In BNI lingo a tight group of businesses that regularly ‘share’ a client is known as a “Power Team”.
It is a somewhat unofficial grouping and is invariably fluid in terms of who would be in a power team initially at least and assumes that people with very compatible businesses do want to work together closely on clients.
This is probably one of the hidden benefits of BNI (and other close networks), once you have these other service providers that you know, like and trust then it’s potentially a referral or two each month (or more) that happens simply because you are all working together to help each others clients.
The key to keeping them alive and working well is to stay in touch and feedback regularly to the other members of the group.
Working together to help a shared client
The power team members are people/businesses whom fit into the workflow or sales process of each other in a way that is highly complimentary and value adding.
Our initial power team of Business Services
An example for Jezweb is Ryan Simmons of Simmer Studio www.simmerstudio.com.au a graphic designer in East Maitland whom we will sometimes refer potential clients to for branding, logos and print work on the basis that they will then shift focus back to Jezweb for the eventual website.
In the words of Ivan Misner, founder of BNI:
A Power Team is a group of people of “complementary” professions. They work with the same clients, but do not take business away from each other. Great examples of these are easily found in the real estate and wedding industries. A realtor, mortgage broker, building inspector, title agency, and a real estate attorney all service clients looking to purchase property. A wedding planner, photographer, and florist are among the many professions that cater to the bride-to-be.
Popular power team categories found in business networks
There are some popular categories of business that will typically form power teams in a BNI or potentially any business networking group such as:
- Property [ eg. realestate agent, conveyancer, building inspector, mortgage broker]
- Trades [eg. plumber, electrician, builder, cleaner]
- Financial [eg. financial planner, insurance broker, loan broker]
- Weddings [eg. florist, photographer, catering, car hire, venue]
- Business [eg. designer, printer, IT, computers, web, coach, marketer, internet]
- Health [life coach, therapist, physio, osteo, chiro, fitness instructor, gym]
That’s not to say that those businesses will always be in a power team or always refer work to each other but they tend to generate referrals and revenue from business networking more quickly because of the natural affinity they have and the focus of the clients they attract.
Power Teams in BNI
In one of his past podcast episodes, 272 Power Teams and Contact Spheres, Ivan speaks about how these teams can benefit a chapter.
Ivan Misner: Recommendations for a Successful Power Team
- Meet with your Power Team weekly, or at minimum every other week.
- Have a chairperson for the meeting.
- Have each member describe a good referral.
- Brainstorm ways to get others in the Power Team involved in each project.
An effective Power Team generates more referrals for the rest of the chapter as well as for its own members.
Basically you need to communicate plenty, that means catching up at the weekly meeting, a phone call each week or two as a minimum.
Symbiotic Businesses Stay Focused on What they Do Best
Think of it as a partnership, according to Mike Roberts, Executive Director of BNI New Hampshire, power teams are:
symbiotic professions that can work together
He goes on to say that we should think about our power team members as follows:
On a regular and consistent basis you can generate business for them and they can do the same for you in return. That’s the idea of power teams.
It’s the synergy between the members of a power team that makes it a power team. In a way you they are included in the sales process like outsourcing or as an adjunct or addon to a sale. For example, a realestate agent refers the client to a mortgage broker who refers the client to a conveyancer and so on. They all work together for the best outcome of a client in a similar way as you might find in a cooperative or company group.
Who could be in my power team?
The following lists are examples of professional categories that fit the Power Team profile. This is a list proposed by BNI UK.
It’s a good summary of some commonly seen power teams in the UK and likewise you would find teams like this in chapters across Australia.
It is important to note that some professions will be in more than one Power Team and that there could be more professional categories and Power Teams than are listed here:
|Health & Wellness
|Event Organiser / Management
|Car body shop
|Health & Safety Consultant
|Curtains & Blinds
|Health & Beauty
|Printing / Advertising
Please note that this is not a definitive list of professions within BNI, but merely a guide to how power teams may be organised within a chapter.
If you are not in a BNI chapter then the above list would be a great guide as the best people to talk with and network with out of a room at other networking functions.
Get to know your power team
Here are ten questions you should ask potential members of your power team to strengthen your connections and make it easier to pass referrals.
- How did you get started in your business?
- What do you enjoy most about what you do?
- What separates you and your company from the competition?
- What advice would you give someone starting out in your business?
- What are the coming trends in your business or industry?
- What strategies have you found to be the most effective in promoting your business?
- If there were anything about your business or industry you could change, what would that be?
- What is the next big event coming up for you?
- What’s your biggest challenge at the moment?
- What type of customers are you looking for? How will I recognise a good prospect for you? What kind of situations are your prospects facing?
If you would like further depth on each of these questions refer back to the original list from Ivans post on successnet.
These could be great questions to have in mind at networking events more broadly if you are trying to engage a business owner in conversation.
Keep the 7 core values in mind when you are meeting with the team.