Ivan Misner, Author at Dr. Ivan Misner®
networking system

Use Your Networking System for Better Results in Less Time

Last week, I held a 3-day live global event to effectively “Restart the World” to help businesses navigate these challenging times. Feedback received from the event attendees said that networking will be a key element by establishing strong relationships with each other. Furthermore, those attendees who credited networking for their previous pre-pandemic success said they maintained a networking system for measuring the monetary value of their networking activity. Therefore, I advise entrepreneurs worldwide to create and use a networking system as businesses return post-pandemic to our “new normal”. I have observed over the years that those that use a networking system achieve better networking results in less time.

People who used systems generated more business. The more systematic you learn to make your networking, the more productive you can be. Building a networking system is key to building a successful business. You will need a networking system for following up, staying in touch, and tracking your networking results. Especially these days as we tend to have less face-to-face in-person networking events and fewer hours to spend with our online networking.  We need to become more efficient and more productive with our networking by using and benefiting from a networking system.

Past research and videos on networking systems

According to my research, people who had a system to track their business were more likely to have felt that networking has played a role in their success. Those who felt that networking did not play a role in their success were twice as likely to not have a system for tracking their business. This is a powerful finding for people who wish to produce a referral-based business.  Those people who do not use systems to track their business felt that they are not successful in their networking.

Furthermore, watch this classic video from 2012 to find out how creating a system for referral marketing generate substantially more business through referrals.

Finally, in another 2012 video, I discuss with my good friend and BNI Executive Director, Mark Carmody, about the more systems you incorporate into your business, the more successful you’re going to be, over time.

Survey data is based on a survey of over 12,000 people from every populated continent in the world.  This survey is the basis of the book – Business Networking and Sex.

What should you track with your networking system?

  • The organizations you belong to and the results you are getting from them.
  • The time you spend networking and working your network.
  • The amount of money you’ve made from networking.
  • The people who are sending you referrals and how much of your income they’re responsible for.

You also need systems for following up with the people you meet. Stay in touch with your network members, reward your referral sources, and help your referral sources in return.

The old saying that we “treasure what we measure” turns out to be highly relevant in networking. Developing and using a good networking system will enable you to get better networking results in much less time. Your networking system will enable you to spend less time finding new clients. Therefore, you will have more time working with your established contacts. By building your network, you can provide yourself with even more referral opportunities.

Restart the World

Restart the World – world tour

It was very exciting to present the BNI “Restart the World” world tour over the past three days. Furthermore, this second live global event was even better than our first, Growing Forward Together. We streamed live in over 70 countries on YouTube this week. Finally, thank you to all of the BNI members, directors, and visitors who joined us at this historic event.

During our 3-day event powered by BNI®, we shared ideas that businesses, entrepreneurs, and business executives can embrace to effectively restart and ramp up their businesses. I want to thank the CEO of BNI, Graham Weihmiller, for his inspirational vision for the future and much more. Furthermore, I also want to personally thank the three panelists for participating in the panel discussion each day and for providing your insight. Therefore a big thank you to: Mac Srinivasan, BNI Global Markets President; Lorena Medina, BNI National Director México; and Bijay Shah, BNI National Director United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Qatar, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Restart the World

Our global movement, “Restart the World”united business leaders worldwide this week to help and support other local, national, and global business leaders to quickly get back on the path to growth. We hope that the tools and tips that you learned from us will help your business navigate these challenging times. Ultimately, we will build strong relationships with each other that will lead us all to strengthened and empowered networks. By establishing the right mindset right now, we can restart, reopen, reboot, and re-launch local businesses worldwide, powered by BNI.

 Rewatch the Video

Different people, different places, different countries, different faces, different cultures; we all speak the language of referrals, as we restart the world.

The presentations were watched so far this week by over 17,000 viewers worldwide. In case you missed the LIVE event, would like to view it again, or want to share it with others, here are the recorded presentations in 9 different languages:

Chinese Version     Japanese Version  Korean Version    Thai Version     Vietnamese Version 

Portuguese (Brazil) Version    Spanish (Argentina) Version    Spanish (Mexico) Version        Spanish (Guatemala) Version   

Italian Version        Portuguese (Portugal) Version    Spanish (Spain) Version 

Watch the English version below

Entrepreneurs had three struggles this year. First, COVID-19, then, “The Great Pause”, and now, a recession. We now can focus together to refuse to participate in the recession and get through these struggles together. By focusing on establishing the right mindset right now, we can take the steps to reopen local businesses and restart the world, powered by BNI.  

