Top Characteristics

The Top Characteristics of a Great Networker (pt 2)

Recently, I took the opportunity to gather almost 3,400 survey responses from business people around the world.   I gave them a list of almost 20 different characteristics on networking and I asked them to pick the top behaviors they’d like to see.  From those responses, I have identified the top characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker and have listed them here. Each one of the characteristics below ties into the notion of “farming” not “hunting.”  It’s about building mutually beneficial business relationships. Only then will you succeed in creating a powerful, personal network.

  1. Sincere/Authentic. You can offer the help, the thanks, the listening ear, but if you are not sincerely interested in the other person, they will know it!  Those who have developed successful networking skills convey their sincerity at every turn.  One respondent stated that “it’s all about the authenticity” that someone shows you.  We have all seen people who are seemingly good at networking but lack sincerity.  Faking it isn’t sustainable.
  1. Follows Up. If you offer opportunities, whether a simple piece of information, a special contact, or a qualified business referral, to someone who consistently fails to follow up, you’ll soon stop wasting your time with this person.  One respondent said that when it comes to networking, “the fortune lies in the follow up” and many people just “don’t follow up anymore.”
  1. Trustworthy. One respondent said best when she said: “it doesn’t matter how successful the person is, if I don’t trust them, I don’t work with them. When you refer someone you are putting 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 to someone who can’t be trusted to handle it well.
  1. Approachable. One respondent said that people “will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. Effective networking starts with approachability – everything else listed above follows from this.

As a young man, I studied under Warren Bennis, who was at the time, the world’s leading expert on leadership.  He taught me that understanding the “characteristics” of a great leader is important.  However, what is even more important, is understanding how to apply those characteristics.  He told me; “know what you are good at and work to enhance those skills.  Know what you’re not good at and surround yourself with people who can help you improve those skills”. 

As with leadership, I believe that networking skills are very important.  What’s even more important, however, is working to improve them and learning how to use them effectively.  That’s what really counts.

What are the Top Three Characteristics?

Check out my blog from January for the top three characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker.

The Top Characteristics of a Great Networker (pt 1)


Dr. Seuss’ Birthday – NEA Read Across America Day

Today, March 2nd is the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Today the BNI Foundation is supporting the National Education Association’s “Read Across America Day”. Therefore, go find a classroom and volunteer to read a Dr. Seuss story to the students. For example, in this video, I share a story about reading to my kids when they were younger, the Dr. Seuss classic, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street“.

Dr. Seuss’s very first book for children! 

Originally published: December 21, 1937

From a mere horse and wagon, young Marco concocts a colorful cast of characters, making Mulberry Street the most interesting location in town. Most noteworthy, Dr. Seuss’s signature rhythmic text, combined with his unmistakable illustrations, will appeal to fans of all ages. Finally, who will cheer when our hero proves that a little imagination can go a very long way. Now over eighty years old, this story is as timeless as ever.


“How Can I Help You” Leads to Blessing     

by Ivan Misner & Beth Misner

Last night Beth and I were at a black-tie event together. We were milling around in the ballroom lobby with about 600 other guests, waiting for the grand doors to open, when Beth noticed a diminutive lady looking around as if she were lost.

“I think she needs some assistance,” she quietly said to me. When she got closer to us, Beth caught her eyes and smiled reassuringly.

“Excuse me,” she said breathlessly.

“How can I help you?” Beth asked her.

“Can you tell me, please, who is in charge of the event?”

Instead of simply pointing to the ballroom and telling her that the event organizer was inside preparing the room for the attendees, Beth shot a quick glance over her shoulder as if to say, “Just go with it,” to me, and gestured to her to follow us. The three of us started to move toward the closed doors.

It was then that I noticed she was wearing a press pass. A cameraman with a video camera and gear bag slung over his shoulder was trailing along behind her.

What was this?

We entered the ballroom and gave the large hall a quick look-over. No organizer. Understanding that it would not do to just leave her and her cameraman in the room, we invited her to come up to the very front.  We showed her the table where the organizer could be found later on in the evening.

