Networks Are Clumpystring(19) "Networks Are Clumpy"

Networks are cluster-like, they are clumpy. We tend to build friendships and hang out with people that are like us. The challenge with surrounding ourselves with similar people is that they also tend to have similar contacts and know the same people as us. 

This video is part of my Master Class from the BNI®  2021 Global Convention.

Business Networking Diversity

A diverse personal network enables you to increase the possibility of having connectors in your network. Connectors are people who cross over between two or more groups or clusters which allow them to easily link different groups of people together.

When it comes to business networking – not having a lot in common with someone may mean that they can be a connection to a whole world of people that you would not otherwise get to meet. A diverse network is a POWERFUL network.

It is important to build a diverse network of professional contacts that include people with different interests and backgrounds. The only thing that they should have in common with you is that they should be really good at what they do.

Competing in the New World of Workstring(34) "Competing in the New World of Work"

My friends, Kian Gohan and Keith Ferrazzi, have written a new book and they have given me permission to excerpt it here as a blog. I invite you to read this excerpt from their book, “Competing in the New World of Work: How Radical Adaptability Separates the Best from the Rest.”

Beyond large Fortune 1000 enterprises like Domino’s Pizza and NOV, consider how smaller organizations in different industries have also leveraged new technologies to evolve their businesses. Founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner, BNI is a business referral network for executives, entrepreneurs and small business owners. BNI has over 10,000 chapters and more than 280,000 members worldwide. Every week, BNI chapters meet over breakfast to conduct a standardized networking exercise focused on targeted referrals. Members stand up and have 30 seconds to introduce themselves and their work. After self-introductions, members stand up again and individually offer three specific referrals in their personal networks that might be potential client leads for other chapter members. 

These aren’t just casual referrals. BNI members develop deep social capital with each other, and believe that both parties benefit when they refer their personal social networks to other BNI members. They call this core value “Givers Gain.” And indeed, in 2020 BNI passed 11.5 million referrals to their members, generating over $16 billion worth of business for members. That’s more than twice the GDP of the country of Lichtenstein!

In 2018, Dr. Ivan Misner suggested to the company’s board of directors that he believed the future of face-to-face networking is online, and that unless BNI experimented and adopted new technologies like mixed reality, holographic presence, and video communication channels, BNI would be negatively disrupted in its next decade. He was prescient and foresaw the rise of remote work, even before the pandemic. By March 2020, all 10,000 BNI chapters had pivoted to online networking – a dramatic business shift for an organization with a 3-decade history dedicated to in-person business networking. Fast-forward to mid-2021, and BNI added 500 new chapters during the pandemic year, all of which have only ever met online! Thus confirming Dr. Misner’s belief that every organization needs to adopt new technologies, or be disrupted.

Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Excerpted from Competing in the New World of Work: How Radical Adaptability Separates the Best from the Rest by Keith Ferrazzi, Kian Gohar, and Noel Weyrich. Copyright 2022 Ferrazzi Greenlight Inc. All rights reserved.

You are welcome to leave a comment and share the blog with others.
The book, “Competing in the New World of Work,” is available is here.

You’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat

You’re Going to Need a Bigger Boatstring(36) "You’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat"

In the 1975 hit movie “Jaws”, Martin Brody, the Police Chief of a small summer resort town in the northeastern United States, utters one of the most quotable lines in film history when he gets his first up-close look at the Great White Shark.  As soon as he sees it, he slowly backs into the wheelhouse and says to Captain Quint, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.”

This is the prototypical ‘Brody Moment’: a shockingly unambiguous realization that the current resources are no longer a viable option to achieve the results you’re looking for. 

I hope to explain how my Brody Moment came about.  However, the most important thing is for you to think about “your” Brody Moment as you read about mine.  Understanding your Brody Moment can help you think about your motivations and move forward successfully with your entrepreneurial endeavors.

My Brody Moment came at the end of 1985 after I had opened 20 chapters of BNI® by accident – without a plan, without even trying. That’s when I realized that I had struck a chord in the business community.

The “Why” for BNI

I was a management consultant in Southern California and I needed referrals for my consulting practice. I needed referrals for my own business, and I hoped that I would be able to refer some of my friends. So, I put together a group where we could start passing business to each other.

I had previously gone to networks that were incredibly mercenary, everyone was trying to sell to me. I went to other groups that were totally social, with happy hour and hors d’oeuvres, but there was no business happening at those events.

I wanted something that had a focus on business without being mercenary and was relational but not transactional; something that wasn’t totally social because I wanted that relationship-building aspect that led to business. Therefore, I created a network that I hoped would satisfy those two considerations. 

I wanted to merge that focus on business with the relational aspect, and the glue that would hold it together is the principal core value of Givers Gain® – the idea that if I help you and you help me, we will all benefit by working together.

That one networking group led to another and another until there were twenty chapters within 12 months! That first year, I was method-acting my way through the process; I was figuring it out as I went. I was young – 28 years old when I started the company, and I really thought most businesses had this figured out. The thing is, nobody had it figured out because we don’t teach business networking in colleges and universities anywhere in the world. What I didn’t expect to find was that everyone has this challenge and that was my Brody Moment.

