This is the halfway point of the twelve month Get Connected–Stay Connected campaign, so today John Meyer and Dr. Misner are talking about checking your progress with BNI Connect.
What does your profile look like now compared to when you started? Are you passing referrals online?
How is your chapter doing? Encourage the rest of your chapter to get involved with BNI Connect. Get the rest of your referral sources involved. One chapter spent the time usually reserved for the speaker filling out their profiles.
Are you using BNI Connect on an ongoing basis? Over time, using BNI Connect should become second nature. It takes a little practice, but it gets easier.
For an overview of the Get Connected–Stay Connected campaign, see the November “From the Founder” column in SuccessNet.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 346-
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 today?
I am doing great, Priscilla. Thank you very much. I have a guest, someone who is not new to BNI Podcast. He has been on probably more episodes than anyone else. That is the US National Director for BNI. He manages over 6200 chapters. He is also the Executive Director of BNI Ohio and a contributing author to the New York Times bestseller, Masters of Networking. That is my good friend and National Director for the US, John Meyer.
John, welcome to the podcast today.
Thanks, Ivan. It is good to be with you. Hi Priscilla.
Hi there, John.
It is good to have you back on and today we are going to be talking about the Get Connected, Stay Connected program. This is such an important program for BNI because it is all about bringing BNI Connect to the forefront of the organization. BNI Connect is absolutely helping BNI change the way the world does business.
We are for the first time in the history of the company, connected worldwide with our online program. We keep enhancing it and making it better and better. But it will only do all of the things that we want it to do if members get connected and stay connected.
Today, you want to talk about checking your progress on BNI Connect. You have three things that you want to talk about. Can you share the first of the three recommendations that you have for checking your progress?
Yeah. I would love to. Part of the excitement I really like about this topic, or this month I should say, is this is the halfway point of our 12 month program. What we wanted to do was we wanted to see where everybody is at, bring everybody up to speed and make sure they are following along with the program.
So the first topic that I wanted to talk about is how are the members doing? We have gone through five different topics and have asked to, through the Get Connected, Stay Connected program, increase their visibility. Increase their credibility with members, with the whole BNI Connect community, if you will.
Part of what I wanted to talk about today is just have people take a reflective look as to where have they come from and where have they gotten to in the Get Connected, Stay Connected campaign? What do their profiles look like now versus what they did when we first started? Are they starting to pass referrals online? Are they booking their one to ones online? Have they seen an increase in some of the production and activity that they have had in their chapter and their BNI experience?
So this is an exciting month. It is about reflection.
That begins with how you are doing as a member and keeping your profile up to date, adding things in. But what about your chapter? I think that is your second point. How is your chapter doing?
The chapter is the support system, if you will, in BNI. If you have one member who is really engaged in Get Connected, Stay Connected or BNI Connect and really engaged in the BNI process but no one else from their chapter is, it kind of defeats the purpose.
I know that we have a lot of members who are now really starting to get involved in BNI Connect and what we want them to do is start to have communication with the rest of their chapters. “Hey, did you guys pass referrals online this week?” or “Are you willing to have a one to one? Let’s book it through BNI Connect.” “I noticed your profile hasn’t been updated in the last three months. I know you are working on something new now.”
Part of the whole member experience is getting the rest of their referral sources active in the program because if it is just one member, it loses a lot of its pizazz. When you get everybody in the chapter engaged in it, it’s really second to none as far as what the opportunities can be.
Let me tell you something that happened recently that I thought was pretty cool. In the last month or so, I got on BNI Connect and looked up a real estate agent and then hired the real estate agent to do some realty work for me. A florist. I hired a florist. I had something coming up and wanted to get my wife some flowers. I hired a local florist.
By the way, I ended up selecting the florist that was several miles away as opposed to the one that was three blocks away because the one that was several miles away had a complete profile. It looked great. The one that was just a few blocks away didn’t have hardly anything on it.
I also hired an auto repair BNI member. I bring it up because one of those people, when they told the chapter, “Hey, Ivan used me and he used me because of BNI Connect,” the next meeting, the entire chapter instead of the speaker, they all were told to bring laptops and everybody fill out their profiles. She helped everyone to complete their profile.
So you are talking about getting your chapter engaged. They literally had the entire chapter complete their profile as a result of getting a referral specifically because of BNI Connect. How cool is that?
I love that story. And the message go buy some flowers, too, so that is a good thing.
True, it was a plus on both sides. So what is your third point that you would like to make on checking your progress?
The third point is really what members do with the information once they have done it the first time. Maybe they go in and say this is pretty easy. They update their profile and they schedule a one to one. They pass thank you for closed business. But if they only do it once, then again, they are missing the boat.
We want people to be ongoing through the process of BNI Connect. We want this to become second nature for them to use. The more they use it, the easier it is going to be. The easier it is going to be, the more comfortable it is going to be.
I just want to make sure that members understand this is not a one time shot when the announcement comes up about what to do this month. Hopefully, they are doing it ongoing month to month, and each one of the activities because it’s easy. It is not something that is cumbersome or very difficult to do. It is not time consuming. Go and do it. You can see how easy it is.
It does take a little practice, though. I mean, I think sometimes people think that they can get on and just do it. And you can’t. You have to practice a little bit. So I would tell people have some patience. Every time you start a new program- if you have never used a particular program and you start it. I know the first time I used a particular program that I got, I was like man, this is insane. But the truth is I just didn’t know the program. After a few months, I was like, oh yeah, this is easy.
I was telling friend, “You should use that. It’s really easy.” It wasn’t that easy the first time I used it, but once I got started, it was much easier. BNI Connect has improved so much over the last couple of years. It is fairly easy. Get in and practice it. Practice it.
That’s a great point. A real quick story. I received an email from a member when I sent out the issue about the pest control online. A member was not adamant was basically said, “I don’t have the time to go and fill out an online referral slip. It was just much easier for me to fill out a paper slip.”
So I responded, “What one the paper slip do you fill out that you don’t fill out online?” We went through the entire process and they said, “Oh, there is really nothing different that I would do online versus on a piece of paper.”
There wasn’t any new information or anything different. It was just unusual for them. It was something different for them. People just need to go in and become familiar with it and then you will enjoy how easy it is and the benefits that it provides them with being able to start to identify their return on investment.
That’s what I would say. In order to determine success in anything, you really have to track your results. For their first time in the history of the company, you can track your results online with this system. That helps track your return on investment. We anticipated that BNI would come out last year with 3.8 billion in business. Last year we discovered through tracking referrals that members reported themselves that the actual amount of business generated by members was 6.5 billion dollars worth of business. For the members based on the members.
You can’t determine the return on investment unless you put in the data. Doing it manually doesn’t do that. It doesn’t help you. It doesn’t help the organization. Take a little time and do it. Anything you would add to this topic, John?
No. I think we covered the highlights and the key components. One is use it. Two is communicate with your chapter and three is continue to use it.
Well, we really appreciate you putting together this program. You are the brain child along with some of the other members of this team. We appreciate you getting together with us to do these monthly calls. The Get Connected Stay Connected program is part of BNI Connect. BNI Connect is a game changer for the organization. If you haven’t gone on-
By the way, usage is up. For those of you listening to it, this is working. Usage is going up and has continued to go up every month. We are seasonal a little bit but this month compared to last month of last year, we are up substantially. Well done everybody. John, thank you for your efforts. We really appreciate it. Members, I look forward to seeing you on BNI Connect.
Back to you, Priscilla.
That’s great. I think that is it for this week. I want to thank both of you, Dr. Misner and John for participating. 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.