“I’m from NTDTV, a Chinese news affiliate out of New York,” she told us as we walked together to the front of the room. Now, it just so happened that my third book to be translated into Chinese, Masters of Sales, had been released the past week in the Chinese market. Beth simply could not resist the temptation to share that with her, as well as a friendly “nie-hou-ma,” to which she responded with great delight.

She then asked if it would be okay for her to interview me at the front of the room while we waited for the event organizer and the CEO of the event we were there to attend.

Hmmm, let’s see.

I paused for exactly a nanosecond before responding that it would be more than okay: “shiea-shiea,” Beth said, bowing slightly.

She spent the next 15 to 20 minutes interviewing me. We discussed networking tips, my new book, differences between American and Asian businesses, and a little bit about BNI. Please watch a segment of the interview below.

Therefore, it goes to show you that you just never know where that simple phrase: “How can I help you?” is going to lead. How have you used this phrase, and found that something fortuitous has happened?

My First Business

My First Business, a personal story

Beth and I own a property management company (this would be a good story to share someday). We’re in Galveston setting up a new property for lease. Therefore, we were walking through a Home Depot to get what we needed to make the property ready to lease. We were walking by these house numbers and out of the blue, she started this video about my first business.

As a 14-year-old, I started my first company to help a neighbor sell his stick-on house numbers he manufactured. I took over his sales of reflective numbers and I hired a sales team. However, I did so well, I made him tired and he consequently went out of business

Please watch this video about how I eventually launched my entrepreneur spirit by the numbers.

Look Up

Look Up! How to Learn to Be Mentally Present to Succeed

I was once walking along a very crowded city street in a large European city. People were walking in both directions with great purpose. One pedestrian, however, stood out from the rest in her green coat. She was walking a bit slower, with an uneven, irregular pace, and she had her head down. She wasn’t looking to the left or to the right. She wasn’t looking around. She wasn’t even looking at the sidewalk, or her feet. She was looking at her mobile phone. She was actually texting while walking on the crowded sidewalk, and she was on a direct trajectory to collide with me.

“Look up. Look up. Look up,” I was softly repeating under my breath as she approached headlong towards me. She was about to run smack into me, and the sidewalk was so full that it was impossible to step out of her way without colliding with another person. I was on the verge of making my mantra, “Look up,” audible. At the very last moment before crashing into me, she looked up with a completely startled reaction. She was mentally not present, even though she was physically walking on that sidewalk with all of us. She was so distracted by her mobile phone that she was just going through the motions of walking somewhere.

Sometimes I am asked by young business professionals to share my advice for reaching a certain level of success. I think my primary message surprises them somehow. Here’s what I tell them:

Learn how to ‘be here now.’ When you are working, work. Don’t spend time stressing over the things you are or are not doing in your personal time. When you are not working, don’t work! Don’t let the distractions of your professional pursuits keep you from being fully present in your personal life.

It is very easy to allow ourselves to be so wrapped up and so caught up in something, that we cannot set it aside to change gears and focus on what is right in front of us. That is what the young lady pedestrian was doing before she pulled herself out of her virtual world to rejoin the events going on around her.

I have written many books. When I first started writing books, I was a father with very young children. I knew I wanted to be very present in the evenings when we were having family time together, so I set my writing times for after they were tucked in for the night. Instead of watching television or reading, for a few months, I wrote between 11 PM and 2 or 3 AM several nights a week. When my first book was published, my then-8-year-old daughter exclaimed, “When did you write a book? I didn’t know you were writing a book!”

It’s the same concept in the reverse, as well. When you are working hard on a project or accomplishing something demanding in your business, it is necessary to keep yourself focused on the task at hand. There are many things which can be a distraction. I have seen people become completely inept at the job at hand because they cannot be fully present due to some other pull on them from another area of their life.

My mother had an approach to this dynamic that works well for me when I want to “be here now” and there are some distractions encroaching on my ability to do so. She used to say, “Put that in a jar and set it up on a shelf. When you are done, it will still be there, and you can take it down and get it out then.” Moms give the best advice, don’t they?

