International Networking Week Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Murali Srinivasan

The Language of Referrals – by Murali Srinivasan

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Murali Srinivasan

National Director – BNI India

It is so appropriate that the topic for this year’s International Networking Week is – Diversity.

Coming from India which is a country so diverse with so many different cultures, customs, habits and definitely different kinds of people, I have watched BNI and networking play a significant role in bringing them together to speak one language – the language of Referrals!!

It has been fascinating seeing business owners come together to understand each other’s business and work together to help each other grow.

At many meetings and networking events I have attended, I have seen the magic work. I start talking to another person first in their language to ask them what they do and try to understand their business. Once I show interest in their work the initial hesitation disappears and soon we find that we are setting up a meeting or connecting them to someone across the country.

Asheesh Chaddha

With the Indian economy doing well it is quite common to see startups who have relocated to a totally new city not knowing the local language or people, with the hope of making it big in business. Joining a local BNI Chapter is probably the best decision they make. They are surrounded by friendly people who are eager to help them succeed. I remember a Member in a Chapter in Mysore, Asheesh Chaddha, who is the business of Car Detailing. He relocated to Mysore to start his business. After joining a BNI Chapter, there now has his stores in over 20 locations across the state. He was a good networker who was good at listening to what others have to say and trying to help them whenever he could. His fellow Members were very supportive to help him grow and he went on the become President of the Chapter!!

The secret is all this to be able to network effectively with different kinds of people. We usually tend to talk to people who are like ourselves and we feel comfortable with. It is important that we learn how to get out of our comfort zone and network with other too. The results can be very effective

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2018!!

Murali Srinivasan National Director – BNI India

The Angle Of Industry – by YP Lai

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by YP Lai

National Director, BNI Thailand, BNI Vietnam & BNI Philippines

 

I have always looked forward to the International Networking Week. It is an opportunity to bring people from different organizations, different sectors and different interests together. Some of the friendships and businesses that has developed from the International Networking Week activities has been simply amazing. Great things happen when positive minded people network together!

 

This year, the theme for the 2018 International Networking Week is “Diversity”. Diversity could be seen from many different angles, ethnicity, professions, geographical locations, age groups, and so on. I want to explore Diversity from the angle of industry – the industry in which your profession belongs to. For example, a caterer would belong to the events industry, an architect to the building industry and a graphic designer would belong to the public relation and marketing industry.

 

Studies have shown that most business professionals have a tendency to network with people within their industry and in specific geographical regions. When I reflected on my previous career, it was so true! As the General Manager of a property development company, my network consists of architects, engineers, builders, contractors, surveyors and building material suppliers. I had very few contacts outside the construction industry, and outside of my hometown in Penang.

 

When I joined BNI, and that was a good 16+ years ago, it was a real eye opener. I was then exposed to people from many different industries. There were people from the Financial Services, Business Support, IT and Technology, Health and Wellness, Food and Beverage, Event Managers, Legal and Professional Services, Manufacturing and Industries, Beauty and many others. Suddenly everyone had the opportunity to bring their business into sectors that they had previously not thought of.

 

One of the best success stories is Wayne the Optometrist.

 

The typical modus operandi of an Optometrist is to open an outlet in a shopping mall, and then attract walk-in customers.  They would use pull up banners advertising special promotions, give out flyers in the mall and use social media marketing to attract more customers. Every day the Optometrist will pray for more walk-ins. Wayne was no different until he joined a BNI Group. He then worked closely with William the cleaner. Now, William is not the typical residential or office cleaner. Instead, he specializes in cleaning factories and has good relationships with many of the factory managers in the industrial zone.

