In this episode, Dr. Misner Discusses Six Ways That You Can Teach Others How to Help You Build Your Business, including:
- 1: Provide You With Referrals
- 2: Introduce You To Prospects
- 3: Endorse Your Products and Services with Testimonials
- 4: Display Your Literature and Products in Their Homes and Offices
- 5: Distribute Your Information
- 6: Publish Information About You
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 015 –
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 am Frank Felker in Washington DC joined on the phone today by Founder and Chairman BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner, calling in from BNI headquarters in sunny southern California. How are you, Ivan?
Slugging through the heat here, Frank, but doing great.
Actually, the weather here has just been unusually charming. Today is 72° with low humidity. It is hard to believe that I’m actually living here in the swamplands of the Potomac area.
Some people say that southern California doesn?t have four seasons, but we do. We have earthquakes, riots, mudslides and fires.
Which one of those seasons do Christmas and the holidays fall into?
We are not experiencing any of those right now.
Oh, that is good. I wanted to ask you a question today, Ivan. A lot of times, especially for small business owners, friends and family members will say what can I do to help you? How can I help you to provide your business? It?s often difficult for small business owners to know the answer is, other than hey come do some business with me. What would be your answer to that question?
There are six ways that others can help promote your business. Certainly this is good material for BNI of course, but I think it?s good for anyone in business at all. Here are the six ways, and if you have any comments along the way, please feel free to chime in.
First and foremost, they can provide you with referrals, the support we would like most from families, business associates and neighbors. That would be a referral. That is the best, but it is not the only way. We certainly talk about that in BNI a lot, but there are other ways that business associates or friends and family members can help.
Number one is referrals but number two is that they can introduce you to prospects. Your contacts can help you build new relationships faster by introducing you to people that they believe could use your services or think that they would make a good contact for you. This can be done easily at any business event that you might be at where they act as the connector and put you face to face with someone else. It doesn?t have to be for any specific purpose. They don?t have to say that I think this person could use your products or services. But it is a way of making an initial connection with somebody else.
They can endorse your products or services by telling others what they have gained from using your products or services at presentations or informal conversations. Or they could send endorsement letters of some sort that you can use in your marketing material or your website. I think that?s really positive.
Fourth, they can display your literature and products in their offices or their homes. This I think is a great idea that is not done very often. Items are displayed nicely on a counter or on a bulletin board in a waiting room. Here at BNI headquarters, we have a board of all of the contractors and people that we use a lot. We have all of their business cards right here as you walk in the front door.
Here is something a little crazy that I did. It was great. It was awesome. When I bought a new house a few years ago, we got a lot of work done on the house. Of course, it was the house that BNI did. All of the carpeting and contractor work ? everything ? was done by BNI members. The gardening, landscaping. When I did the open house, I did something probably a little unusual. I had a table out in the backyard with all of the contractors and people who helped ? the painters, the people that we buy products from ? I had all of their business cards and literature out on a table so that people who were at the open house could see who did a lot of the work of the house.
It was really funny, Frank. A guy told me about this later. His wife said to him ?she wasn?t in BNI. Ashe was in a nonprofit organization. She said isn?t that a little unusual at an open house, to have business cards promotinh other people? He said, you don?t know this guy. He runs a networking organization so that is what he?s all about.
There?s nothing wrong with that. I think it?s great to help promote other people in that way. I know for a fact that I got some of those people business that day because of the work that they did. So displaying their literature is important. They can distribute your information. Your contacts can distribute your marketing materials, for instance. The dry cleaner can attach a coupon from the hair salon next door in the plastic bag that they are using to cover the customer?s clothes. There are many different ways of distributing someone else?s material along with yours that would help them.
The sixth is that they can publish information for you. Contacts may be able to get information about you and your business in publications they subscribe to. Here is one ? a lot of people like to write articles. If they are able to find avenues for your articles, that is a way of helping to get you published.
There are six different ways that people can help you. To provide you with referrals is clearly number one. Number two is introduce you to prospects. Three is endorse your products and services. Four is display your literature and products in their offices and homes. Five is distribute your information for you. Six is publish your information.
I have a couple of questions. First off, I think even Sam Schwartz in his recent podcast with touched on the idea that sometimes members of your family and close friends and so forth see you as whoever they knew you growing up as, whether it is their college beer party buddy or whatever. It?s more difficult for them to perceive you as a legitimate business person. The old saying the prophet is not without honor save in his own home type thing.
Do you ever run into a problem with that? Do you have a response to the idea that some people who are really close to you and know you very personally may be hesitant to refer business to you because they see you as a different person than you are as the owner of your business?
Absolutely. That is an appropriate concern. I believe that one of the best ways to get around that is to have an open house for your business at some point and invite people to your business. We were talking about an open house from my home, but here, I am talking about the business. You want to make sure that those people and family members are there who would be willing to support you in some way but they just don?t know how because it?s a little hard to see you as a professional that you have grown into.
That is probably one of the best things to do. Ironically, that kind of thing has led me to not only have some family members be able to refer me, but I have employees who are family members working in BNI headquarters. And I was the little kid! But the only way that that ever happened was for them to come to see the business and see the professional nature of it. That would be my recommendation.
That makes a lot of sense. Another thing that I have learned various times in the past is that it?s sometimes difficult to do business with friends and family members. It almost seems like every time you do, that is the deal or the project that just blows up in everybody?s face for whatever reason.
You know, you hear that a lot. I have done business with a lot of family. I have family who work for me. I have always been really candid with family that you don?t get any special breaks just being family. As a matter of fact, my poor kids probably have it harder time than anybody who works here because I?ve had my kids work part time, especially over this summers. It is probably harder on them than on any one else because they have to work twice as hard to look just as good. I don?t cut any deals in terms of family working for me.
Regarding your question, if you are doing a job (that blows up) for someone in your family, that can be ugly. You are absolutely right, but that could be ugly for anyone that you?re close to whether its family or not. There is truly a good side and bad side of a referral. If you do a good job, people are going to talk about you, and if you do a bad job, it will be the worst. So you want to make sure that you do a great job whenever you are working through a referral, whether it be a family member or anyone else.
You have to do a good job for your referral partners because if you don?t do a good job for them, they?re not going to continue to refer you. You need to knock yourself out for referral partners in order for them to continue to refer you.
That is a great, great point.
Well, if anything goes wrong and sometimes things do go wrong, then you have to make it right. That is really important. Listen. Mistakes happen. They occur. It?s how well you resolve the problem that makes the difference between marginal service and outstanding service.
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 share with the listeners this week?
Just one quick thing. It may take awhile, but if you select and train your referral sources well and you use the system to its best advantage in referral development, you will really speed up the process of turning those connections into referrals for your business. It?s not just the referral that is useful for your business but there are other things that people can do that can lead to business down the road.
Well that is it this week. For Dr. Ivan Misner, I am Frank Felker saying we will see you next week on the official BNI podcast.