So my mantra of “Look up. Look up. Look up,” can also be a way to keep yourself in the present and really begin to “be here now.” I think you’ll find that you navigate the paths of life, work, networks and family more profoundly and with greater success in all areas.

The P.R.I.C.E. of Referrals

The PRICE system is a commonly known management tool for tracking performance in a business context.  People who want to track, analyze, and manage their performance or the performance of others can use this system as a tool for accomplishing that. Many members of BNI have asked me about tracking the referrals they receive.  The PRICE system can be an excellent tool for you to manage and assess your referrals in BNI.  Furthermore, the system can be applied to individual members or the progress of an entire Chapter, whichever you prefer.

PRICE is an acronym for Pinpoint, Record, Involve, Coach, and Evaluate.  

Pinpoint – involves determining the general theme(s) of the goals and objectives that you or your Chapter may have.  It may be as simple as the total referrals you wish receive.  It can however, be more specific by breaking it down into inside or outside referrals (referrals from members or from people that members refer).  You can even decide to track referrals by the actual value of the referral.

Record – involves taking your goals and putting them in measurable and observable terms.  Measurable terms include things such as quantity, quality, or time frame.  This part of the process involves tracking your goals in writing.  It requires that you take the actual quantity or value of the goals you have established over a time period that you determine (we recommend one year) and record them as they occur.

Involve – requires clear communication and providing feedback to the other members of your Chapter.  Share your PRICE goals or develop Chapter PRICE goals that can be distributed and discussed at the Chapter.  Discuss progress over time and make sure to review and discuss your PRICE goals regularly.

Coach – is one of the most important parts of a successful PRICE system.  Share your PRICE goals with your local Director.  Ask for their feedback.  Use the live internet BNI-Yahoo Chat site and bulletin board to get feedback on your program (see page ______ for more details).  Ask the Leadership Team of your Chapter for assistance, seek out a mentor from your Chapter to help you (or volunteer to mentor someone else).

Evaluate – involves summarizing the data after a year to take a look at your progress.  Make sure to recognize your successes and determine future strategies to improve performance.

The best management tool in the world – is the one that is used regularly.  There is no magic to setting and tracking performance.  It is accomplished using simple but specific methods that are used consistently.  Success is the sum of small efforts that are repeated day in and day out.  Tracking your success – is done the same way.

Kai Bjorn

Comment concrétiser des opportunités d’affaires avec des suivis et un Merci?

Follow-up tips from various BNI leaders for International Networking Week

Submitted by Kai Bjorn, Président de BNI Canada. 

Please scroll to the bottom of this post to read the English version

Le monde des affaires ressemble à celui du sport : certains entrepreneurs sont de vrais athlètes dans leur discipline et connaissent un franc succès. D’autres performent bien, sans toutefois élever leur entreprise à un autre niveau. Mais qu’est-ce qui les différencie? Et bien, il s’agit de plusieurs actions simples, mais rentables, à commencer par les suivis durant les activités de réseautage. Pour vous aider à performer, voici 2 conseils très efficaces que tout entrepreneur devrait maîtriser pour laisser une forte impression et favoriser le développement de ses affaires.

Developpement des affaires : où, quand et pourquoi?

Sans développement des affaires, une entreprise ne peut survivre longtemps. De fait, les réseaux professionnels sont un excellent moyen de bâtir des relations avec d’autres experts et d’offrir ses services. Les entrepreneurs et travailleurs autonomes doivent donc participer à des activités de réseautage quotidiennement.

Reconnu à travers le monde entier, BNI est le plus grand réseau professionnel avec plus de 210 000 membres. Cela représente plus de 1.6 milliard $ en références et en ventes par année : imaginez le potentiel et les opportunités de vente! Il va sans dire que certains professionnels, qui sont de vrais experts en développement des affaires, en profitent plus que d’autres. Ces athlètes du référencement maîtrisent l’art de dire merci et de faire des suivis pour chaque rencontre. Oui chaque rencontre, qu’elle soit positive ou non. Et croyez-moi, en tant que Président de BNI Canada et ancien athlète olympien, les suivis et le développement sont aussi importants en affaires qu’en sport.