 

William helped Wayne to connect with the Human Resource manager of the factories, and arranged for free eye tests for the factory operators. Wayne and his team will then set up station at the factory canteen for a week, screening through thousands of factory operators, and immediately giving out prescriptions for spectacles for those needing corrective eyewear. And as you can guess, Wayne created special heavily discounted eyewear packages for the factory operators, and almost everyone who needed spectacles chose from those packages. Two weeks later, Wayne was back at the factory dispensing the spectacles. It was “Diversity”, the ability to tap into other industries that had allowed Wayne to work outside the traditional “wait and pray for customers” model to actively pursue new customers right at the factories themselves.

 

Wayne’s success stories had inspired many of his BNI group members to go outside their traditional marketing channel and get customers from other non-typical industries. Like the tailor who worked with the member representing college student recruitment, and secured a contract to provide inexpensive suits for students for their internship programme.

 

So, this year, at the International Networking Week event, we will be bringing business professionals from different industries, and from different regions. At the same time, having a balanced representation of various age groups, gender, and interests. By bringing such diversity to the International Networking Week, we believe that every participant will be enriched by the new relationships formed.

 

Wishing everyone a successful International Networking Week!

 

YP Lai

National Director, BNI Thailand, BNI Vietnam & BNI Philippines

International Networking Week 2017

Marc-William Attié

Diversity Should Be Part Of Our Core Values. – by Marc-William Attié

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

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

When I first attended a BNI meeting in the UK in 2003 my first impression was WOW and the second one was: this is incredible to see so different people working together. My previous experiences in my professional life were that people talk and develop relationships with people who are like themselves.

Since these days until today, the importance and power of diversity have clearly shown its efficiency. Different backgrounds, different level of revenues, different type of education, different professions, different cultures, all of that is not only a possibility but a must have.

When a chiropractor refer a Web designer, or a landscaper refers a lawyer, or a charter accountant refer an architect (and I could continue like that forever) that shows the efficiency of diversity.

In the early days of BNI in France, I remember a massage therapist who has been able to refer a lawyer specialized in banking laws to the legal manager of one of the main French bank. That would never have been possible if we did not encourage diversities and chapters. The regular one-to-ones will help to build bridges and create a strong relationship with people that could have been considered to be too different to work together.

The chapters which show the highest return are often those which have a very high level of efficiency.

Our average chapters in France and Belgium have 26% women and 74% men. When we reach over 40% women the return usually increases.

Diversity is not only a “want to be” but a “should be”. Our Director team is so diverse. The only things we really share are our values. And that’s the most important.

Let’s use the INW to open even more, let’s invite people in our chapters that are not necessary entrepreneurs but that we can help and we will see that they will help the chapters to go further. It will help create new relationship and open new networks.

Let’s dare to work the diversity as a tool. In fact my belief is that diversity should be part of our core value.

Marc-William ATTIE | Director National

BNI France and BNI Belgium francophone

Telephone: +33 1 84 17 14 50

International Networking Week 2017

Charlie Lawson

Networking in the Gutter – by Charlie Lawson

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Charlie Lawson
National Director BNI UK & Ireland

I once attended a networking event with about 200 business owners. Alongside the open networking sessions, there were some speaker sessions.

Unfortunately one of the speakers wasn’t a great speaker. I found myself rather slumped in my chair, wondering if I could escape for a coffee. But just then, the session ended. The facilitator for the day came on to the stage and promised to find some business opportunities for someone in the room.

This woke me up a bit, but he really caught my attention when he said he wanted to find business opportunities for the person with the ‘strangest’ (his word) profession. He clarified: he wanted to see if he could help the attendee with the most obscure business, that ordinarily, it might seem impossible to find business for.

Various hands went up – and as a few professions got offered and rebutted – one gentleman, a guy called Matthew, stood up and announced that he manufactured and sold small plastic parts for commercial sewage systems. That was all he did.

Talk about obscure: he had one product. That product was only used in one application – sewage systems – and let’s face it, how much do most of us know about sewage systems?!?

I, along with most of the rest of the audience, sat back to watch what I was sure would be an absolute car crash: the facilitator trying his best to help Matthew get some business opportunities, but then having to accept that his business was just too obscure.

