Chapter 8 of Givers Gain covers the years 1998-2000. It was during this period that Dr. Misner realized he needed to write a book about networking to educate BNI members, and wrote The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret.
The surprise discovery was the media benefits of publishing a book. Thanks to his 10 books, Dr. Misner has been interviewed well over 1000 times. His first live TV appearance was right after the Village People and his book nearly set the host on fire.
Since that time, Dr. Misner’s books have become a vital part of the BNI culture.
Four main factors determined BNI’s phenomenal growth during this period:
- Had already built a solid foundation for BNI.
- BNI is locally owned an operated.
- Jumped the borders and started spreading into new countries.
- Gained greater exposure through publishing books.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 051 –
Hello everybody 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’m joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. How are you, Ivan?
Doing great, Priscilla. Today I am going to be talking about Chapter 8, A New Audience, of the book, Givers Gain. I have been covering the book over the last several months, and my plan is to talk a little bit about each one of the chapters so that people who have the book in front of them can also listen to a little bit of it in my own voice. So they are reading some of the material and they hear me talking about it as well. I think it’s a great tool to use as you read the book.
This section, Chapter 8, really talks about mostly from 1995 through 2000 for the most part. Some really interesting things happened right about that time. I was really trying to spend more time working on the business and less time working in the business. It was really at that point that I was coming to the conclusion that I needed to be spending more time on strategic planning, content and material.
Over the years I had read a lot of books and journals on marketing but I hadn’t read anything on networking. If you do a literature search prior to 1995, you will find almost nothing on business networking and referral marketing prior to the mid-90s. I wanted to do a book that was a comprehensive book on networking and word-of-mouth. I did a book in 1989 called Networking for Success but it was a self published book. It wasn’t distributed much.
I really wanted to do a real book, a book that was published. So I worked with Ray Bard of Bard press in 1994 and we published my first primary published book, The World’s Best-Known Marketing Secret. It’s probably important to note that Jeff Morris was the editor of that book and Jeff is my co-author of this book, Givers Gain. Jeff has been involved in so many of my books that he ended up being the co-author with me of Givers Gain.
That’s where I came out with the book, The World’s Best-Known Marketing Secret. That was really the core book for success in networking and particularly in BNI. What I wanted to do was sort of write a book that was a blueprint that BNI members could use to use in BNI and their other networks to become successful in the networking process. There were a lot of really core philosophies of the organization that are spread throughout this book.
Is that the reason you’ve written so many books? Aren’t there like 10 now or something?
There are. That led me into writing a number of other books. There are now 10 books including Givers Gain that I have written. We have about six or seven more in the works. You know, the bottom line when I started writing the books was to provide educational content for members who were reasonably new to the organization.
When we first came out with The World’s Best-Known Marketing Secret, there were no educational coordinators of the chapters. It was because there was no content. We didn’t have a lot of stuff. As we started doing more and more books, it was like how do we communicate this to members? How do we get this content to members? So we started doing the books as a way of providing additional content for members and then later education coordinators.
You know, we discovered along the way which is an amazing thing is the publicity that you get from doing a book. If you go to the media, particularly radio but even newspaper and television, and say would you do it interview on me for my business? They will say, “Take an ad out. We don’t want to interview you about your business, about BNI.”
But Priscilla, the media will interview any idiot with a book. I have 10. I have lots and lots of interviews. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been doing the books is because you get this incredible exposure and media opportunities to build the brand. I have now done well over 1000 radio, TV and newspaper interviews and almost all have started because of the book. They want me to talk about the book. I talk about the book and then of course they always ask what is one of the reasons that led you to write this book? Then I bring a BNI and guess what? They end up spending most of the rest of the interview talking about BNI.
I talk about this in this book. I talk about one of our strategic alliance partners, Jim Blasingame in Chapter 8 of Givers Gain. Jim Blasingame runs a radio talk show called the Small Business Advocate. If you would like to go to his website, www.smallbusinessAdvocate.com is his website. He has interviewed me dozens and dozens and dozens of times. If you do a search on me you will probably find 20 or 30 radio interviews that I have done with Jim.
He has been a real supporter of BNI. If the listeners of his podcast want to hear half-hour interviews with Jim and me, you should go do that because there’s some great content there that’s been done over the years. My interviews with Jim have gotten a lot better than my first one. I talk about my very first television interview in this. Have you ever heard about my live TV interview in Connecticut, Priscilla?
No. I would love to hear about that.
Well, it’s a real embarrassment. You know, this is back before the time of tape delay. Since Janet Jackson, everything is tape delayed now. But when I did this it was my first live television interview. I will give you the short version of the story and if you want the whole version, you’re going to have to go read it. It’s in Chapter 8 on page 68 of Givers Gain, the BNI story. I was in Connecticut. It was a live television show in the morning. I’m in the green room. It was a big show and a lot of people were there.
