Dr. Misner continues his discussion of BNI traditions this week.
This is one of the earliest traditions of BNI. It came about when a member wasn’t getting a business, tried offering an initial consultation, and received a spontaneous testimonial from another member who took him up on it. The more you have third-party endorsements, the easier it is to give referrals to people. It mitigates the risk of referral marketing.
Caring About People
BNI is all about people, from the top down. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The best way you can show you care is to be there and help. One of the reasons Dr. Misner does these podcasts is to show that he cares about BNI members.
Walking the Talk
What you do thunders so loudly above your head I cannot hear you speak. There are many ways to contribute to BNI. Bring visitors. Welcome visitors. Don’t let a week go by where there’s not a tidbit of information you offer to your fellow members.
Investment to Join
Getting business out of BNI is not a guarantee, it’s an opportunity. You can turn a $10 bar of iron into $250,000 worth of springs for watches. Turning your BNI membership into value involves understanding the traditions of the organization.
The Secret to Success
The secret to success without hard work is still a secret. The things Dr. Misner talks about in Givers Gain are simple, but not easy. You have to work to succeed in BNI.
If you’re interested in traditions within organizations, read Inside the Magic Kingdom.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 059 –
Hello 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 Priscilla Rice and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan. How are you?
Hello Priscilla. I am going great. I am covering today my favorite topic in the book, Givers Gain, Chapter 10, the BNI Traditions. We are doing the second half. There is so much that I had to do it in two different podcasts. The first one actually went long because I just love this material. I think it is the traditions that keep an organization alive and healthy. A book I recommend besides Givers Gain that talks about an organization’s traditions is called Inside the Magic Kingdom by Tom Connelin. He talks about Disney and how they keep their traditions alive.
That is what we are trying to do with this book- keep our traditions and BNI culture alive. When an organization grows to 5000+ locations, they are doing a few things right and I think one of those things is the culture. There are a few subjects that we will talk about there. One is testimonials. Caring about people- this is a people business. Walking the talk. The investment to join and the secret to success in BNI. Those are the topics. Let me just jump right in with testimonials.
Testimonials is actually one of our oldest traditions. It came early in the change of our agenda when just a couple of months into BNI we added that because we found someone. I believe I talk about this at length in an earlier podcast. We found a chiropractor who wasn’t getting any business and was looking for some. I suggested to him that he do a free initial consultation as a way of getting some members to use him. He did. He got one person to use him. He was a little disappointed that he only got one person to use him. Only one person used him but when that person stood up the next week, instead of doing what he normally did (give a referral), he said, “Ivan, do you mind if I talk a little bit about my experience last week?”
I said okay. He spent the entire minute talking about what a great chiropractor this was and how every member was an idiot if they didn’t use this free initial consultation because it was a wonderful experience. It was so glowing. The chiropractor was getting all kinds of referrals left and right. It was the first time that I realized that the way that I wrote the agenda was weong because if you had a referral you gave it and if you didn’t, you passed. That was the way BNI worked in the beginning. If you had a referral you gave it and if you didn’t you passed. The passing was an opportinity lost. What we found was that if somebody stood up and gave a testimonial instead, it was much more powerful. That third-party endorsement was key.
Absolutely. I think it is the strongest part of the meeting. I want to tell you that in our meeting, in our chapter, we like to do the testimonials. We have shortened a little bit of the earlier agenda just so we can have enough time for more testimonials.
The stronger you focus on testimonials, the more you get third-party endorsements. The more you get third-party endorsements, the easier it is to give referrals to people. I may not have used the chiropractor myself, but if I hear four, five, six, or ten people say how great he is, I can say with great confidence when I am referring him.
One of the podcasts we did a few weeks ago was about referral marketing being risky business. It is not very risky when I have ten people who have done business with this person. The risk is very minimal because I know so many people who have done business with him and had such great experiences, thats when I hear that – and that is the power and value of testimonials.
A lot of times, members will get into a chapter and not fully understand why we do some of the things we do. This is to mitigate the risks of referral marketing. You get so familiar with people that you can refer them with confidence. Make sense?
Here is another one: caring about people. This is a people business from the top down. This is all about people. There is a phrase that I love and all that I can tell members who are listening to this – the directors listening to this know it is true that every BNI director training that I am involved with. So any director that comes to HQ or if I am in the region and happen to do director training, they hear me say this. I say this to all BNI directors. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
It’s all about showing people that you care about their success. I tell directors and, for that matter, leadership teams. Don’t be a seagull manager. Do you know what a seagull manager is? It is someone who comes in, makes a lot of noise, dumps on everyone and then flies out of here. You have to be there. Every time that a director visits a chapter, the goal should be to provide feedback and help make it a better meeting.
