This week The Official BNI Podcast celebrates 500 episodes and almost 10 years of podcasting. The podcast allows Dr. Misner to talk directly to BNI members and enables BNI members to talk directly with Dr. Misner through the comments
This week’s Ask Ivan question comes from Alberto, a BNI member in Italy.
There are people I’ve provided with good referrals, and they got good business from those referrals. I’ve never received referrals back from them. I’m going to ask them for more of a commitment on giving me referrals. Do I have to provide them with additional referrals, or not?
If you’re giving someone a lot of referrals and you’re not getting any in return, sit down with the person and walk through all the business you’ve given them in a way that shows you care about their success. Ask them how each and every referral worked out. Make sure that the referrals you gave were as good as you think they were. If the referrals didn’t turn out as well as you thought they did, ask how you can improve in giving them quality referrals. (It’s a good question to ask even if the referrals did work out well.)
If (and only if) the referrals benefited the person, tell them how glad you are that you were able to help them, because that’s what BNI is about: supporting one another and giving each other referrals. Then remind them that sending business your way would be really helpful to you. Ask them if they have a few minutes now to talk about how they can reciprocate.
If there’s someone who just refuses to give you business, you might not want to refer them. But that’s rarely the case, and effective networking is relational, not transactional. When you give referrals, they will come back to you–but not always from the person you gave the referral to.
Share your own experiences with reciprocal referrals in the comments.
Brought to you by the Networking for Success YouTube Channel.
Complete Transcript of Episode 500 –
Hello everybody and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube, which features Dr. Ivan Miser and many other networking experts. 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, and could this possibly be our 500th podcast?
This is out 500th podcast, Priscilla. You have been with me almost since the very beginning. I think you came onboard on podcast number 32. Is that right?
That’s true, Ivan.
So almost 500 podcasts since this started. Thank you so much for everything that you have done over all of these years. I think you have produced a great podcast. Every Wednesday for 10 years. We started in April of 2007, so it is almost exactly 10 years that I have been doing this podcast. You came onboard with me on that very first year, so thank you, Priscilla.
You are welcome and thank you, Ivan, because you are a very consistent person, and it builds for all of us and creates information that helps us grow. It wouldn’t happen unless you were so consistent.
Thank you. I appreciate that. We are completely off script here but it’s funny you say that because I often tell people that everybody has some strengths that really help them in business. I tell people I may not be the smartest guy in the room. I may not be the most successful guy in the room, but I am almost always the most persistent guy in the room. I am just like a dog with a bone. I hang on to a good idea and work it, work it and work it.
I think the BNIpodcast.com site is probably one of the best ideas that I have had at BNI in that it flattens the communication hierarchy within the organization, where I can talk to members directly via these podcast and they can talk to me through their comments on these podcasts. Believe me, I read every comment that get puts up. Maybe not that week, but I read every comment that gets put up on BNIpodcast.com. So it flattens the communication hierarchy.
I appreciate all the work you have done. Now, this is our 500th podcast. There is one person in particular who says it is not exactly that number because you have class is podcasts, Ivan. So yes, that it true. We do some classic podcasts every month or so and the reason for that is there are some topics that just need to be revisited. People need to see it. They may have been 10 years ago, but the topic is still relevant today. So we run it as a classic podcast rather than basically redo the whole thing.
So yeah, there are classic podcasts but counting our classic podcasts, we are at 500. We should hit those week’s topic. We are doing part of the Ask Ivan. I thought a question from a a member would make a great 500th podcast.
This question comes from Alberto. Alberto is from Italy. He is a BNI member in Italy, and he says, “I need your valuable advice on the following point. There are people I have provided with good referrals and then they got good business from those referrals. I have never received referrals back from them. I fully understand and accept the BNI givers gain policy. I am going to ask them for more of a commitment on giving me referrals, though. But the question that arises for me now is do I have to provide them with additional referrals or not while I am waiting for them to give me referrals?” And he says, “Caio, From Alberto.”
So that is the question. Do you need to reciprocate on the referral that you are giving out?
Here is my advice to Alberto and my advice to you:
If this happens, where you are giving someone a lot of referrals and you are not getting anything in return, the first thing to do is to sit down with the people you have given referrals to. Don’t just say, “I have given you all of these referrals. How come you have not given me any?” Don’t do that. Stop yourself from doing that.
Instead, walk through. Do a 1-2-1 with these people. Sit down and walk through the ingredients you have given them in a way that shows you care about their success. It’s not an interrogation. “Hey, I have given you this. I have given you that.”
Instead, it is, “I think I have given you three referrals this year. I wanted to talk about how they worked out for you. I gave you this one. How has that gone? How did that one work out? Oh that turned into business? What did you think of working with that person? How was it?”
