This is a rebroadcast of Episode 56.
This episode is a follow-up to one of Dr. Misner’s blog posts, and to Episode 48, which both got a lot of responses. There were lots of positive responses, but also a lot of respondents with the “yeahbut” syndrome. Dr. Misner has been through three recessions, and here is what his history tells him: People with a strong network will survive and even thrive during a downturn in the economy.
The first recession that BNI went through, membership initially slowed down, but after the first three or four months, people realized that they have to do something, and that’s when they got “networking religion” and started joining like crazy. The same thing has happened twice since then, and we’re seeing signs that it’s happening again.
But don’t wait too long to join a chapter—by the time 7 or 8 months have passed, all the places in your local chapter may be full.
Only the strong, the smart, and the networked survive a recession. Every chapter that refuses to participate in the recession will grow and flourish.
If you want to get serious about improving your networking skills, read Dr. Misner’s column in Entrepreneur Magazine. If you wait until the recession is over, your business will be over.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 056 –
Hello everyone. Welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast brought to you by networkingnow.com the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I’m Priscilla Rice and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I’m joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan, how are you?
I’m doing great, Priscilla. Thank you very much.
What do you have to share with us today?
I have a fun podcast, I think. This one is “I Absolutely Refuse to Participate in a Recession.” It’s a follow up to a blog article entitled, “I Refuse to Participate in a Recession, ” that I wrote recently. I also did a podcast episode 48 entitled,” Combating a Slow Economy.”
I did a follow up on that because I had so many responses, particularly on the blog and quite a few on the podcast as well. People on the blog responded, saying they really understood the power of saying, “I refuse to participate in a recession,” and looking for ways to make the recession actually work for them. I told a whole story about a real estate agent that went after all of the people that didn’t want to buy in the past when the real estate was high and now the real estate was low. That was how he was selling a lot. It’s a great podcast and a great blog. Go back and listen to it if you haven’t listened to it. It’s really interesting. I did this podcast and the blog , and there were some people who emailed me directly afterwards with a really, really bad case of the “yeah but syndrome.”
You’ve never heard of that? It’s a scientific term. It goes like this. Yeah, but Ivan, things are different for me. Yeah, but Ivan, things are different in this area or different in this business or different in my situation or different in my alternate universe. I call it the “yeah but syndrome.” It’s when people hear something and they find all the reasons where it doesn’t apply to them. Yeah I understand, but…it doesn’t apply to me for this reason or that reason. Some times I feel like saying to these people, “Yes, yes, you are different. You are different than the people that I’m talking about because you are going to fail. They will not.” But then I remember I have to keep that as internal dialog. I probably shouldn’t say that. That would get me in trouble.
I’ve been through three recession periods in my business, and I don’t need a crystal ball. I have history. Here’s what my history tells me as it relates to BNI. People with a strong network will survive and even thrive during down turns in the economy. Clearly there’s been a down turn in the economy in the United States, and I’m being told by BNI members around the world that it appears to start happening in their country. When you tend to have a recession in the United States, it tends to have a ripple effect, and so it’s inevitable that it will often happen in their country. I’ve seen this repeated over and over again.
This is how it plays out at BNI in particular, this is how I know we’re moving into a slow economy. In my blog I cue music and fade away to a vision of the past. Just imagine you hear music and we’re fading away into the past and we go back to one of the past recessionary periods where I was running BNI. I remember the very first recession that BNI was going through. The first three or four months, membership slowed down. Not as many people were joining and I was hearing people say things like the economy’s bad, I can’t afford to join. Things are not good in this area or things are different in my alternate universe. These were all reasons why they didn’t want to join BNI. I was really nervous. I could see the economy slowing And I had seen many people saying, I’m not going to join right now.
Then about 4 months into the recession, something really funny happens. I was really amazed by this material the first time. People start to realize that they better do something. and they better do it quickly, because the recession’s here and their business is going to hell in a hand basket, right before their very eyes. At that point is where the magic happens. That’s where they get what I call networking religion, where they realize they better get out of their cave and really, really network to build their business, and they better do it quickly. It ‘s really amazing that in BNI , even though we’ll see a period of things slowing down a little bit, during the beginning of a recession, all of a sudden things will take off like crazy because people realize, oh my goodness, business is tough. I better really hunker down and do things that are creative to build my business quickly and to beat my competition. My competition is out there increasing their advertising and they’re hitting the streets. I need to do things that will keep me in business. Then they start joining like crazy. I’ve seen this in every single recession.
The reason I bring this up on the BNI Podcast is that I’ve started having some directors and even some members say to me, “I have not seen a slow down, and I actually heard people say, we have a recession. I can’t afford to spend a few hundred dollars on membership cost. I tell them, “Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s all going to be OK. Your chapter will build.” Once we’re about three or four months into the bad economy is when people get their networking religion. They realize they better do something. This is the most cost effective form of marketing there can be. We’re going to see people start to come back and say “I need to do something and this a great way for me to build my business.”
Cue the music, fade back into today. Here we are today. It looks like we’re in the beginning of an economic down turn. Visitors who come to the organization have a choice to make. They can wait six months as some people have done in the past, and then all of a sudden they’re worried because business is really bad and they try to join a chapter, and guess what? So many people end up trying to join chapters that it’s actually sometimes difficult to get into chapters when the recession is really up and running because so many people have come in. One of the things I like to tell directors and members during times like this is only the strong, smart and networked survive a recession. I want to repeat that. Only the strong, the smart and the networked survive a recession. Visitors have time still to improve their existing personal network. If business people have been active in networking but really want to improve it, now is the time to get back to basics and reintroduce yourself to the fundamentals.
For members of BNI and for directors in the organization, don’t let the economy make you nervous about the strength of a chapter. A weak economy is the very kind that people need to get together and support each other and build their business through referrals. This is the time to build strong chapters. I absolutely refuse to participate in a recession and I guarantee you every chapter that believes in and practices that will do extremely well during this period.
That’s great information. Thank you, Dr. Misner. Do you have any last minute additions to that?
I recommend, if you have a chance, go take a look at the blog I wrote on refusing to participate in a recession. Take a look at the column I write for entrepreneur.com. I have over eighty-three articles that I’ve written there, if you want to get really serious right now about improving your networking skills so that you can beat your competition. They’ll be going out of business and you’ll be thriving during this time. Go and immerse yourself into a culture of learning. Read this material and improve your skills. If you wait for the recession to be over, by that time your business will be over. Start now. Immerse yourself in learning how to network more effectively and you’ll get through this with flying colors.
Okay. Thank you. I think that might be all we have time for this week. I want to remind our listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by Networkingnow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you’ll join us next week for another great episode of the Official BNI Podcast.