Request an Introduction

Request an Introduction to Meet a Big Name

If you do not know someone personally and want to reach them, I would not contact them directly. Instead, I would find someone that knows them and I would request an introduction. When you request an introduction to someone well-known or very successful from a trusted third party, it smooths the path to meeting them as you network up.

That is exactly how I met Harvey Mackay, author of “Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive”. Back in the ’90s, I had not published any best-selling books yet, so very few people knew who I was. Still, I wanted to meet Mr. Mackay to ask him if he would write a section of my upcoming book. I thought he would make a good contributor as he had written about networking before. No matter how many times I tried, I could not get past his assistant without name recognition.

A well-connected driver

I started asking everyone I knew if they knew anyone who might have a connection to Mr. Mackay personally. A year later, I was on a book tour in another state. A BNI member in that city picked me up at the airport. While on the one hour drive to the hotel, he asked me many questions about my book. He attended the book tour event that week and asked if I would like a ride back to the airport the next day. I agreed. On the ride to the airport, he thanked me for all the suggestions I had shared on how to build a powerful personal network. Then he asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” 

So, I said to him, “I’ve been trying to connect with Harvey Mackay. I have not had any luck getting past his assistant. You wouldn’t happen to know someone that knows Harvey, would you?” He said, “Sure, I know his assistant pretty well. In fact, I have her mobile number”. He went on to explain that he always volunteers to drive visiting authors from the airport because he learns from them during the hour drive. That is why he volunteered to drive me.

Request an Introduction to a gatekeeper

He knows Mr. Mackay’s assistant because he talked to her many times the previous year when he volunteered to drive Harvey Mackay to/from the airport. He wanted to know why to qualify me before he passed it on to his trusted contact. I told him, “I wanted to ask Mackay if he would be willing to contribute to a book I was writing called “Masters of Networking”. Mackay had written a book on networking and I knew he would be a great contributor”. The driver said he would be happy to reach out to Mackay’s assistant and request an introduction to him.

Introduced to Harvey Mackay

Guess who called me the next week? Not the assistant, but Harvey Mackay himself. Mackay is an icon in the business world. I was honored to have a fantastic conversation with him. I learned that he absolutely “walks the talk” when it comes to networking. He took the time to learn about me and my book. My luck changed when he agreed to write a contribution to my book. Over the years, we have talked together on many occasions. He was even a keynote speaker at one of our BNI conventions. We have strengthened our relationship and I consider Harvey a good friend.

I was able to request an introduction to Harvey Mackay because I asked people who I knew and who I believe trusted me. I would ask people who trusted me for the referral. They knew I would not betray their trust. People do not want to give a referral to someone who just wants to sell something to their contacts. It still works for me today.

Networking Opportunities

Identify the Networking Opportunities To Reach Your Target Market

Successful networkers identify the types of business people who make up their target market and participate in the different types of networking opportunities to reach those prospects. However, successful networking does not mean running all over town connecting with anyone who happens to be in the room. I would not recommend mass networking as it is an exhausting way to acquire new customers.

Identify the strengths you have as a business professional

Building your business is more about leveraging your strengths to meet your prospects’ needs and then networking with as many of those people as you can. What are the strengths and skills that you offer as a business professional for your target market?

  • Are you a “people person”?
  • Do you enjoy public speaking?
  • What did you do professionally before starting your business?
  • How long have you lived in the area where you do business?
  • What skills do you possess beyond your business expertise, such as managing time well, staying organized, and keeping clients focused?

Identify Your Target Market

If you do not know who is your target market, how can you effectively hit your mark? Focus on who you want to be connected to and why. That might mean seeking connections from your friends and family members. It might also mean attending online networking opportunities within a 50-mile radius of your office.

Identify The Networking Opportunities To Reach Your Target Market

If you are an extroverted consultant who worked for a big insurance company before starting your own business, then insurance firms and their agents could be a logical target market. They would value your expertise and experience, and you would be able to talk in a language they understood. Furthermore, you will probably have great success in closing the deal with these prospects. Therefore, a good place to network with them would be through an insurance trade association that meets in your area. Your target audience would likely show up there in force.

If you are a people person who dabbles in public speaking. Your networking strategy should include delivering presentations at your local chamber of commerce. That is a great way to promote yourself and meet a lot of small-business owners at once.