Activités de réseautage et suivis

Soyons francs: dans une activité de réseautage, 50 % de l’échange se fait durant la rencontre face à face et l’autre 50 % s’effectue après ladite rencontre. Il s’agit là des suivis professionnels : ces gestes font toute la différence et vous placent en priorité. Tout comme un sport, vous pouvez simplement être sur le terrain ou vous pouvez compter un but. La différence est dans l’action, la rigueur et la discipline.

Comment faire un suivi de développement des affaires?

Après votre activité de réseautage, conservez les cartes d’affaires ou coordonnées des gens avec qui vous avez échangé. Ne faites pas de sélection, conservez-les toutes. Oui, même celles qui ne vous procureront pas de vente directe. Gardez en tête qu’en affaires, vous ne savez jamais qui connaît qui. Un professionnel peut vous recommander à ses proches ou contacts.

Ensuite, écrivez un courriel à ces personnes dans les jours suivant la rencontre. Prenez le temps de leur dire «Merci» pour la belle rencontre et discussion. Surtout, n’hésitez pas à faire un tel suivi. Vous gagnerez beaucoup :

  • Vous serez en tête de liste : Ce contact professionnel pensera à vous au moment de référer ou d’acheter vos services et produits.
  • Vous aurez laissé une forte impression : Prendre les devants en faisant un suivi renforce positivement l’image qu’on garde de vous.
  • Vous rehausserez votre réputation : Faire un suivi et dire merci sont des preuves directes de votre leadership et professionnalisme. Vous aurez bâti une solide réputation dans ce réseau.
  • Vous bâtirez des relations positives fortes : Dire merci et faire des suivis aide à bâtir des relations entre professionnels : vous ouvrez la porte à une conversation et à entamer une réelle relation. C’est là que se trouve la différence entre rencontrer une personne dans une activité de réseautage et avoir un collaborateur potentiel dans son réseau.
  • Vous agirez avec éthique : Beaucoup de leaders disent merci et sont reconnaissants envers les gens qu’ils rencontrent. Entreprise en démarrage ou entrepreneur prospère, peu importe. Il s’agit avant tout d’une relation entre deux personnes. Soyez éthique et professionnel. Vos suivis et votre aptitude à dire merci deviendront une marque de commerce de votre code d’éthique.

BNI et les suivis

Les BNI ont d’ailleurs remarqué la force des suivis et d’un simple merci. Cela est si ancré dans leurs processus qu’ils ont mis en place des outils comme des cartes de remerciement. Les membres peuvent inscrire sur une note ou dire à haute voix: «Merci pour la référence et l’opportunité d’affaires concrétisée. La référence était excellente et nous avons pu collaborer ensemble.»

Les suivis de référence

Par ailleurs, les suivis sont utiles à tous les niveaux de votre développement des affaires. Non seulement après une activité de réseautage, mais bien après toute rencontre ou référence. Si un collaborateur vous réfère un client potentiel et qu’il se concrétise en opportunité d’affaires, par exemple, prenez le temps de dire merci. Vous renforcerez votre relation et démontrerez de la reconnaissance. Et cela risque fort bien d’ouvrir la porte à d’autres références.

Si toutefois un collaborateur vous réfère un client et que celui n’adhère pas à votre service ou produit, faites aussi un suivi pour le remercier. Même si la rencontre n’a pas été positive ou que le client ne correspondait pas à votre clientèle cible, faites-le. Vous ouvrez ainsi la porte à une discussion. Vous pouvez alors réajuster le tir et préciser à nouveau qui est votre client idéal. Et si vous êtes celui qui réfère un client à un collaborateur, tentez aussi de faire un suivi. Vous pouvez lui demander si tout a bien été et si la référence répondait à ses attentes. L’important est de faire un suivi et de discuter avec vos collaborateurs, que ce soit positif ou non. En affaires, il est impossible que toutes les recommandations deviennent des clients.

