Michael Maher of ReferCo, author of 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication, joins Dr. Misner on today’s podcast to talk about how he was able to net more than $1 million per year through networking, thanks to BNI.
When he joined BNI, Michael set an annual referral goal: give 1000 referrals and receive 500 referrals. The first year he received 250 years and 8 years after that he received more than 500 referrals, when most real estate agents get 3-5 referrals per year.
How did he do this? Through what he calls the networking stack: stacking networking appointments back to back before and after your BNI meeting. You can also introduce these referral partners to each other between meetings: clients to potential clients, BNI members to potential BNI members, and so forth.
The next part of this method is to develop a home court advantage. Orchestrate the ultimate first impression by becoming a regular at a local restaurant and having your networking stack meetings there. The staff of the restaurant provides additional endorsement for you, their valued customer, and takes great care of your guest.
The effectiveness of these two techniques is increased by an increasing “Givers Gain” type of mentality in consumers, who are members of what Michael calls the Generosity Generation and want to work with people who say “I am here to help.” The 7L system is designed to get you from giving to gaining.
Brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube.
Complete Transcript of Episode 542 –
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, how are you and where are you?
I just got back from a trip. I was in Oahu. It’s a great place to do business, but we had a Transformational Leadership Council meeting. I got to peak to the BNI chapters there, so it was a great visit.
Today, I have a guest on my show. It was a guest actually recommended by you, Priscilla. Thank you so much for recommending Michael to me. Michael Maher is the CEO and Founder of ReferCo. He is a leading authority on business referrals. Michael rocketed to the top of the real estate profession by netting one million dollars in his third year of real estate. He has been called one of the greatest sales people in the world by Ninja Selling’s Larry Kendall, and he currently has two top selling book on Amazon. Two. I know that is really difficult. I know that firsthand. Well done, Michael. He has Seven Levels of Communication, Going from Relationship to Referrals, which I am very pleased to have personally endorsed and The Miracle Morning for Real Estate Agents.
He built his business with networking and referrals. He is a former BNI President and Educational Coordinator. I would like to welcome Michael Mayer to the show. Thanks, Michael.
Well, thank you. It is an honor and a privilege and you have been a heck of a mentor to me and my businesses over the years. Masters of Networking, the 29%, the Whole Business by Rederral. BNI has been a very, very big part of me and my education in business, so thank you.
Thank you. You are very kind. So tell me about your BNI experience.
Yeah. So that is where it kind of starts, right? I read books like Masters of Networking and How to Swim with Sharks without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey Mackay. Networking was a part of the advice there. So I joined a BNI, had a phenomenal experience as the Educational Coordinator and the PResident. During that time, our chapter did a million dollars in business just with the chapter. But even more powerfully personally is that my business grew from just a fledgling real estate agent to doing 187 referrals and netting right around a million dollars in my third year and I netted over a million the next eight straight years and over two million a couple of those years entirely through repeat referral business.
So my BNI experience was really kind the seeds of the tree that grew into The Seven Levels of Communication, Going from Relationship to Referrals. One of those was, okay, when I sent to the meeting, I was like, okay, this is fantastic. The whole idea of being accountable to giving referrals – think about that, right- was very new to me at the time. I will tell you that set a seed off where I started setting a referral goal every year. It was I will give 1000 referrals and receive 500 referrals.
When I set my goal at that, I did 250 referrals the first year and then eight years after that, I received over 500 referrals a year in an industry where the typical agent gets three to five referrals. So know 10x. We are talking 100x difference just with the seed of thought.
It was really about how do I master this networking? How do I go from kind of winging it and just kind of doing networking on the side to winning it and truly doing networking on purpose? That led to a couple of strategies.
One of those was the networking stack. I would go to BNI and I noticed- well, when was the best time to meet with other BNI members? It was immediately before or immediately the meeting. I didn’t have to worry about being late myself, them being late, or missing because they were already there, which evolved into this strategy – and I want to thank you for that because we now have thousands upon thousands of coaching clients who are doing what is called the networking stack, which is just stacking your working appointments back to back to back.
So 11:30 – 1:00: have your networking lunch. 1:00-2:00: a networking coffee. 2:00-3:00 a networking coffee and then 3:00-4:00- another networking coffee. It sounds like maybe a lot of work for a long period but the fact is the benefits far outweigh that because they are not being late, you are not being late, you only have to drive once, [and] they are coming to you, which is attractive versus chasing.
The next thing is you can intrude was them strategically between the meetings, so those people you need to introduce to each other- like let’s say you have a client who is phenomenal and then you have somebody who is thinking about being a client. Well, have your lunch with your client and then have your next meeting with a potential client. We also have breakfast stacks.
That is a unique idea that I haven’t heard. So you overlap them. So if you have somebody you want to meet, you do it during this meeting that you are talking about. I love that concept a lot, overlapping. Great idea.
Thank you. Yeah, the stacking is powerful because of the interactions and the introductions. It gives them a chance to talk about you and you get to take what might be a cold introduction and make it a lot warmer from the power of the third party endorsement, the other person talking about you versus you talking about you.