Infinite Giving

Infinite Giving

I have a new book,Infinite Giving”, that was just released this week and is available for purchase on Amazon.

Our book reveals for the very first time, the 7 principles of Givers Gain®  which leads to a life of giving not just for the benefit of others, but most importantly for you as well.  All the while allowing you to protect your time, energy, and resources to ensure you can practice Infinite Giving throughout the world. This law of reciprocity has allowed hundreds of thousands of people to take part in this powerful philosophy while also building a business to support them and those they care about. Givers Gain seeks to imagine a world where giving is a strength, and everybody can create success through Infinite Giving.  The philosophy of Givers Gain® has the potential to change the world. Full stop.

The Seven Principles of Givers Gain®

  1. Are They in Your Light?                     ∞ Do you want to live a more fulfilled existence, one
  2. Give Without Expectation                    where you’re building a life and business where you
  3. Give More Than Expected                     don’t have to choose between winning or helping?
  4. Give What You Can Afford                ∞ Have you ever felt like people take advantage of your
  5. It’s OK to Gain                                           good nature, both in life and business?
  6. Stay Humble                                         ∞ Do you feel alone when you need help, despite your
  7. The Gratitude Effect                               previous generous activities?

The Infinite Giving Authors

Two Brits and a Yank make an important decision about the book in this video.

Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization.  He has written over 25 books including three New York Times bestsellers.

Greg Davies is a corporate trainer, inspirational speaker, and multi-award-winning Director of BNI.  He also has a passion for stories and is known as The StoryFella, using narratives to inspire people and businesses all over the world.

Julian Lewis is a portfolio entrepreneur, with diverse interests including, IT, film making, and business coaching, he is also a multi-award-winning Director of BNI.  He continues to coach, mentor, and consult to businesses globally.

Infinite Giving is available for purchase on Amazon.  

Infinite Giving

∞ Order multiple copies of this book for yourself and

    others.

∞ The possibilities of who you can be GIVING this book

    to are INFINITE.

∞ Please use this link to order your own copy of this

    amazing book: https://tinyurl.com/InfiniteGiving

 

Acclaim for Infinite Giving

“The perfect balance between developing yourself and impacting others”
Lisa Nichols, Author of Abundance Now

“If you like stories, you’ll love this book. These aren’t just stories that inspire because they show vs. tell; they’re real-life examples from around the world that motivate you to give generously because it’s a shortcut to a meaningful life, successful business, and enduring legacy. Read it and reap.”
Sam Horn, CEO of the Tongue Fu! Training Institute 

“These principles will always work if you work the principles”
Jack Canfield, Author of Success Principles and Chicken Soup for the Soul

Former Classmates

Reconnect with Your Former Classmates

During the “back to school” season, I often recall my first day at the University of Southern California. This is where I pursued a doctorate in organizational behavior. One professor spent the first part of the class talking about the “elite network” of peers. We were going to be working alongside these peers and he talked about how we would build lifelong relationships with them. Instead, we spread out to chase our professional goals without any context in which to keep in touch after graduation. I have not networked with any of my former classmates over the years. Therefore, I have not given to or received from any of my former classmates a business referral.

Fortunately, the internet now offers a multitude of options to help you reconnect with old school friends and acquaintances. Here are three steps to convert those past relationships into useful new tools for your business.

to help you reconnect with old school friends and acquaintances. Here are three steps to convert those old relationships into useful new tools for your business.

Contact your school’s alumni services department. 

By being active with your alumni organization, you can share news about your business that may catch the eye of your fellow graduates. You can also research other alumni to find out who you may want to connect with.

Reconnect with your former classmates using social media.

LinkedIn is an online platform that connects the world’s professionals. A complete LinkedIn profile includes your educational background in addition to your professional experiences. You will likely find many of your former classmates there because LinkedIn will display anyone who attended college at the same time as you.

Facebook is a social networking site that makes it easy for you to connect and share with family and friends online. I hear stories all the time about how people have reconnected with classmates and childhood friends they have not seen in years.

Social media is best used as a brand-building tool. However, you can use it to find new sales leads to make a sale and close a deal. Write an occasional post on your pages asking your followers if they know anyone who might be a potential customer for your business. You can also occasionally mention a special deal, or announce a special event.  Encourage your followers to “like” and “share” your posts with the people in their networks.

Gently seek referrals.

