Referral Mining

A few months ago I met a chauffeur in Arizona who drove me from the airport to a speaking engagement I was scheduled for.  We talked about referral marketing and business in general, and he shared with me that he has a client who runs a mining operation.  He said this client told him that his next big mining project is going to take 11 years before it starts to bring in any revenue! The client continued explaining to the chauffeur that the mining operation is spending the first 11 years of the project doing nothing but digging down to find a vein that will allow the company to start getting revenue from the project . . . 11 years before any money starts to come in!

What the chauffeur said to me next really struck me.  He said, “I imagine that digging a mine is a little like referral marketing . . . you have to give it time.” Wow! . . . No truer words have ever been spoken about networking and referral marketing, and not only did this chauffeur immediately pick up on what sometimes takes active networkers months or years to figure out, he put it into simple terms with one powerfully impressive analogy!

Now, clearly, you don’t need to give 11 years to the networking process, but the chauffeur hit the nail on the head when he said “you have to give it time.”  When it comes to networking, the simple truth is that it can take many, many months before the “referral mining” and relationship building you are doing starts to yield results.

So thank you to that Arizonan chauffeur who shared with me his mining story and his remarkably insightful comment about referral marketing . . . it highlights such a simple truth about networking that’s very important to remember, yet surprisingly easily forgotten.

Learn Teleseminar Secrets from Alex Mandossian

I’ve mentioned my good friend Alex Mandossian in a couple of previous blogs. But in case you don’t yet know who Alex is, he is one of the world’s most respected experts on marketing, and his knowledge, background and track record of unbelievable results are truly amazing.

I’m going to be hosting a free call with Alex on Tuesday, Dec. 1  (4 p.m. Pacific / 6 p.m. Central / 7 p.m. Eastern), which will be a preview for Alex’s Teleseminar Secrets Training Series. I encourage you to call in if you want to learn more about how to boost sales and profits without spending a penny more on advertising.

Alex has generated more than $233 million in sales for his partners and clients via “electronic marketing” such as teleseminars, radio, TV and the internet . . . Listening to a free call with advice from him is, in my opinion, a no-brainer.  It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from someone who can seriously help you grow your business and prosper regardless of economic fluctuations.


Don’t Try to Be All Things to All People

I received an e-mail today from someone in my organization who said that entrepreneurs and business professionals really need help in management, sales, accounting, taxes and many other issues.  So far, so good–I couldn’t agree more!

Then he suggested that our organization would be so much better if we provided that kind of training. Whoa–stop!  Here’s where we part ways.  You see, I’ve heard that many times over the years.  It tends to come from groups that are struggling, and they’re looking for something to provide all the answers to a myriad of problems.  This sounds really good and I understand where the frustration is coming from–unfortunately, it just doesn’t work.

Many years ago as a business consultant, I saw a lot of my clients bounce around from one product or service to another.  They were chasing projects down rabbit trails because someone said they should be doing this element or that element of the business.  They didn’t specialize.  They tried to be all things to all people.  They ended up being good at nothing at all.

When it comes to being a truly great organization, I believe that a  jack-of-all-trades is a master of none.   Instead, I believe that you should focus on your organization’s core competencies.   Do what you are good at, and do it better than anyone else.

There are many, many companies that are MUCH better at teaching business people about management, sales, taxes, etc.  My networking organization is not an expert in taxes or business management.  Organizations such as iLearningGlobal provide more content from more experts than we ever could.  We shouldn’t even try to be “the” expert in these areas.  In fact, we are not and never will be the leading organization on sales training.  Organizations such as Brian Tracy University are much better in this field than we are.  If we try to do that–we change our core business model and lose our focus.

Don’t try to be all things to all people.  Do what you are best at and do it better than anyone else in the world.  My company, BNI, is myopic.  We do one thing and, based on results (thousands of groups in dozens of countries), we do it better than anyone else.  We help people build their business through a structured referral networking program.  We are the biggest and the best at what we do, and we don’t try to be the best at other things.

Great companies know what business they are in, and they focus on improving that business every day.

Happy 21st–How To Work A Room (R)!

I’ve mentioned my good friend Susan RoAne’s networking books in a few of my previous blogs because her content is not only invaluably effective and simple to implement, it’s also a real treat to study because she’s hilariously witty and it shows in her work.

If you haven’t yet checked out any of Susan’s networking content, now is the perfect time to start.  Susan’s bestselling book How To Work A Room has just turned 21, and the information it offers is timeless. In fact, it’s actually even more important now than ever.

In fact, Susan began designing networking workshops in the early ’80s when, due to the down economy, she was one of 1,200 San Francisco teachers who were laid off.  Her material is specifically relevant to those who want to generate business through networking despite economic downturns, and I don’t know anybody who couldn’t benefit from that information currently.  Through her workshops, Susan ended up not only helping her peers get back on their feet financially, she also ended up writing her first book based on her most popular workshop.

