A survey of 12,000 businesspeople that Dr. Misner conducted for his upcoming book, Business Networking and Sex (Not What You Think), showed that people who focused first on relationship and then on business scored much higher in success than those who focused first on business and then on the relationship.
Also according to this survey, men are much more transactional than women are, which is why women are usually more successful at networking. This is part of why Dr. Misner created the GAINS Exchange: because he’s not good at being relational. And the reason Dr. Misner starts each episode by saying where he is that week is to show members that he takes meeting BNI members in different chapters seriously.
Networking expert Susan RoAne reads the sports page every day in order to be able to start conversations with men—even though she hates sports. How many men read Cosmopolitan or Home and Garden in order to be able to talk to women? But if you make an effort to be more relational, it will pay off in your networking.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 234 –
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 where are you?
Thanks, Priscilla. I am doing great and I am going to tell you where I am at the end of my podcast today because I want to talk a little bit about why I say where I am and why I think it’s important. I am going to connect that, believe it or not, to this topic. Transactional vs. relational.
I recently got a message on this podcast from Michael. I won’t give his last name. You are going to love this one, Priscilla. This is an interesting one. He says, “You people are real blowhards. I don’t need to hear you people bloviate about your navel.” By the way, very good vocabulary, Michael. I am very impressed with your vocabulary. “ I don’t need to hear you bloviate. I know you think you’re important. I don’t give a care where you are, what you are doing or anything else about your life. All I need to know is the information, not how important you find yourself.” How do you feel about that, Priscilla?
If it’s any consolation, he is talking mostly about me.
No, I think he is talking about us and our little banter back and forth.
That’s possibly true. First, I want to talk about why and then I want to come back to another email I got, interestingly enough, on the same day. That will take us to our topic of transactional versus relational. So why do I say where I am in the world? Let me tell you why. It’s done on purpose. I, for a long time, would have members send me emails and they would be really upset and talking about where are you and how come I haven’t met you? Where are you? Are you in your ivory tower in BNI? Are you on the beach drinking margaritas? No! I travel a lot. I think it’s really important to meet directors and meet members. It’s part of the job I love. I love traveling around and telling people how they can increase their business.
So the reason I start off every podcast with where I am is to give people a sense of just how much I travel to regions and care about and want to connect with members around the world. Listen, anybody who has done business travel really knows I’m not bragging. Business travel isn’t a lot of fun, but it’s the career I have chosen, and I love doing it. I want members to know that I am out there meeting people almost every other week, sometimes every week for months at a time and that’s really why I say it.
But I think there is a deeper issue here that I really want to talk about. That is the transactional versus relational approach to networking. That exact same day, Priscilla, no kidding, I received another email from Tammy. It was a longer email. Let me read a sentence out of it. She thanks me for BNI. It’s her third year in BNI and she says, “BNI has taught me how to talk to complete strangers and to be interested in their lives instead of trying to sell something to them.”
Now let’s compare and contrast. The first email was “just give me the facts”. It was almost like Dragnet. People listen from around the world who don’t know what Dragnet is. It was a great TV show. I loved the TV show. What did he always say? “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.” That’s what Michael’s approach is. Just give me the facts. I don’t need anything else. I don’t care about where you are at. Just tell me what I need to know. The second email is what I love about BNI is it has taught me to be relational. It has taught me about relationships.
I wanted to compare and contrast the emails because interestingly enough, we have a book coming out in January, Business Networking and Sex, Not What You Think. Long title, talking about some of the findings. It’s based on a survey we did of 12,000 business people. We found that people who focused first on relationship and then on business scored much higher in success. They said that they were much more successful at networking than people who focused first on business and then relationship.
Here’s the real kicker, Priscilla. You’ll like it. I hate it.
I think I know what it is.
Women scored better.
Right. Of course.
They did. They scored better. They were a little higher on the relational side than men, but when it came to the transactional side, men were definitely higher. If you said you were not successful in networking, you were 60% likely to be a man.