Saisissez les opportunités d’affaires

Surtout, rappelez-vous qu’un suivi et qu’un simple merci vous ouvrent une foule d’opportunités d’affaires. Peut-être avez-vous devant vous un futur collaborateur, un client, un représentant, un admirateur, etc. Vous ne savez jamais où cela peut vous mener. C’est une aventure qui commence par un suivi et un merci. Et heureusement, ces gestes sont simples, sans frais et rapides à effectuer. Ne vous en privez pas.

Please click on the link below to read the English version

International Networking Week 2017

Master The Art Of The Follow-Up

Follow-up tips from various BNI leaders for International Networking Week

Submitted by Elyse Wilson
President of the Americas

As business professionals, building relationships is at the core of what we do. It’s how we grow our network, client base, and ultimately, ourselves. As BNI members, we know foundational elements need to be in place before new acquaintances begin to trust us as credible and reliable referral partners. One of the first steps to building relationships is simple, and it’s often overlooked. If you want to build a strong and profitable network, you must first master the art of the follow-up.

Networking events are great places to meet new professionals and showcase your business, but it’s what you do afterward that sets you up for either success or failure. You’ve finally met someone in a tough industry to break into, and you had a great conversation. Now what? Don’t wait a week, or even a few days, to reach out to your new contact. While you vividly remember meeting them, they may only vaguely remember meeting you. The next day, reach out by sending a short email inviting them to grab a cup of coffee. Don’t forget to include one or two topics you discussed during your previous conversation.

Be diligent and keep your new contacts too of mind. Keep their business card in your business card holder so you don’t forget to reach back out to them. If you think one of your fellow members may be able to help them and their business, pass their card to them. They may be their dream referral. Be a master in the art of the follow-up.

International Networking Week 2017

Mahesh Mac Srinivasan

The Fortune is in the Follow-up!

Follow-up tips from various BNI leaders for International Networking Week

Submitted by Mahesh Mac Srinivasan
President, BNI Asia & Australasia

Follow-ups, more than anything, can be the capital on which your business can prosper.

Effective networking is critical to growing your business in today’s times. In addition to being a good networker, it is essential to follow up with the new contacts you make, to make your overall efforts more fruitful than what it could have been.

For example, when someone passes a referral to you, it is crucial that you connect with the referral within a 24 to 48-hour period. This enhances your credibility with both the person who gave you the referral and your potential client. Follow up generates interest and interest in your product or service and it cements your engagement.

Follow ups can be easily done via a phone call or a short email. Make sure to thank the person who has passed on the referral and update them regularly about any progress. This will further enhance their confidence in you and ensure that you stay foremost in their mind for future referrals.

When it comes to chapter growth, it is vital to follow up when new members apply. Our members are our core strength and the more members we have, the more is the potential we offer to other members. It is a win-win situation based on mutual growth and trust. So, we must make sure that we follow up on new applications, on the same day, thank the visitor for coming and to find out more about their core strengths to evaluate if we can integrate them within existing members.

A good follow-up helps deepen the relationship and trust. Most successful business owners, create a healthy business by building a large network of business associates, clients, mentors, and friends.

To summarize, following up is key to converting introductions and building sustained relationships. All it takes is communication at regular intervals on points of mutual interest to keep connections alive. You can be sure that the effort one puts in following up with contacts always pays back directly or indirectly – sometimes through straightforward contracts, at other times via a referral or a connection that might lend a helping hand in times of need.

The Fortune is in the follow-up!

International Networking Week 2017


Marc-William Attie

The Impact of Follow-Up in Sales and Networking

International Networking Week: Follow-up tips from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Marc-William Attié
Directeur National, France et Belgique francophone

