podcast comments section.
I appreciate you taking the time to share that with me and everybody listening, Ivan. .I was not familiar with the GAINS Exchange, and I?m definitely going to use it going forward. For every body on the line and Dr. Ivan Misner, I am Frank Felker saying we will see you next week on the official BMI podcast.