While I was sitting in there, Priscilla, a guy who walked by me, am Indian. Then some guy dressed as a construction worker. And some guy dressed as a cop. Someone says, “Gee, it looks like the Village People.” I was like, yeah right– the Village people are to be on. Then we are actually watching the TV show and it says, “Next on the Fairfield County exchange, the Village People and Dr. Ivan Misner to talk about networking. I was thinking all why. I’m on after the Village people!”
Well they wanted me to do something visual so I decided I would do this little magic trick. You’ve seen magicians where they take stick thier hand out and the flame comes out of their hands. Have you ever see that, Priscilla?
You’ve seen fire come out of a magician’s hand or out of some box or something. Well, I had this little magic trick. I’m an amateur magician. The key word being amateur. I had this little thing or fire would come out and I was going to open the book and have a flame come out. I thought oh my, I am on after the Village People. This is going to be really scary. I better put more of that magic paper in there that makes it flame up. I put some more in and I watched the Village People. They were great. Of course, they are very visual. They want a visual on the show. So what is the last song you think that they would do to be visual?
I have no idea. You’d tell me.
YMCA. So they appear out in the audience and there’s the entire audience standing on their feet, doing it with their arms, YMCA. I am thinking, oh my. I am going on next. This is going to be a total embarrassment. This is horrible. I’m going to put a little more of that magic paper is better to get the flame to really kick.
So I get out there. It’s a long story but the bottom line is that we got to the end of the interview and the host says, “I have here a copy of Dr. Misner’s book,” she opens it up and I had a little flame. I was going to say, “Be careful the book is hot.”
I did the flame thing and it shot way up into the sky. She jumped into the lap of her co-host, screaming at the top of her lungs. The camera stops. The director stops. Nobody can say anything. All she could say as she’s clutching her chest is, “Thankfully I didn’t swear on live television.” This is still coming out on the air. The last thing they said before they cut was her co-host looking out to the audience and looking back stage saying, “Wardrobe, new pants for her, please.”
The director says to cut and go to commercial. That was my first time on live television talking about the book. I’ve gotten a little better since then. In most states, I am considered an expert in networking, but in Connecticut, I am considered an arsonist.
Did she forgive you for that?
She did. I tried to tell her two or three times what I was going to do and I talked about this in the long version of the story. If you read the book, you get the whole story. But I did try to tell her two or three times, but the director was in a rush and I didn’t get a chance to tell her. So that’s what happened.
Since The World’s Best-Known Marketing Secret, I have come out with books like Business by Referral, Masters of Networking, Masters of Success, and Masters of Sales. I should have a book coming out called the 29% Solution- 52 Weekly Networking Strategies. These books have really become a vital part of the BNI culture. There is just so much content available for education coordinators, but you know, you can’t be a member of BNI without having this wealth of content at your fingertips. These podcasts are a great example but also the material that is in the books. It’s just amazing.
That sounds great.
I know we need to wrap up. I think to wrap up this chapter, Chapter 8, I think there are really made four main factors for BNI’s phenomenal growth from 1995 through 2000. First, we had given BNI a solid foundation. You hear about us talking in the first seven chapters about a foundation of good organizational structure, capable leaders, well-designed manuals. You cannot build a house until the foundation is solid. Everything started with the foundation. The system and the way we run the meetings and the schedule, the meeting agenda in the manuals — we now have almost a thousand pages of manuals for our directors. That started really in the early days.
Second, the fact that BNI is locally owned and operated. 95% of all the revenues stay within the country that operates in. It’s a locally owned and operated program and I think that’s one of the reasons that have made it successful.
Third is we jumped our borders in this period of time, in 1995, and started spreading into new countries and spreading and new come trees has helped to grow the organization.
Fourth, we made ourselves better known by publishing books. It has opened the door for media interviews, and we just got a ton of exposure for the organization. In that five-year period, we ended up opening in half a dozen countries or more. That really laid the groundwork for the next 10 years of the organization. That’s a pretty good summary of Chapter 8 of Givers Gain.
Can I add a number five?
I think it’s having somebody like you as a leader and CEO of the company. You’re an amazing person and you have a lot to offer. It’s wonderful to have you in the leadership role.
Thank you, Priscilla. I really appreciate you saying that. I stepped down as CEO, actually. And I’ll tell you why that’s important. Because it gives me an opportunity now to do this full-time. This is my function in the organization. I believe that the founder of an organization is really well positioned to be the spokesperson of an organization, better than almost anyone else because they started the company. So I spend the majority of my time now really working on the business, writing, speaking, doing these podcasts, writing articles, publishing books as a way of building the brand.
It’s helping to educate and train members. I appreciate you saying what you said. It’s a concerted effort really peaking in with this chapter’s topic. 1995, that is when I started thinking that I really wanted to be the spokesperson for the organization and it was a darn near 10 year journey to get to where I at this point. I like to tell people that I’m a 20 year overnight success. It took me 10 years when I decided I really wanted to work more on the business to be able to, in fact, be working on the business. But thank you very much.
You’re so welcome. Well, I think we’ve come to the edit is podcasts. Thank you, Dr. Misner. I just want to let the listeners know that this podcast has been brought to you by networkingnow.com, which is a leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us again next week for another episode of the Official BNI Podcast.