Once you have organized your network, the next step is to tactfully tap your social capital. But be careful. Networking is about building stronger relationships, not closing a sale. If you immediately try to sell to an old classmate, they might drop, disconnect, or “un-friend” you. You have not talked to your classmates in years. Therefore, take the time to rebuild a strong relationship first.

I encourage you to connect with one of your former classmates during the coming week by using one of the online networking options. Once you have started reconnecting with old classmates, it’s important to keep track of these valuable contacts by setting up and maintaining a database system to organize your network to be able to follow-up with them regularly.

These tips will help you effectively reconnect with your former classmates so you do not have to sit around waiting for a reunion to give you the opportunity. The main thing is to keep in touch with these potentially wonderful business contacts.  Maintain a powerful personal network by contacting your old classmates (maybe go “old-school” and call them) regularly and adopt these tips now. 

Networking On Fire

Is Your Networking On Fire, On Hold, or In a Hole?

Businesses and entrepreneurs have quickly adapted to digital networking. Instead of meeting people at in-person events or venues, entrepreneurs are now meeting people online. However, for many entrepreneurs, transitioning from face-to-face interactions to digital networking is not easy to accomplish. Therefore, business owners need to determine their current level of networking.  Are you networking on fire, on hold, or in a hole?

Networking on Fire

These networkers are energized, goal-oriented, and thriving. They’re generating a lot of referrals with a high value. Instead of wasting their time at home, they are using their time during this ‘great pause” to educate themselves by either reading books or attending webinars. If you are networking on fire, you are participating weekly in your online networking group meetings. Finally, you are reaching out to your contacts and are conducting effective one-to-ones with others.

Networking on Hold

These networkers are still operating their businesses, but they are just going through the motions with their current clients. They do the minimum and get average results. Instead of growing their business, they are letting it slide. If you became complacent and started to slide in your networking, you are networking on hold. Finally, they might attend their weekly networking meetings, but they do not reach out to schedule one-to-ones with others.

Networking in a Hole

These networkers are struggling with networking. Actually, they are not networking much at all. Instead, these entrepreneurs act like ostriches that bury their heads in the sand when scared. They are hoping that simply denying the existence of a problem will make it go away and everything will be back to normal soon. They are actually losing business because they have difficulty retaining their clients. If you are ignoring opportunities to network with others, you are networking in a hole. Finally, the belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to avoid predators is nothing more than a myth.

Where does your networking stand right now?

If your networking is on fire, congratulations. You are refusing to participate in the recession by building your business and by supporting others when you find referrals for those people you meet during your one-to-ones.

If your networking is on hold, it’s not that hard to transition to being on fire. Break out of your shell which is holding you back. Take time to meet others online, schedule your one-to-ones, and attend online events like the one I will be hosting September 15 to 17: “Restart the World”.

If your networking is in a hole, you need to decide if you want help to get out of the hole. I have learned that I can’t help the ones that think the “hole” is the natural state of things. I call this condition the “I HIT HIDWAL” syndrome. (I’m Happy In This Hole and I Don’t Want A Ladder) I can, however, help the ones who recognize their condition and know they want out. More importantly, they not only want out of the hole they are currently in, but they will do just about whatever it takes to get themselves out of that hole! We can only help those who are ready and willing to be helped.

The key to networking improvement is recognizing where you are with your networking. Determine if your current networking is on fire, on hold, or in a hole. Then, decide what steps you will take to improve with the right combination of passion, structure, and accountability. So today, light a spark, fan the flames, and get your networking on fire.

Intentional About Diversity

Being Intentional About Diversity

Being Intentional About Diversity was written with my co-author of Networking Like a ProBrian Hilliard.

With everything going on in the world today, we thought it would be a good time to take a step back and talk about diversity, and more specifically, about diversifying your business network. Developing a truly diverse network is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Because let’s be honest, different people bring different things to the table in terms of who they know and how they might be able to refer or otherwise assist your business.

As we said in our book, Networking Like a Pro, networks are by nature, clumpy. Human beings have a tendency to congregate and surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. . . whether by race, gender, religion, or professional status. Unfortunately, this approach to networking has unintended consequence – namely, that we tend to form clusters. This is why it is so incredibly important to be intentional about the way we develop our personal network. A diverse personal network enables you to increase the possibility of including connectors to your network. These are people who cross over in some way between two or more groups of people. The best way to increase the number of possible connections in your network is to intentionally develop a diverse, heterogeneous network that has connections to other clusters of people.