Every time the education coordinator does a presentation, it should be to give a nugget of information to make that a better group. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The best way they can learn about how you care is to be there.
One of the reasons that I do these podcasts is that I want members to know that I care about their success. I want you to be successful. I do these podcasts every week to provide tidbits of information to make this work better for you and to make a better connection. It is going to be almost impossible for me to meet every member of BNI but I believe it is possible for me to be able to talk to every member of BNI through these podcasts. I am trying to show that I am interested in your success and I care about your success. It has to operation on every level of the chapter to be successful.
The next one is walk the talk. Here is another phrase that I love. BNI directors know that when I do training,I talk about this. What you do thunders so loudly above your head that I cannot hear the words you are speaking. It is walk the talk. You have to. What you do thunders so loudly above your head that I cannot hear the words you speak.
It is very important that we talk the talk. If we are on a leadership team, we have to be as good as any member there. That doesn’t mean that you have to bring the most referrals. You never hear me say that the best member is the one who brings the most referrals. The best member may be the person who comes in and rarely has a referral but they bring in visitors. They may be the education coordinator and they do a great job of teaching people. There are many many ways to contribute to BNI. Bringing in a referral is only one way to contribute.
Walk the talk. If you are on the membership team, be a strong member. If you are a visitor host, be a great visitor host. Make every visitor who walks through that door feel welcome to the organization. If you are the education coordinator, don’t ;et a week go by where there is no a tidbit of information that someone picked up from your experience. What you do thunders above your herd so loudly that I cannot hear a word you speak. Very powerful.
This chapter ends up with thwo things that i think are very important. One is your investment. Membership in BNI is not a guarantee. It is an opportunity to turn your time and commitment into a lot of money. There is an old truism that is true here. I thin BNI is a lot like a bar of iron. A plain bar of iron is worth five or ten dollars. But if you turn that into horseshoes, it’s worth ten to twenty dollars. If you turn that same bar into screwdrivers, it is worth $250. If you turn that same bar of iron into sewing needles, it is worth more than $3000. If you turn that same bar of iron into balance spring for watches, it is worth more than $250,000.
Everyone who is listening to this podcast has a membership in this organization. Turning that into value involves understanding the traditions of the organization. It involves Givers Gain, giving to other people in order to get business. It involves going to every single education and training opportunity. It involves keeping the fun in the fundamentals. It involves learning how to do effective testimonials. It involves showing people that you truly care about their success. It involves walking the talk. These are the traditions that have made BNI the world’s most successful networking organization.
I end this chapter with something that I think is really powerful. It is a personal story. I end it with the secret of success. Here, I talk about about my son who, as of this recording is 14 years old, almost 15. He is almost as tall as I am and wears a bigger shoe now. He has grown so much. But when he was about nine years old, I asked him a question. Visitors who have come to my home will tell you that I do this. I used to do it a lot to him. I would ask him, “Son, what is the secret to success?” Or I would have them go ask him. He would look at them and in that sort of sing song phrase that a kid will do, he would look at me and say, “ The secret of success without hard work is still a secret, Dad. Can I go and play now?”
I talk about this in the book and that is so powerful. It is a personal story for me but I think it applies to everyone. Truly the secret to success without hard work is still a secret. The things that I talk about are simple. But not easy. If members apply these traditions of the organization religiously within their group, they will build the strongest chapters within their regions. They will generate more business than any other group. The hard work is essential but the vision and the focus on maintining the healthy traditions of the group are the things that set this company aside from other networking organizations in the world. It think it is one of the important reasons why BNI is the largest network in the world.
That is a beautiful summary. I think it is some incredibly valuable information. I love the aspects of givers gain, caring for people and walking the talk. All of that is really important to me. I feel like they are wonderful principles to live by.
Thank you. I really enjoy doing this book and I am looking forward to the final chapter. The next time I do a recording on Givers Gain will be the last chapter, Chapter 11. That will wrap up the entire book, which was my goal to do in about a year.
So then we will have to start on your other books.
There we go. Okay, I am ready.
Thank you, Dr. Misner. I just want to remind our listeners that this podcast was brought to you by networkingnow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice. We hope you will join us again next week for another great adventure on the Official BNI Podcast.