How wrong I was.

Having asked Matthew to tell us briefly about a few of his recent clients (mainly local councils), and whom he wanted to speak to (mainly more local councils and public service bodies), there were about 50 different people who all had contacts that they would be able to connect Matthew with.

Clearly – they were all only potential business opportunities – firstly, Matthew had to prove himself worthy of being introduced, and secondly, like any referral, he would then need to sell himself and his product to the client: but wow – what a response from the room.

What does this story tell you?

For me, it’s about the diversity of networking. Firstly, you don’t have to be in a ‘mainstream’ profession to benefit from networking. As Matthew’s case indicates – it can be a case of the more diverse, the better.

Secondly, I learned how diverse our networks are if we take the time to find out. I didn’t know Matthew before attending this networking event, but I made sure I had a chat with him after. He’d come along because he’d had his arm twisted by a friend. He was quite sure that he wouldn’t meet anyone who’d be helpful for him and his business. Indeed, he’d thought just the same as I had when he was called out for the business generation exercise. The facilitator would surely fall flat on his face!

However, of all the people in the room who had offered up would-be business opportunities, the most interesting and potentially most lucrative came from his friend that had persuaded him to come in the first place! He’d just never asked.

International Networking Week 2017

2018 International Networking Week®

Welcome to the 2018 International Networking Week®

The 2018 International Networking Week® is an initiative of BNI®.

International Networking Week 2018 features a number of networking events occurring the week of February 5 through 9, 2018 worldwide! #BNIINW18

Welcome to the 11th annual International Networking Week®

This Year’s International Networking Week Theme: DIVERSITY!

Networks are by nature “clumpy”. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us—but that’s not the most powerful kind of network. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. Therefore, when we surround ourselves with people who have similar contacts it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business. The more diverse your network, the more powerful it is. It’s the people who are not like you who can connect you to a completely new “cluster.”

One of the most important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity. A diverse personal network enables you to have people in your circle as connectors to other people in communities where you may lack contacts.

Please watch this video to learn more…

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Simultaneous events are being held globally this week to celebrate International Networking Week®. For more information about networking events in your local community please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you! The map can be downloaded from either the Google play store or the Apple Store for iPhones. GET THE MOBILE APP.

International Networking Week 2018

International Networking Week 2018®

International Networking Week 2018® is an initiative of BNI®. International Networking Week 2018 will feature a number of networking events across the world!

The 2018 International Networking Week® is just around the corner. Are you prepared to build a powerful personal network by inviting a diverse group people to your networking meeting from February 5 through 9, 2018? Check out the promo video for next year’s International Networking Week®. #BNIINW18

Are you planning on participating in International Networking Week®

Join us for the 11th Annual International Networking Week® on February 5-9, 2018

This Year’s International Networking Week Theme: DIVERSITY!

Networks are by nature “clumpy”. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us—but that’s not the most powerful kind of network. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. Therefore, when we surround ourselves with people who have similar contacts it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business. The more diverse your network, the more powerful it is. It’s the people who are not like you who can connect you to a completely new “cluster.”

One of the most important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity. A diverse personal network enables you to have people in your circle as connectors to other people in communities where you may lack contacts.

Please watch this video to learn more…

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Simultaneous events will be held globally to celebrate International Networking Week®. For more information or to promote your local networking event please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you! The map can be downloaded from the Google play store. However, the app will soon available in the Apple Store for iPhones. GET THE MOBILE APP on Android or Sign up for the soon-to-be-released Apple version

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

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/successful-business-development-starts-thank-you-ivan-misner

International Networking Week 2017

https://ivanmisner.com/master-art-follow/

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

 

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

International Networking Week 2017

Welcome to International Networking Week 2017

Ivan Misner welcomes you to and officially opens the 2017 International Networking Week with this video. Please share this video in your BNI chapter meetings this week. For more information about International Networking Week, please view our website and watch the video at http://internationalnetworkingweek.com/

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