Because you give away a little bit of your reputation when you make a referral, trust is very important to the referral process. BNI can accelerate the process of developing trust between BNI members through regular 1-2-1s.
To be effective, a 1-2-1 needs to be both structured and social. The more you can find overlapping areas of professional and personal interest, the more successful your 1-2-1 is going to be. The Gains Exchange form (see below) is an effective tool for discovering these common interests.
As you can see from the graph below, there is a direct linear correlation between the number of 1-2-1s conducted and the number of referrals given and received. Those who do three or more 1-2-1s per month give and receive twice as many referrals as those who do one or fewer 1-2-1s in a month.
Listen to Episode 191 for a great example of how this works.
Do you have a story about how 1-2-1s have helped you get referrals? Share your story in the comments.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of Episode 472 –
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, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Well, I am actually home this week. I am in Austin, Texas trying to catch up on some of my writing. Today I am going to talk about, I think, a really interesting topic. It is based on some research that Beatrice Sparacino did recently. It is about 1-2-1s.
When you give a referral to someone, we have talked about this in the podcast before- when you give a referral to someone, you give a little of your reputation away. If it is a good referral, it enhances your reputation. If you give a bad referral, it hurts your reputation.
The referral process works most efficiently if you know, like and trust someone. Trust is particularly important. Therefore, referrals and trust tend to go hand in hand. Trust is important to the referral process. How do you expedite that within the context of networking? How can you move that along?
BNI can be, I think, an accelerator of the proces, reducing the time required to build trust between individuals. One of the best ways to accelerate that trust is through regular 1-2-1s.
Research involving hundreds of BNI members in Europe was recently concluded by Beatrice as part of her thesis in Milan, Italy. She had a really interesting thesis, and over the next few months, I am going to be sharing some of the results of that. I have co-authored an article with her in SuccessNet. That is what I am talking about today, material from that article.
In here, there will be a graph. So if you are listening to this on iTunes, when you get a chance, go to bnipodcast.com so that you can see the graph that I am going to be talking about. I am going to post the graph up here.
What is key in conducting an effective 1-2-1 is that it needs to be both structured and social. It’s kind of interesting. You want it structured but you also want it to be social- a combination of a business discussion with enough personal information to allow both parties to get to know one another better.
If you continue the process, you will soon discover that this is the key to overlapping the areas of professional and personal interest. The more you can find overlapping areas of professional and personal interest, the more the 1-2-1 is going to me.
One of the BNI tools that we recommend you use to achieve this is the GAINS exchange. I talked about the GAINS exchange previously on the podcast. It stands for goals, accomplishments, interests, networks and skills. We will have a PDF of the GAINS exchange also on this podcast that people can download so when people are doing 1-2-1s- try to use the GAINS exchange, particularly with other BNI members.
This is a great tool to use to get to know people better, both socially and professionally.
We know that the quality of the 1-2-1s important. What is interesting is the result of the research that Beatrice did. The quantity of 1-2-1s, not just the quality but the quantity, is really important. You can see that in the graph that we are going to attach here. There is a direct linear correlation between the number of 1-2-1s conducted and the number of referrals given and received. So then the more 1-2-1s people did, the more referrals they gave and they received.
Those who do three or four 1-2-1s a month both give and receive double the number of referrals as people who do one or less. Let me repeat that. If you do three or more 1-2-1s per month, you are more likely to give twice as many referrals. More importantly, you are more likely to receive twice as many referrals as people who do one or less.
So by just- if you said to somebody, “I can tell you how to double the number of referrals that you get in BNI,” anyone would say, “Yeah, please, tell me.” Do three or four 1-2-1s every month. One a week. And you will double the number of referrals that you get.
You see, once you get to know someone and develop a level of trust, you are clearly more likely to refer this person. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support these finds.
For example, episode 191 of BNI Podcast includes a great story, Priscilla. I don’t know if you remember it was about a BNI member named Allen who was really concerned after the big recession of 2008. He was a commercial real estate agent whose industry was decimated by the recession. But after he joined BNI, he just did a ton of 1-2-1s and he actually had his best year ever after the recession. Really in the midst of the recession, he had his best year ever because of the number of 1-2-1s he did. Do you recall that podcast, Priscilla?
I don’t recall the specific podcast, but the way this works, I have seen this over and over again in the group and in my personal experience as well.
Yeah. So the Milan study that Beatrice did clearly shows hard evidence, hard evidence of what Allen’s story suggested, namely that there is a direct correlation between the number of 1-2-1s carried out and the number of referrals generated. The higher the number of 1-2-1s, the higher the number of referrals.
You’ve got to have quality 1-2-1s, not just sitting down with someone and saying, “Eh, tell me what you do again. What is it that you do? And here is what I do,” and that is it. That is not a quality 1-2-1. They have to be quality 1-2-1s and that is why we recommend the use of the GAINS exchange as a way to help make sure that you really go deep and do this properly.
It is okay to talk about some social things. I know I have told the story about two guys who found out they were both soccer coaches and all of a sudden really made a strong connection. Even though they had been in the chapter together for a year and never referred each other, they started referring each other after they found out they were soccer coaches.
I have developed relationships, professional relationships, with people after I found out that they loved to play chess. And I love to play chess. We started making a connection and stay in touch as a result of chess, for crying out loud. Go figure. But it is the social interaction that often makes a very big difference.
BNI provides members with methods and instruments to activate this process and as the results show from this study that Beatrice did, BNI is a little like a gym membership. Paying a subscription to get fit is just not enough. You need to actually show up and work out in order to get the results. BNI functions the same way. The more effort you put into the program, the better the results.
So start setting up your 1-2-1s with your fellow members today. That is the most important message. Three to four a month, and you are, over time, going to generate twice the number of referrals.
That is some great advice. I am going to follow it myself.
And we would love to hear your story, as I have always said. If you are listening to this and you have had a great experience with 1-2-1s and they have helped you, please share that story here on BNIPodcast. Feel free to comment.
I know I have said this before. I read every comment that I get. Oftentimes, I share those stories that you share publicly at BNI events that I go to. So leave your message. Leave your story here on BNI podcat. That’s all I have today, Priscilla, unless you have anything else.
No, I think that is it. So thank you so much, Dr. Misner. 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.