In order to get most of the International Networking Week, be aware of the impact of Follow-Up in Sales. Following up is a must to be in the position to succeed. This is the case in Networking, in our personal life, with our children, in managing our health, in financial management, in Business, etc…. Follow-up is one of the most important behavior to reach a high level of efficiency.
Follow-up and Sales
Here is an interesting statistic which proves the importance of follow-up in sales from the National Sales Executive Association:
40% of Salespeople never follow up with a prospect
25% make a second contact and stop
12% male three contacts and stop
only 10% make more than three follow-ups
and now be aware that only 2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% on the second
5% on the third
10 % on the fourth
and 80% on the firth to the twelfth contact.
What salesman do you want to be? You can easily decide.
Follow-up and Networking
During this International Networking Week, you will be meeting some potential future customers. I don’t recommend that you try to hard sale to the people you are going to meet. But if you want to get most of these new contacts remember that in order to create a relationship which will ease the future sales process you need to follow-up. Here are some quick tips:
1) Take note on the business card you will receive to keep track on some specific info
2) Send a personalized thank you email immediately after the event
3) Connect with those people on LinkedIn and create files in your CRM or equivalent (write a note about how you met and about what you can do for them.
4) Ask for phone and in-person meeting appointment one week later (the persons you want to reconnect with)
5) During these phone calls and in-person meetings give, ensure you give them something they can benefit from (information, connection, advise, .. remember you took note during the event).
6) Ask for help, people like to be useful.
7) Plan to have follow-up emails every 3-6 months and a call or in-person meeting every year.
Remember that follow-up is one of the most important behavior to reach a high level of efficiency. 

International Networking Week 2017

Always Carry an Umbrella

International Networking Week: Follow-up tips from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Charlie Lawson
National Director BNI UK & Ireland

Let me tell you a story about one of the first networking events I ever went to.  It was a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Greenwich in South East London, and I remember that day because it was absolutely pouring with rain.

I thought the event had been a success.  I’d met some interesting people, and collected a bunch of business cards. Before going back to the office, I thought I’d just sit down in the car, go through the cards, and work out how best to follow up with each one.

As I left the event, I stepped into the rain.  Not having an umbrella with me, I had to run as fast as I could to my car.  Despite only being in the rain for less than a minute, I was soaked through by the time I opened my car door, such that temporarily, I completely forgot about the stack of business cards in my pocket, and absentmindedly, started the car and drove back to my office.

Half way back, cursing that I’d forgotten to look through the cards, I resolved that once I got there, I’d start my follow up then.  I put the pile of business cards on my desk, right next to the phone, ready for action.

But… then the world took over. The phone went, emails needed dealing with, people interrupted me – and suddenly, before I knew it, it was the end of the day.  What to do? I left the cards, prominently on the desk, ready to start my follow up first thing the next morning.

The next morning arrived: I looked at the pile of cards again, and thought to myself ‘I must follow up with those contacts today it’s important’.  But then whatever was urgent that day took precedence, and the cards didn’t get looked at.

A day or two later, I started to feel a bit guilty about not calling the relevant people, so I moved the cards to the special place on my desk for important matters: the top drawer.  There, forgotten about, they stayed until I cleared out my desk some months later.

So, what can we learn from this?  Well, firstly I’d like to think that I’ve learned a lot about follow up since then!   But here’s two quick tips to help you follow up better than I did:

1) Use a Memory Jogger

I don’t know about you, but I have a memory like a sieve.  Even if you’ve got a good memory, when you go to a networking event and meet 10 people, it isn’t easy to remember 10 different pieces of follow-up action. There’s a very simple solution.  When you are chatting to someone, as soon as you’ve agreed whatever follow-up is required, ask for their business card and make a brief note on it.

Incidentally, I always ask the person’s permission to write on their card.  In some cultures, this is really important and it is a habit that I’ve got into.  For most people, it is a non-issue, but for some, you can tell by the look on their face that they appreciated being asked.  It’s just a small step in the relationship building process…

2) When should follow up start?

The rain that day in Greenwich didn’t help with my follow-up, but it did teach me a valuable lesson.

I always start my follow up as soon as I leave the event I’m at.  This may be in my car before I drive away, or when I get back to the office before I switch my laptop on.  I may even find a quiet corner of the room where the event is on.

Whichever it is, just taking a quick look through the stack of business cards with notes on makes such a difference to remembering what needs to happen.

I divide the cards into two piles: one for cards needing action, and the other for those cards that have been forced upon me at the event!

Aside from ensuring you’ve always got your umbrella with you, what do you do to make sure you complete your networking follow up?

International Networking Week 2017

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