In this episode, Dr. Misner talks with BNI Director Jerry Schwartz at the Annual BNI USA Conference, being held in Bethesda, Maryland, about:
Why Should I Join BNI? How Can I Get More Business From My BNI Membership? How Do I Find More Qualified Referrals? What’s The Best Way To Do A 1-2-1?
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 010 –
Hello everybody and welcome back to the official BNI podcast, brought to you by networkingnow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I?m Frank Felker in Washington DC, joined on the phone today by Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr Ivan Misner and BNI Director Jerry Schwartz calling in from the BNI USA Conference being held in Bethesda, Maryland. How are you guys doing today?
Dr. Ivan Misner:
Fantastic. Jerry, I think you are running the show with the podcast today, aren?t you?
Well yes, I am. I know that normally you and Frank run the show together, but since you are right here in my region and we?re having our BNI national conference, I have a few questions that I would like to ask you. Let me give them to you one at a time.
I have to tell you that I think this is a great idea. As we do more of these conferences and visitations around the world, I would love to have the local directors and maybe even, one of these days, a member throw some questions to me. I think they make the podcast very interactive. Go ahead. Ready, set, go!
Fantastic. The first one is why should I be a member of BNI?
That is a great question. We talked about a week or so ago about this particular question because visitors want to know. Why should I join BNI? What is special about it?
I have to say honestly that BNI is the only organization in the world that devotes the kind of time and energy into networking education and training ? nobody else spends that amount of time teaching people how to network more effectively. We spend over 126,000 person hours a year doing leadership team training alone.
126,000 person hours. I didn?t make up that number. If you take three leadership team people- President, Vice President and Treasurer and 4785 chapters, which is the number of chapters that we have,times four and a half hours of training times two per year, you will see that is over 126,000 person hours.
Plus member success program training, visitor host training, membership committee training and directors training. We spend easily over 150,000 to 170,000 person hours per year in training people on how to network more effectively and how to build their business through word of mouth. No other organization in the world spends that kind of time teaching people how to do it.
Of course, we can?t forget the podcast. And SuccessNet, the monthly newsletter. These podcasts come out weekly. SuccessNet comes out monthly. These are other educational tools that nobody provides to members like BNI does. That is one of the really important reasons why people should join BNI and just not any networking organization.
Fantastic. For many new members and especially some older existing members as well, how do they get new business through BNI? What would be the best avenues, and what would you suggest so that members can really make it the most profitable venue for them?
First of all, I think they need to remember the philosophy of the organization, which is the best way to get business is to his give business to other business professionals. I think beyond that, once they really come in and understand that it is about helping other people, there are some other things that they can do to help expedite the process.
One is to remember that at the BNI meeting when they do their 60-second presentations, that they are there to train the referral source, not to close a sale. The more specific that they can be about the products and services that they have to offer, the better.
You have to be truly laser-specific. One of the exercises that we do at chapters is called the Reciprocity Ring. We?ll be talking about that in another podcast. In the Reciprocity Ring, we have people get laser-specific about what they?re looking for. They just stand up and say, ?I need to connect with John Doe at the XYZ Company who is in this position.?
They?re being laser-specific in their approach to asking for the referral. It is actually more effective than ?shotgunning it?, which most people try to do. If you can come in understanding that you?re there to help other people and to give and then get laser-specific and train a sales force, you are going to generate more referrals quicker than anyone else in the group.
Very good. I know a lot of times when members are starting BNI, they?re really wondering how do they find qualified referrals?
Now are you talking about finding qualified referrals for other people or qualified referrals for themselves?
For other people. They want to really hone in on this givers gain philosophy to maximize their membership. How would they find qualified referrals for other members?
First of all, the person who asks that question is the right kind of member to have in the group because they understand that it is about helping other people. Looking for qualified referrals for others is really about listening to what people have to say in their presentations. It?s also about getting creative in how you can refer others.
We had one member in a chapter who was a printer and he gave less referrals than anyone else in the chapter. The membership committee sat down with him and said how can we help you bring more referrals?
They brainstormed it and came up with this idea to put a big sign in his office that says if you are looking for one of the services below, please feel free to take one of their cards. The sign had lots of little slots for business cards. And it said, ?P. S. Please tell them that Bob from XYZ Printing referred you.?
Here?s a guy who gave hardly any referrals in his group and he put the sign up. He ended up becoming the number one referral generator for that chapter. He was the number one referral generator for so many months in a row that they finally made him the honorary winner of the Notable Networker Award because they wanted somebody else to win it as well.
He said that the reason that it happened is that people would walk up to him and would pull a card and say, ?What do you know about this person??
It gave him the opportunity to open up a dialog. The story here is that if you can find opportunities to open up a dialog with your clients about other services, it will lead you into giving qualified referrals.
That might mean sending out a letter and talking about referrals that you?d like to give. Or it might mean that when you?re talking to somebody, you hand them your BNI card file and say, ?Here are business cards of people that I do business with.? The more creative you can get, the better, but it is absolutely possible. You just have to be creative.
My last question would be what is the benefit of one-on-ones? What do you ask? What types of questions should you ask the other person and what do you do in a one-on-one?
I would refer the listener back to a podcast we did on the Gains Exchange because we talked about this at length. First of all, just for everyone and, in particular, our European audience, we have transitioned the phrase ?one-on-one? to ?one-to-one? because, Jerry, you?ll love this ? in some countries around the world, ?one-on-one? has a completely different connotation. Can you imagine that?
I can understand that.
So we have changed the expression to “one-to-one”. As a matter of fact, you will see a lot of this stuff being written out with the numbers, ?1-2-1?. The key with a one-to-one is to get together and share as much information with each other as possible. The Gains Exchange is a great tool to use and I recommend that listeners go back to the podcast on the Gains Exchange and listen to that because it really makes a big difference in expediting the process of developing a relationship with someone.
Jerry, these are great questions. I appreciate you taking the time to lay them out and run them by me. I hope that I answered most of the questions for you. I?m really looking forward to doing the conference in your region this week. You are going to have hundreds of your members here, and I?m excited to meet them.
Fantastic, Ivan. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity. We actually just got some of the numbers in. We will have somewhere in the neighborhood of between 400 and 425 members attending the conference on Friday, and they?re looking forward to hearing you. I appreciate all the time that you?ve given us.
Thank you, Jerry.
Thank you very much, gentlemen. For Dr. Ivan Misner and BNI Director, Jerry Schwartz, I am Frank Felker saying we will see you next week on the official BNI podcast.