If you go with the premise that relationships are the currency of today’s modern business person, then it stands to reason that having an ethnically diverse business network – comprised of people who look different than you – actually is the next logical step when it comes to building a thriving referral-based business.

But for a lot of people, especially those in the majority, the question becomes how.

In other words, how as a white businessman (or woman), can I diversify my network and get to know more business people in the African American, Asian or Latino communities?

That’s a great question and one that, at first glance, can seem daunting to say the least.

But as with most seemingly complicated questions, the answer is quite simple: Be more intentional about it.

In other words, as a member of any ethnic group, the tendency is to spend time around more people like yourself. So whatever ethnicity I am, I’m more likely to have friends and business contacts of that ethnicity. And while that’s understandable, we feel that entrepreneurs who diversify their networks – based on ethnicity, gender and a host of other factors – are actually better positioned to be more successful.

As a matter of fact, McKinsey & Company did a report in 2015 (“Diversity Matters”) which determined that companies having a high racial and ethnic diversity are actually 35% more likely to perform above their industry’s national median return.

So the question becomes what can we do to branch out and overcome the gravitational pull we all feel towards spending time around people who look like us? How can we, instead, become more intentional in our actions when it comes to actually meeting and engaging others in different communities?

Another great question…and we have some thoughts.

1. Recognize that diversity is a process, not a program. In other words, diversifying your network has to be something you want to do and commit to doing on a daily basis. It needs to become part of your core beliefs that you’re going to be intentional about meeting and engaging people who don’t look like you. Anything less than that is almost guaranteed to eventually fail.

2. Look at your phone and business contacts on social media. Do they all “look” the same in terms of ethnicity, age, education and gender? If so, then keep reading because you might have some work to do. As we said above, diversity is a process, not just a program. This has to be an ongoing process.

3. Consider volunteering for certain organizations which put you into contact with people who are different than you. This could be as simple as volunteering as a coach for a local sports team, scheduling some time to visit an inner city school during “career day,” or sitting on a local community service board. Just take it upon yourself to broaden the scope of contacts you have with various ethnicities.

4. Make it a point to talk to people who don’t look like you. This is one that I (Brian) personally started doing 2 years ago, and I love it! So as a black man in his 40’s who grew up in the North but lives in the South, I take it upon myself to talk to ANY white person who may or may not have the same education as me, or who may or may not be in the same physical shape as me, or who may or may not be originally from the North like me. And it’s not a question of patronizing people or anything like that…I just make it a point while passing them at the grocery store, walking to my car in the parking lot, picking up some Chinese food to say “Hey, how’s it going?” And depending on the situation, sometimes that leads to more conversation, sometimes it doesn’t. But it gets everyone out of their comfort zone for a bit engaging new folks.

5. Invite different people of different ethnicities to your networking group. If you’re in a local Chamber of Commerce or a BNI Chapter, this is a perfect opportunity for you to engage others and invite them to your group. For example, maybe you’re out networking and you see a person of color and you decide to implement Point #4 from above. Ok, then during that conversation, you let them know about your group and see if they’d like to attend. And that’s it. Super easy to do, and it is very intentional.

6. Make this a top down initiative wherever you are in the organization. For those of you who have employees in your business, this point is crucial. If you want to have diversity in your organization and be more successful as a business because of it, then you absolutely must take the lead and make diversity a “thing.” Which means it is something that people value, something that people do, and something that you, as the leader, set as an example on a regular basis for them to emulate.

7. Hard-code diversity into the fabric of your business. Similar to the previous leadership point, if you’re going to be serious about diversity in your business, we recommend you seriously consider making it one of the core values of your company. Put it in your public material, address it when talking to your team/employees, and make it a part of the DNA of the organizational culture so people are crystal clear how you feel about it and how it plays out in your company.

It is important to note that there is a subtle but crucial difference between inclusivity and diversity. You may have an organization where the members feel like it is very inclusive, but when you look at it from the outside, does it truly look diverse? If not, you need to be more intentional about being inclusive to create diversity. Diversity is a fact; inclusiveness is a choice. Intentionally acting in an inclusive manner is what creates diversity.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not there yet…maybe you haven’t done these things as well as you could have. But today is the day to start. It’s never too late to do the right thing.

Restart the World

Join Us To Restart the World

Business leaders from around the globe will collectively restart the world this September. During this 3-day event powered by BNI®, we will be sharing ideas that entrepreneurs can embrace to effectively restart and ramp up their businesses.

