You’ve joined a BNI chapter?
Maybe you are thinking about joining one?
Are you aware of the 7 BNI Core Values?
Whether you are about to join a BNI chapter or you are a member already.
What can you do to get a better outcome from business networking.
Not just BNI networking though.
These ideas can be applied to any business networking.
Yep, that’s right. Get there before the start of the meeting.
The first 15 minutes of any meeting is Open Networking. As a visitor, this is your opportunity to interview some of the members in the chapter.
The most EFFECTIVE NETWORKING happens before (and after) the meeting.
Sipping coffee and eating breakfast rarely will result in engaging conversations.
We must STEP FORWARD with a SMILE and TALK with PEOPLE.
Visit other chapters
Relying on just one group of people to network with will limit your results.
There could be perfectly willing referral partners in other BNI chapters.
Each networking group you visit will have new people and new opportunities.
Speak to new people
For me this is one of the hardest aspects of networking.
It is so so so much easier to stand quietly near the coffee pot.
Anything but talking to new people!
Staring thoughtfully at the ocean or sky.
Intently staring at an email on my phone as if it was prophetic wisdom.
Carefully reading the labels on the packets of tea and coffee.
It is amazing how distracted I can look if I try.
Standing quietly near the breakfast bar choosing yogurt does not result in referrals.
It’s time to summon courage and step forward with a smile and handshake.
Rescue someone else from the quiet despair of a lonely networker!
We’ve cracked the nut on arriving at a networking group!
By now we should be engaged in some conversation with a fellow human.
Ask these three questions to a fellow BNI member.
If you aren’t in the BNI SAFE ZONE then ask yourself these questions.
They are a quick three step check for whether BNI and YOU are WORKING.
Ask these three questions
Anyone who has been in BNI for more than six months should be able to readily answer these questions.
If you are new to BNI or you happen to ask these questions to someone who just joined thats ok.
Maybe you can both find an experienced member and ask them together!
If you are reading this quietly to yourself then ask these questions of your own business.
Quick tip: How to find an experienced BNI member
Look for someone with coloured ribbons hanging on the bottom of their lanyard name card.
An experienced BNI member will have at least one maybe two ribbons for longevity in the chapter and as a participant in the leadership.
Right then, now that we have found an experienced BNI member lets get to the questions.
What referral did you last receive?
Was it a good referral?
Did it result in a sale?
Do you remember who gave it to you?
Who was your last 1 on 1 with?
Who was the most recent meaningful connection you had over coffee?
Did you meet with a fellow BNI member recently to discuss business?
What did you talk about?
Have you been working out how you can refer business to each other?
Which businesses are in your power team?
Who are the businesses that can give you ongoing referrals?
The people you can network with that compliment your products or services.
Do you know who they are?
Have you asked them how you can find them referrals?
Our power team members are graphic designers, computer techs, marketing agencies, social media managers and printing companies that are all in the trusted zone of their clients for internet and advertising.
For a truly prosperous BNI experience you will want to have at least two people who are in your power team.
Thats three very important questions.
What referral did you receive last?
Who was your last one on one with?
Which businesses are in your power team?
One final thing.
You MUST PARTICIPATE.
Contribute to your network
Business networking is not a passive experience.
Looking at your phone and sipping coffee is not business networking!
We engage in conversation with other humans in the room.
I know it’s not easy.
Not for me anyway.
If you are a super guru of networking that can walk into a room and feel comfortable in a room full of people you have never met then you have a special gift and confidence.
For the rest of us mere mortals we must be bold.
Take a deep breath.
Step forward with a smile.
And talk with someone new!
Get out there and network!
If you haven’t done networking the BNI WAY then give it a go. It makes networking much more predictable and gives you permission to go out and meet other business owners in a trusting and open way.
ONE on ONE (Dance Cards) are a hidden gem of BNI networking.
Where else can you pick up the phone and say:
Hi ____, can we catch up for a coffee and talk business one on one?
Without the other person wondering what you are up to?
BNI makes that normal, it’s part of the system.