Yeah. 60% of those who said they were not successful at networking and were transactional- focused on the business first- were men. Men tend to focus more on transactions than relationships. Now look at these two emails that I just got. Same day. They were about two different podcasts but same day. One says I don’t care anything about you. I don’t care anything about where you are at. You are just bragging. Just give me the facts. That’s all I want. The other says, you know what I’ve learned is that it’s all about relationships. Who wants the facts? The man. Who wants the relationships? The woman.
Now, one thing that I have learned over the years is that my natural tendency is to just go for the facts. Just give me the facts. The truth is that is not good in networking. That is a bad networking practice. It has taken me many years to learn how to ask more questions and to try to find out about the person.
You know, the reason I wrote the GAINS Exchange, that acronym for Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, and Skills is that I can’t do it naturally. I am not good at it naturally. So by having a GAINS exchange, it gives me a system to find out about the person. Not just the facts- not just the front of the card but the back of the card. What’s behind the person.
I think that is a really important concept that is identified in these two emails. One from a man who wants nothing about the facts and is all about the transaction. One from a woman who is more relational. Guys, don’t get mad and send me hate mail. I am not saying all men are this way, but the data is the data. It is what it is. It shows that the women tend to be more focused on the relationships.
Let me tell you a couple of things out of the book that I am going to share in advance. The book is not out yet. I interviewed Susan Roane who is an expert on networking. Great lady who wrote many books. Here is something she says that she does, Priscilla, that you might find interesting. I put this in the book. She says she reads the sports page everyday.
Oh, so she has something to talk about.
Yeah. She hates sports. She said she reads the sports page so she can have a conversation with men in networking environments because they focus on sports so much. She reads the sports page so she can begin the conversation. So let me ask you a question, Priscilla. How many men do you think read Cosmo so they can have a conversation with a woman? Some women are out there going, Cosmo doesn’t represent me, but I did a Google search. Toptenreviews.com said Cosmo came out as one of the top magazines for women. Homes and Gardens another. So how many men are out there reading Homes and Gardens or Cosmo just so they can have a conversation with women?
I would tell you very few. So why is that? Because men tend to be transactional. Just give me the facts, ma’am. And women tend to be relational. When it comes to success at networking, the data is what the data is. And that is relational is better that transactional.
Women are trained to be relational. That’s how women do business as mothers. They get together in small groups and talk about each other and who does great work. They trade referrals of babysitters and this and that, where to get bargains, and that’s what women do. They are the original networkers and relational networkers.
And it’s all about trust. We have talked about that in other previous podcasts and we have quoted Steven Covey in the Speed of Trust. If it’s all about trust, trust only comes when there is a relationship built, a plausible, credible relationship. So if trust is only going to come when there is a relationship, if you are focused on the transaction, you are never going to get to the relationship, you are never going to get to the trust and you’re not going to generate as much business.
While women have scored better at it in terms of the survey we did, and we have anecdotal information to support that, the bottom line is everyone who focused on relationships versus transaction, whether you are a man or a woman, scored higher. Forget about gender. If someone looked at the question of has networking played a role in your success and focused on business versus relationship, they were twice as likely to say no. About 110% more likely to say no if you focused on business first and relationship second. You were less than half as likely to be unsuccessful if you focused on relationship first.
Even if you take gender out of the equation, it is all about. Tammy, thank you very much for recognizing that it is all about relationships. I love that she said “it has taught me how to talk to complete strangers and be interested in their lives.”
Michael, I have to thank you for you as well. Thank you for reminding me why it is important to tell everyone where I am. I do it because I want people to know that I am out visiting and connecting with members all around the world.
To end the podcast, Priscilla, I will tell you that I am home for a few weeks spending time with my family, reintroducing myself because I have been on the road so much meeting with members all over the world. It is good to be home, but come January, I am hitting over 30 cities next year to meet BNI members all around the world. This was, I think, one of our more interesting podcasts, Priscilla, and I apologize for those things that Michael said. I think you are wonderful and anything but a blowhard. I love working with you.
Thank you, Ivan. I think you are a really fun person to be with. And thank you, Michael, for the feedback. I think that might be it for this week. Thank you so much. 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.