Restart the World

I will be kicking off a global movement, Restart the World” LIVE on September 15th. BNI will unite organizations and business leaders worldwide to help our local, national, and global businesses big and small get back on the path to growth. During each of the three one-hour events, Graham Weihmiller (BNI Chairman and CEO) and I will announce BNI’s plans to help restart the world.

I will be hosting an engaging panel discussion with select business leaders from across the globe about their key insights for growth. Plus, we will be sharing tips on establishing the right mindset right now to restart, reopen, reboot, and re-launch local businesses worldwide, powered by BNI.  

Scheduled to appear on the panel are Mac Srinivasan (BNI Global Markets President), Lorena Medina (Director Nacional de BNI en México), and Bijay Shah (BNI National Director: United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Qatar, Tanzania, and Uganda). Additional panelists may be announced at a later time.

We are expecting tens of thousands of BNI Members, alumni, collaborators, and colleagues to attend these sessions. Furthermore, “Restart the World” is a global initiative that will continue well past this event. We hope that the tools and tips that you learn from us will help your business navigate these challenging times. Ultimately, we can build our relationships together that will lead us all to strengthened and empowered networks.

Reshare the Video

You can help promote our event by sharing this video on your social media pages. https://youtu.be/XtQ4zwAZsoQ

Review the Schedule

Following the success of BNI’s Growing Forward Together World Tour last month, this one-hour event will again be live-streamed over three days in multiple regions worldwide. The chart below lists the scheduled broadcast time for your country so that you can join us LIVE.

Global Broadcast Time Schedule

Remember the Registration

Registration is now open. Join us as we continue to Restart the World with this global initiative. Visit restarttheworld.live to register or click below.

Entrepreneurs have two problems this year. First, COVID-19, and now, a recession. What I know to be true is that if you focus on the problems, you will become an expert on the problems. However, when you focus on the steps to restart the world, you can get through both struggles.

Sales Force

Networking is About Training a Sales Force, Not Closing a Sale

Networking groups can definitely help businesses generate referrals.  However, I have talked to many people who say to me that despite the fact that they are giving business FOR other members of their networking group, they are not getting business FROM other members of their group. For those of you who want to get more business from the networking groups you belong to, keep this in mind: When attending referral-related networking groups remember that your efforts should be focused more on training a sales force than on trying to “close a sale”.

In other words, if you want to get business FROM the fellow members of your networking group, it is key that you EDUCATE these people about some of the specifics of your business and what to look for in order to refer you effectively. If you were training a sales force what would you say in this training process?  How would you describe your product or service to your salespeople that would enable them to fully understand the benefits of what you have to offer?  This is what you should be doing at a networking meeting.

The only way people can pass referrals to you is by getting to know about your business AND about you. No one expects a referral group’s member to be an actual salesperson for all the other members; but, if you want referrals, the other members do need to be trained.  Thus, the way your introductions are done can substantially impact your results in generating referrals FROM other networking group members. I have personally seen people participate in referral groups who were in businesses so unusual that I didn’t think it was possible for them to do well; however, what I didn’t take into account was their personal commitment, attitude, and ability to teach people “how” to refer them.

Three key points to consider for educating people in your networking groups to be your sales force:

1) Do not generalize when asking for referrals: I have heard hundreds of thousands of introductions at business networking events in my 35 years of running a business referral organization. When talking about the type of referrals they want, many people use the words “anyone,” “someone,” or “everyone.”  I don’t recommend it. Why?  Because it is too general. If you say you can help “anyone” who needs your service, it is so generic that it doesn’t stick in anybody’s brain. Remember, specific is terrific.

2) Bring support material with you when you are at your networking meetings: If you have something visual for members to view or take with them, you increase your chances of staying in their minds long after the day’s meeting. A flier about a product sale or a newsletter from your company is a good item to share.  You might also bring samples of a product that you carry in your store or place of business.

3) Break your business down into Lowest Common Denominators (LCD’s) when introducing yourself: We all thought we would be done with algebra when we graduated, didn’t we? Here is an example of how one discipline can be applied to another.  In networking, Lowest Common Denominators apply to business introductions when you focus each week on only one aspect of your business at your networking meetings.  In other words, you break your business down into very small pieces.  You may be tempted to use the laundry list approach:  listing all the areas of focus that your business covers.  I would submit to you that your fellow networkers will learn more about you a week to week if you explain a single aspect of your business at each meeting.