Now her first book, How To Work A Room, has been in bookstores for more than two decades, has sold over a million copies worldwide and is now in its third edition.  Susan is constantly asked to give her keynote presentation based on How To Work A Room at various meetings, conferences and conventions across the globe. If you ever have the chance to attend an event where Susan is speaking, take it! Don’t take my word for it though: Grab a copy of How To Work A Room and, after you read it, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t have to think twice about going to any event where Susan is scheduled to speak. 😉

Click here to go to the How To Work A Room Twenty-One and Timeless page where you can find out more about Susan, the book and about how to purchase the book online.

If you’re familiar with Susan’s networking material already, I’d love to be able to pass your comments along to her about how she’s helped you become a better networker, so feel free to post your comments here!

Build Success through Being of Service

I founded BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization, on a philosophy called Givers Gain.  Now, 25 years later, BNI has grown into an organization that spans more than 40 countries and has a membership of more than 111,000 people who meet every week to pass each other business referrals.  Last year alone, BNI generated more than $2.3 billion (USD) in business for our members worldwide, and this year, even in in a down economy, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is even higher.

Why am I telling you all of this about BNI?  Believe it or not, it is not because I’m trying to plug my organization.  I’m telling you all of this because I’m trying to show you how powerful the Givers Gain philosophy is.  It’s simple, really . . . when you genuinely show an interest in others and help them build their business, they will naturally want to do the same for you. That is the No. 1 reason BNI has been so successful.

If you want to hear more about how you can greatly build your success by simply being of service to others, listen to the upcoming interview I have scheduled with Ariel & Shya Kane of the Being Here radio show.  The episode is called “Being of Service: A New Possibility,” and we’ll be discussing how to have success in business and life and, in particular, how being of service to others can be a great business model.

The show will air at 9 a.m. Pacific (click here to adjust the time zone according to where in the world you will be listening from) next Wednesday, Nov. 18, and you can listen live or access the archived recording at a later date.


You’ve Got Follow-Up Covered . . . Now What?

Last week I told you that the No. 1 trait of master networkers is that they follow up the referrals they are given.  I hope you’ve been working on fine-tuning your follow-up strategy and that you’re now on the road to mastery of this aspect of networking.

So what else did the survey of more than 2,000 businesspeople from more than four countries reveal to be included in the top five essential traits of a master networker?

  • Positive attitude. A consistently negative attitude causes people to dislike you and drives away referrals; a positive attitude makes people want to associate and cooperate with you.  Positive business professionals are like magnets.  Others want to be around them and will send their friends and family to them.
  • Enthusiasm and motivation. Think about the people you know.  Who gets the most referrals?  People who show the most motivation, right?  It has been said that the best sales characteristic is enthusiasm.  To gain the respect of your fellow networkers, sell yourself with enthusiasm.  Once you’ve done this, your contacts will sell you to others.
  • Trustworthiness. When you refer one person to another, you put your reputation on the line.  You have to be able to trust your referral partner and be trusted in return.  Neither you nor anyone else will refer a contact or valuable information to someone who can’t be trusted to handle it well.
  • Good Listening Skills. Your success as a networker depends on how well you listen and learn.  The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship.  Communicate well and listen well.

What Is the No. 1 Trait of a Master Networker?

When I ask people what they think the No. 1 trait of a master networker is, most people think it’s that master networkers, above all,  give referrals to others.

However, according to a survey of more than 2,000 businesspeople from four countries that was published in Masters of Networking, a book I co-wrote with Don Morgan, the No. 1 trait of master networkers is that they follow up on the referrals they are given. “Giving referrals” didn’t even make the top five!

The reason for this top ranking is that if you present opportunities to someone who consistently fails to follow up successfully–whether it’s a simple piece of information, a special contact or a qualified business referral–it’s no secret that you’ll eventually stop wasting your time on that person.  He’s an embarrassment to you as the referral giver and to the prospect, who ends up wondering if he did something wrong.

So if you strive to be a master networker, always remember: When it comes to business referrals, following up is not an option; it’s a life-or-death requirement.

Curious what the survey revealed to be the remaining top five characteristics of a master networker?  Come back next week to find out!

Getting Your Name Written on the Board Can Be Good

In my last blog I promised you that this week I’d tell you a story about the way someone once recognized me that kept me wanting to refer him over and over.  Well, here goes . . .

A few years ago, I visited my chiropractor for a routine adjustment.  Several weeks before, I had referred him to a friend who had recently been in an accident.  As I walked into the waiting room, my eyes fell on a bulletin board that was displayed prominently on the wall.  The bulletin board read, “We would like to thank the following patients for referring someone to us last month.”

Actually, there was nothing unusual about this sign.  It had been there on each of my previous visits–but this time, my name was posted on it.  I took notice and was pleased, but I didn’t give it a second thought, until I returned a month later and saw that my name was no longer on it.  Instantly I thought, Who else can I refer to the doctor so that my name will be put back on the board?

For the record, my name has consistently been on that board for the better part of three years now . . . and I plan on having it stay there.  🙂

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