It’s not what you know or who you know–it’s how well you know them. If you approach networking with a genuine desire to get to know others, you’re going to increase your success. This applies not only to fellow BNI members, but to people you meet in any context.
Here are four tips to help you deepen relationships.
- When you meet someone new, make a personal phone call and set up a meeting to get to know each other. Do not attempt to sell this person.
- Make personal phone calls to anyone who has helped and referred you in the past. Find out what they’re up to.
- Create a touch point list of 50 people you want to stay in touch with over the course of the year, and get in touch with them.
- Two weeks after your first touch point, follow up with a call and make an appointment for a one-to-one.
Once you find your overlapping areas of interest, the relationship will begin to grow by itself.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of Episode 476 –
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?
Hi. Actually, I am back in Austin, Texas again. I have spent a few weeks here this month. I am on the road so much it is great to be home for a few weeks.
I am doing this podcast from Austin today.
Yeah, go ahead.
No, I was just going to say why isn’t it about who you know?
You know, there is the old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know”, right? You have heard that. We have all heard that. You have probably said it. I know years ago, I said it. But I am here to tell you it’s not about what you know or who you know. It really is how well you know each other.
Yeah. That’s good.
You know, networking can be so mercenary, especially if we treat networking like chess pieces, using them for your own best advantage. If you approach networking from a personal angle with a genuine desire to get to know others, you can have far greater success.So how can you deepen the relationship with people to get to the point where they are willing to help you or refer you in the future?
In this podcast, we are talking about not only BNI members but people you may meet in your networking efforts, people you may meet in a service club, people you may meet at a chamber function and, of course, people you may meet in BNI. So this applies to not only to your members that you know but also to others that you meet in networking opportunities.
I am going to give you four different techniques that will help you deepen your existing relationships with people to get to the point where they would be willing to help you or refer you in the future.
One is give them a personal call. I know, I know- calling someone on the phone is so last century, but hear me out here. Sending an email or a text won’t get the same results as someone as actually making the effort to call someone. So set up a 1-2-1 and do not, do not, do not try to sell them something. Set up this meeting to deepen the connection to start to build a professional relationship.
Now, if you don’t want to do a phone, I think Skype calls are great, especially Skype video. So you know, if you are dealing with somebody who does Skype video, Skype video them and have a conversation with them.
I do most of my meetings, by the way, on Skype video. Certainly almost all my staff meetings are on Skype video. I want to see my staffers. When I am meeting people for the first time and we are talking about a possible project, I try to do it via Skype. I want to see the person. Because my business is global, they are not always in Texas. I can’t always meet with them face to face, so something via Skype works well.
So connect with them. Make a phone call.
Second, make personal calls to all the people who have helped or referred you business in the past. Here, you certainly want to reach out to your BNI members and anyone else who has referred people to you or helped you in some way. Ask them how things are going. Try to learn more about their current activities so you can help them in some way.
What we are talking about here are touchpoints. You want to make touchpoints, connections. So you call people you met, you want to talk to them a little bit. You want to call people who have referred people to you.
And then third, you want to actually put together a touchpoint list of 50 people or so that you would like to stay in touch with this year. You make a list of other people. Include anyone who has sent business your way in the last 12 months, as well as any prospects that you connected with recently. Send them cards on the next holiday. Connect with them on social media. Stay connected in any other way that you believe that they may be interested in.
So you make some personal calls with people that you want to get to know. You make personal calls with people who have referred business to you. You create a touchpoint list of people that you want to stay a little more connected with.
Then, number four- this is important- two weeks or so after you have connected with some of these people, call them and see what is going on. Especially if you are connecting with people on social media or if you send them a card on a holiday. Reach out to them later and connect with them.
Now is the perfect time to maybe go a little bit deeper in building that relationship, maybe setting up an appointment if they are local to go and have coffee. Or setting up an appointment to do a 1-2-1, where you can find out how things are going for them in business.
This is where what I am talking about is it’s not what you know or who you know. It’s how well you know each other that really counts. This is where I think that people in BNI are sometimes a little more superficial than they could be. I meet members in BNI who say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know them. I see them in BNI every week. I know them.”
So I quiz them, Priscilla. I say to them, “Okay, so you really know your fellow BNI members? Give me three that you know.” And they will give me three names.
I take the first one. I’ll say, “Are they in a relationship? Are they married or on a relationship?” Amazing how many people will say, “I am not sure.” This one, they usually get right, though. They’ll say, “Yeah.”
I will say, “Do they have any children? If so, how many and what ages?” That one they always fail. They almost always fail. They may know how many kids they have, but they don’t know ages. ”
I will say, “What are their hobbies? What do they love to do other than business?” That one they always fail.
I usually stop there but I have two or three more that I can throw by them. It is pretty quick in that discussion that they realize they don’t really know the person that well.
When I say that you have to go deep and really build a relationship, I mean that. Not just this superficial stuff and just meet them once a week then thinking that you know somebody.
Think about it. We all went to school. We met kids in school that were in our class. We saw them almost everyday. In college, we saw them once or twice a week. Does that mean you really know someone because you see them in class once or twice a week?
No, there may be a handful that you hang out and you got to know well. That is kind of what BNI is like. You see them once a week. That doesn’t mean you know them.
So when I say it is know what you know or who you know but how well you know them, I really mean that. Finding touchpoints and going deeper and really getting to know people are absolutely key to success in BNI.
I did a podcast a few weeks ago about 1-2-1’s and referrals and a study that was done in a university in Milan. Go back and listen to that podcast because 1-2-1s really do make a difference in the amount of referrals that you generate and that is, I think, one of the really valuable ways that touchpoints go deeper with people.
Any thoughts, Priscilla?
Yeach. I just want to interrupt for one second and say you suggest that people use the GAINS report.
GAINS exchange, right. I brought that to my chapter as an educational moment and everybody was really receptive because it had sort of slipped out of our reportois, I should day.
That is easy to happen, but the GAINS exchange is such a great tool and here on the podcast, just do a search on GAINS exchange and you will find it. I know it is here in PDF from the podcast. The GAINS exchange is- you know, I did it as a way of helping to expedite the discussion about who you are and what you are interested in. The whole idea with the GAINS exchange is to find overlapping areas of interest because as you find overlapping areas of interest, you then make a better connection and can build a better relationship because people tend to build better relationships with people that they have overlapping areas of interest with.
That is why networking is by nature clumpy, which is a technical term. It is cluster-like. People tend to hang out with people like themselves, so if you can find overlapping areas of interest, then you find that connection with somebody that makes you want to stay in touch with them or connected with them.
So the GAINS exchange is a fantastic way to help do that. Thanks for bringing that up.
I am happy to.
Well that is everything that I have for today. Remember it is not what you know or who you know but how well you know each other that counts.
That’s great. Okay. 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.