Ask them how each and every referral, one at a time, worked out for them. Spend time with each referral and ask questions about how it worked out. This is important. Make sure that the referrals you gave were as good as you think they were. Don’t make assumptions about them. You may have thought it was platinum and it turned out to be dirt. You want to make sure.
We go into this sometimes like I have given them referrals and they haven’t given me any and we find out that none of those referrals worked out. They may not have worked out because maybe it was not quite as good of a referral as you thought.
Now, of course, their sales ability- that always comes into play, but that is why it is good to ask questions. Find out if the referral was even receptive to their contact. See if any of the referrals turned into business for your fellow member. Do that first.
If they didn’t turn out as well as you thought that they were, then ask them. Here is the really important thing. Ask them how could you improve in giving them referrals, quality referrals. Actually, that is even a good question if the referrals did work out. “I am really good that the referrals worked out. How could I improve in giving you additional quality referrals?”
Now, you know, this could be a disappointing conversation for you because you may have gone into it thinking you have given them a ton of business and you’re not, but you know, step up. Ask these questions.
Let’s assume that it works out exactly as Alberto thinks, that he has given referrals and he has not gotten any. Those referrals have, let’s assume, have worked out well. So for those members who really benefitted from the referrals that you gave them, then and only then do you say or tell them how glad you are that you were able to help them. Actually, you can say that at any time. But here is the layout. Tell them how glad you are that you were able to help them and that is what BNI is all about- supporting one another in giving each other referrals. And that you are really pleased these referrals worked out. Then remind them that sending business your way would be really helpful to you. Ask them if they have a few minutes now to talk about how they can do that, how they could reciprocate.
Think about the difference. I have seen this done, where people think they are not getting reciprocal referrals and they make an assumption. In fact, the referrals they gave weren’t as good as they thought. I have seen that. If you go to somebody and you are upset and then you find out that the referrals weren’t that good, now you are eating crow.
It is good to know, though.
Or let’s say you do find out that the referrals were good and then you just launch into how they are not supporting you. Then that makes the other person defensive. Neither of those approaches are going to work. Trust me on this.
What can work and generally does work is to show genuine concern for the other person. If you discover those referrals didn’t work out, then I wouldn’t even go down the road of asking for reciprocal referrals. I would ask them if those didn’t work out, how can I do a better job for you? If you are doing business with someone who really does believe in givers gain, they are going to ask the same of you.
But you have to have the conversation. Only when you have that conversation and find out that the referrals have, in fact, been good would you then say, “I would love for you to be able to reciprocate if possible. Do you have some time to talk about how you might go about being able to refer me?”
Look, I am a realist. If there is someone in the group that refuses to give you business, I can understand why you might not want to continue to refer them, which really goes back to the heart of Alberto’s question. So if they really don’t want to give you business, I get it. You might now want to refer them. That is rarely the case.
If you are listening to this podcast, remember effective networking is about being relational, not transactional. What goes around comes around. It might not even come around from where you sent it.
You and I, Priscilla, were talking before we started recording, about how you can give a referral one place and get it from someplace else. You might be getting referrals from people who you have never given a referral to.
That just made me think. Think about the fact that there may be people who are giving you referrals and you haven’t given a referral to them. How would you like them to come to you and ask for referrals? Would you prefer that they sit down and ask you how those referrals worked out and then ask for help in return or ovule you just feel comfortable with them saying, “Hey, I have given you referrals. You haven’t given me referrals. You need to do it.”
Clearly, I think you would prefer the first one where there is a real, genuine concern for the relationship. Wouldn’t you, Priscilla? I know I would.
Yeah. I was just thinking another way to approach it is to say to the person that you would like to create a power partner with them and is there something that you as a member could do to increase the possibility of us being able to do reciprocal referrals? Not assuming that it would necessarily come from each other, go back and forth, but that you would like to have that as a goal and is there a way, is there something you could do to make that happen?
Yeah. I think that is the kind of conversation you need to have. You have to remember, too, the value of the referrals. You know, if you are talking about a florist and a real estate agent, the real estate agent is probably going to give the florist a whole lot more referrals than the florist is going to give the real estate agent, but one good referral could be worth a lot of flowers for the florist. So it’s not just the quantity. It’s the quality. It’s the value of the referrals. All of these things have to go into the consideration.
Here is the bottom line: You are planting seeds that will germinate with good relationships. So Alberto, everyone, my advice is work on the relationships and the business will follow. Clear, open, honest, direct communication. Sitting down and showing you care about their success is the best way for you to get reciprocal referrals.
I would love to hear everyone’s feedback on this one. What do you think? And have you tried something else that has worked for you? I would love to hear that. Thanks, PRiscilla, and again, congratulations on being with me for number 500.
Thank you for being my partner in this. I really appreciate it. Okay. Well, I think that is it I for this week. This topic was part of the Ask Ivan series, and if you have a question for Ivan, you can send them to [email protected] I would also like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us again next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.