Today we’re talking about a face-to-face word-of-mouth checklist of credibility-enhancing materials you need to have available.
- Testimonial letters from satisfied clients
- Photos (of yourself, your office, your products)
- Logos of your key customers
- List of memberships and affiliations
- A question-and-answer sheet (FAQ)
- Photos of awards or certificates you and your staff have earned
- Articles that you’ve published or been mentioned in
- Brochures, circulars, datasheets, product catalogues
- Items that help you explain your business, e.g. annual report
- Articles about trends affecting your business
You should have these materials available both in hard copy, to bring with you, and on your website.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 209 –
Hello everyone 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, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and what is your checklist all about?
I’ve got a checklist today and the checklist is your face-to-face word of mouth checklist. I want to talk about it in the context of BNI, that you are trying to build a referral-based business or word of mouth-based business. You really need to have a checklist of items that you have available. So in effect, if you want to create a word of mouth campaign for your business, there are things that you need to have available to help do that.
One important part of running a successful referral or word of mouth campaign is to build an arsenal of credibility building materials. You should always have these materials at your disposal, both in printed version and digital version when possible. I am going to give you ten items to create a checklist of things that you should have or you should be working at having to help support your referral or word of mouth campaign.
First is a set of testimonial letters from satisfied clients. Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to showcase the quality of the products or services that you have. You could put them in a binder or you could post them to your website. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you could have people recommend you. I recommend a combination of all of that. Not just one, but all of it. The printed ones are valuable for when you are doing those face-to-face visits. That’s first.
Second, photos. Photos of yourself, your office, your product. A professional headshot is really important for promotional opportunities. In this digital age, I see people stand up against the wall and have their spouse take a picture. That’s what they use. I am not quite sure that’s the ideal photo. You want professional photos taken, not only of you but of your products or services. Your office. We have a photo of BNI HQ that we use to show this is where the international HQ is. There is some value to that because oftentimes at BNI chapters, they only see the tip of the iceberg. They only see what happens at their meeting. So to see a 33,000 sq. ft. building where BNI operates out of is a value sometimes.
Here’s an interesting one. Logos of your customers. With their permission, use these in your websites or printed material to show some of the types of clients that you successful serve and support.
A list of professional affiliations. This is helpful when you meet someone for the first time and talk about over the years and do a GAINS exchange. It’s important to share interests and networks that you belong to. BNI would be great to list in there. I’ll tell you, there are some countries in BNI, particularly some of the Asian countries- Japan, Malaysia. Wow. They are really good about listing BNI as an affiliate. They list it on their materials. They oftentimes put on their cards that they are a proud member of BNI. I see that quite a bit there. It is a great way to start a dialogue with somebody when you see that someone else is a member.
Number five. A question and answer sheet. One of the quickest ways to learn about a person’s business or for them to learn about yours is to have some Q and A, some frequently asked questions. They may be on your website, but nobody ever has that with them when they are talking to people. Something like that, I think, is valuable for you to have.
Photos of awards or certificates that you or your staff have earned. That is really good for PR or for credibility. BNI has a foundation, so when we give a big check, we make sure to take a photograph for a couple of reasons. We gave a check for $50,000 to the Red Cross for the Japan relief effort a month or so ago. Since then, by the way, we have gotten an additional $10,000 and probably, I don’t know, $10,000 or $15,000 for the hurricane efforts that we are working on now in the U.S. So when we do this, we take photographs and we do that to show members what we are doing but also to build brand recognition and build credibility as a stable organization that has been around a long time and is giving back to the community. Things like that are of value.
Number seven, articles that you have published or been mentioned in. I think that is really important. That is a credibility builder.
Brochures is an obvious one. Brochures, circulars, data sheets, product catalogs. This is a no brainer. This is something that you have to have when you are talking to people who want to look at something that you have.
Number nine, items that help you explain your business to your network, to your personal network. Particularly in groups like BNI, it might be an annual report, a capability statement, prospectus, could be a mission statement, a service pledge, a written history, anything that you might have that could explain what you do a little better.
Number ten checklist item is articles that are on trends affecting your business. Keeping up with issue and news items that are important to people helps you be able to target your conversation and show people that you know what is going in in your industry.
Listen, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. As a matter of fact, I have written this kind of checklist a number of times and there are many, many more things. These are what I would consider to be the top ten things to have available and accessible. You don’t have to carry a briefcase of this stuff everywhere you go, but different things at different times in different situations. This is the kind of stuff that you want to have available for your networking efforts.
That’s great. There are some unusual things on there.
I tried to think out of the box a little bit with some of the things and things that I’ve seen, things that I’ve seen people have or things that I’ve done, so that you can be thinking a little bit out of the box. Of course, most of this should be available one way or another on your website always.
Exactly. Okay. Great.
That’s all I have for today.
Very good. Thank you so much. That’s it for this week. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.