Right. That always works better. No doubt about it. Great suggestion. What else?
Yeah, so that led to okay, I was making a lot of first impressions. Right? These were the first meetings that I was having with people outside of a network. I would go to a chamber or a BNI meeting and I would meet somebody for the first time. Well, you know, you get to meet each other for like five minutes or less, and your loyalty is to your BNI members, so it’s these other people that I might want to have in BNI or I just want to have a good relationship with them- it was like how can I truly create and orchestrate the ultimate first impression instead of letting that happen to the gods? Right?
So that is the power of the strategy in 7L called the home court advantage. The home court advantage simply is being a regular at a restaurant where you would go often. But the power of this is you befriend the waitstaff, the hostess, the owner, and you let them know, “Hey, listen. Every week, or every other week, I am going to be bringing in three to four business leaders into your restaurant. “That’s the networking stack, right? But the home court advantage- I want you to realize that there are som many powers to this.
One is that you walk in behind them. So let’s say, Dr. Misner, I am meeting you in Kansas City. That would be the once in a lifetime for me. Isn’t that a great opportunity? So how do we maximize this opportunity? I was going to walk in a few seconds after you. You are going to be greeted by Katherine at the hostess stand. You are going to say, “I am here to meet Michael Mayher.” She is going to say, “Oh, Michael. Lucky you. That is going to be a great lunch!”
Then I walk in a few seconds after you and she goes, “Oh, Michael! How are you doing? She comes from the hostess stand and gives me a big hug. And she says, “Your guest for lunch is here.” And I would introduce you to Katherine. Now, as we are walking to the table, Table 49, which is in the corner, the other wait staff are going, “Hey Michael! How are you doing?” “Hey Michael. How is Max? Did he hit another home run today?” As we are walking, the waitstaff is just pouring on the love and interested in how things are going.
We get to the table and you start to sit of the left side and Katherine very deftly and calmly says, “Here, you sit on the right side. You are the guest of Michael. Michael is sitting on the left. He is already at his seat.” There is a strategy for being on the left side at this restaurant because I open up to see the whole restaurant and the person, my guest, can only see me. I am not worried about my focus and my concentration because I know I am going to be focused on them. Now I don’t have to worry about them because there are no distractions for them, right?
This is all the home court advantage concept, which I really like.
That’s right, how to orchestrate the ultimate first impression, right? Where it really can be big is with people that could be future business partners, like a developer or a builder in the real estate game, or financial planner in other games. The reason for that is because a lot of times, you will get this whole, “I don’t want to meet at your office and you don’t want to meet at my office” right? Usually that is with guys. It is one of those, “Hey, let’s just meet. I am having lunch at EBT anyway. Why don’t we meet there?”
Well, you know, it is a seemingly neutral location, but it is actually your home court advantage because you have built such a great relationship with all the people. Basically, they are stepping into your de facto dining room. I will tell you I got so much business and so much goodwill from delivering that experience. I even do it when I go out of town. I will establish a home court advantage in cities outside of my normal city and then when I entertain guests, everybody in the restaurant knows my name. I will have introduced myself I will have a private room in the back, and it is a better experience for the person who I am meeting with.
Michael, this is great content. I know we are almost out of time. I know that Priscilla had a question for you. Priscilla, you had a chance to see Michael speak. Do you want to share your question? And then we have about a minute or so to wrap up.
Michael was holding one of his conferences, and I was attending. He talked about his concept of the generosity generation. I thought that it reminded me of givers gain. That is why I thought he would make a great guest on the podcast. So I would love for you to describe what that is, Michael. Is that possible?
Yeah. Thank you for asking. The generosity generation – I love to speak, so thank you for bringing that up as well. The generosity generation actually started with the consumer. the Consumer truly evolved from the ego era, which was 1990’s to 2006, when “I am number one and I am the best” when it was kind of like superstar, right? The consumer got tired of that and they lost trust in the corporates like Enron and stuffs like that. So they changed, and they changed from wanting to work with number one to now wanting to work with someone who says, “I am here to help.”
The generosity generation started with the consumer and the corporate world has definitely caught up, right? All of these slogans have changed to be more generous and more about helping others. So the generosity generation is full of givers. And givers do gain. I think that is what the 7L system does. The 7L system teaches how do we go from a giver to gaining? That is the power of it.
Like I said, the see of a lot of this is rooted in networking and building relationships with accountability, which is what BNI is all about.
Well, thank you, Michael. We are out of time. I do highly recommend Michael’s book, The Seven Levels of Communication, Going from Relationships to REferrals. Michael, I am sure they can get that at Amazon. Would you like to share a website with us where they can get more information?
Yeah. Very quickly, the bookonreferrals.com and also you can check out miraclemorningagent.com. These books aren’t just for real estate agents. They cross over to any genre, any industry that wants referrals, basically any BNI member. So thank you.
Thanks so much for being on this show, Michael. You had some really great content. I will turn it over to you, Priscilla.
Okay, That great. Thank you both. I really appreciated all of that. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube. Thank you 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.