I once saw the owner of a florist shop stand to give his introduction, holding a single red rose, wrapped in cellophane with a very thin stem.  He described the type of rose it was and how long it would bloom.  He then told his members he had just purchased it at the grocery store on his way to the meeting that morning.  After that, he reached under the table and pulled out another long-stemmed red rose, fully three times larger, with a huge redbud and a much thicker, green stem.  He proceeded to describe this rose, emphasizing that it would stay fresh and actually fully bloom and open up, lasting twice as long.   He held both by the bottom tip of the stems and waved them back and forth showing how thin the grocery store stem was as it swayed from side to side with each movement of his hand and how sturdy his rose was which didn’t budge at all.  With that, he announced that there was only a 3 cents difference in price between the two roses… his rose cost less!

This is a classic example of how to use an LCD when educating people about your business while at networking events.  The floral shop owner did not use general examples, he brought something to show, and he described it (and only it) in detail. If you want to get referrals from your networking efforts – remember to train your sales force using the three techniques above and you will see a noticeable difference in your results. 

Nervous Networker

Overcoming the Nervous Networker Condition

Ultimately, the goal of networking is building relationships with other people at an emotional level to help build a business. It involves meeting and interacting with people you can know and trust. However, the nervous networker is anxious about reaching out to potential contacts and prospects. Feeling comfortable introducing yourself to total strangers is one of the biggest obstacles to successful networking. If you’re a nervous networker you’re not alone. Many people feel a bit daunted about going to a networking event or meeting lots of strangers. The good news is that there are three things you can do which will reduce your anxiety.

Acting Like a Host

In her book, Skills for Success, Dr. Adele Scheele tells about a cocktail party where she met someone hesitant to introduce himself to total strangers. Dr. Scheele suggested that he “consider a different scenario for the evening. That is, consider himself the party’s host instead of its guest.” She asked him if he were the host, wouldn’t he introduce himself to people he didn’t know and then introduce them to each other? Wouldn’t he watch for lulls in conversations, or bring new people over to an already-formed small group?

Scheele’s new acquaintance acknowledged the obvious difference between the active role of the host and the passive role of the guest. Scheele concluded that “there was nothing to stop this man from playing the role of the host even though he wasn’t the actual host.”

Don’t Act, Be

Now I know that sounds easy… but, when it comes right down to it, actually acting like the host isn’t so simple for many people. Not all individuals are good at “acting” like something they are not. Therefore, I have one important thing to add to this advice: don’t “ACT” like the host, “BE” the host.

Most of the business organizations and groups that you go to have a position that is responsible for meeting visitors. I know it sounds crazy telling someone who is uncomfortable meeting new people at a networking event to be the host. At first, it must sound a little like telling a boxer to “lean into a punch!” however, there is a big difference and it works.

Most people’s fears relating to meeting new people at networking events come from not having a proper context to introduce themselves to others. When you are the host, you don’t feel uncomfortable introducing yourself to someone you don’t know who’s at your party. So the key, in feeling comfortable, is to establish the proper context.

Become a Gate Keeper

To establish the proper context, I recommend that you volunteer to be an Ambassador, or Visitor Host, at the networking groups you belong to. An Ambassador or Visitor Host is someone who greets all the visitors and introduces them to others. Over time, this type of position will allow you to meet many people, put them together with others, and become an accomplished “gatekeeper.” Helping others connect, meet, and get want they need – will unquestionably help you build your business. Furthermore, it will do it in a way that helps others.

By using this technique, you’ll start to develop excellent networking skills and get great exposure to many business professionals in a short time.

A distinguishing characteristic of self-made millionaires is that they network everywhere. Most importantly, they do it all the time – at business conferences, at the health club, on the golf course, or with the person sitting next to them on a plane. This fact alone should motivate you to place yourself in situations where you can meet new people and do so in a way that you feel comfortable.

It’s not called net-sit, or net-eat, it’s called net-work. If you want to become a better networker, try this technique out. You will be nervous, and the act of networking might feel alien, but pushing yourself can sometimes lead to great things. You will be pleased with the results.

The PRICE System

The PRICE System For Your 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.

The PRICE System 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 to 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 with 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 BNI chapter members.  Ask for their feedback.  Use your BNI chapter’s “members only group page” on Facebook to get feedback on your program. 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.

In business, you achieve what you measure. The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. 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 with 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.

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