BNI was an example of necessity being the mother of invention and it helped a lot of businesses. At the end of 1985, I figured out that I “was going to need a bigger boat”. This way of business networking was going to be much larger than I anticipated, so I sat down and created my business plan to scale the company.

A BIG Goal

In June of 1986, I had a goal in mind. I went to the library to gather information on populations. (Remember, at that time there was no such thing as Google.)
After extensive research and many calculations, I felt that BNI could have 10,000 chapters someday.

Shortly after that, I told a friend that I thought there could be 10,000 groups someday. And he said, “10,000?” I replied, “Yeah, I think it’s possible.”
Then he asked me, “And how many groups do you have now?”
I answered, “30.”
He said, “And you think you could have 10,000?”
“Yes, I think it’s possible,” I replied.
To which he said, “It’s good to have goals, Ivan.”

Yes, it was a big goal. And every year, near the end of December, I took time to reflect. I had read the E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber early on and used that as a baseline strategy. I looked at what was working well, and what didn’t work at all.
Each year, I adjusted my plan and revisited the small goals that were all striving toward that one big goal of scaling my company into a global enterprise.

In December 2020, we reached it – BNI had grown to more than 10,000 chapters! And we continue to grow, helping BNI members around the world do business through referral marketing.

As a leader, you’ve probably experienced a few Brody Moments over the course of your career, and you’ve probably got a few more coming. What you do as a result, and how fast you do it, can turn a Brody Moment into a defining moment.

Be Passionate, Not Pushy

Be Passionate, Not Pushystring(24) "Be Passionate, Not Pushy"

Passion and enthusiasm are key components for success in business, as well as for success in business networking. However, passionate people sometimes come across as being pushy, often because they truly believe that what they are offering to someone is really going to be beneficial for them. Their excitement to share the opportunity can be overwhelming, causing others to feel pressured. When people feel pushed or pressured, they are unable to fully hear the message.  

Our Intention

Our intention plays a huge part in how we speak and interact with others. If we don’t believe in the value of what we are offering, or we come from a place of desperation, our words will sound forced or salesy. When we come from a space of love – looking to impact lives, and service – adding value to others, there is more opportunity for the other person to understand our pure intention.

When I started BNI® in 1985, I opened 20 chapters in one year. I did it without any collateral marketing materials and without today’s technology. I did it with ONE sheet of paper and that was the one-page meeting agenda that I personally typed up.

I had one other extremely important thing. In addition to the one sheet of paper, I had passion. I was passionate about spreading the word of referral marketing and passionate about my intention to help more and more people succeed in their business. I was the poster child for “ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice!”

Inviting People to Your Networking Meeting

I have seen what happens when someone invites a guest to visit their BNI or other business networking meeting. People are so passionate, that sometimes others may feel it’s pushy, when in fact, the members are genuinely excited about inviting someone to meet their group.

When we are so enthusiastic that we say, “Hey, you have to come to this chapter, you have to come and meet this particular member!” we may go a bit overboard. When we say, “Hey, I would like to introduce you to a person that I think will be a good connection for your business,” the focus is on them. By clearly sharing our intention to connect them to a particular person that is going to benefit their business, our authentic desire to help is more clearly understood.

Speaking Their Language

It is important to meet people where they are. This is especially true when you are marketing or talking with potential customers and clients. They may not be emotionally, mentally, or even financially ready right now for your products or services. However, you can plant a seed for future harvest. This is in line with the philosophy of Givers Gain® – even if the person is not ready now, we leave them in a better place than before we met them. It can be with the benefit of knowledge we shared, or an offer to make a helpful introduction for them.

We can also connect with people on a deeper level when we understand and respect their motivation and their behavioral style. We must first understand our own style, then learn how to identify behavioral styles in others, and most importantly, adapt our approach to those different styles. This allows us to communicate more effectively because we are speaking their language.

Remember, how you communicate is important. When we talk about our business with enthusiasm and energy, backed by our intention to help others, our passion shines through.

Do You Still Use Business Cards?string(32) "Do You Still Use Business Cards?"

International Networking Week® guest blog

by Charlie Lawson, National Director, BNI UK & Ireland

International Networking Week is about celebrating the role networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. One of the key tools in networking is the Business Card, but as the world works its way out of the pandemic, I’ve noticed a difference in the way people are using them.

Business cards just aren’t as prevalent as they once were – and there’s a few reasons for that. Check out the video to find out more…

I’d love to know – do you still use business cards? Or have you switched to a technology solution?

Charlie Lawson | BNI UK & Ireland

It’s Up to Us to Make a Differencestring(36) "It’s Up to Us to Make a Difference"

International Networking Week® guest blog
by Michael Mayer, National Director, BNI Germany – Austria

Infinate Giving

It’s up to us to make a difference. Especially in times like these, in which our lives are dominated by a pandemic, worries and uncertainty prevail. However, we can make a difference by supporting entrepreneurs. Each and every one of us can contribute to making the world a better place and to improving the lives of people around us.

 

I often tell the story of a message I received from Frederik Malsy, a BNI® franchisee from Germany. In his message, he asked me, “Michael, since you are on my list today, how could I improve your life or help you (with contacts, etc.) by dedicating 20-30 minutes of my time to you? What can I do for you?”

Frederik has been doing this for two years now and it really inspired me. Since then, it has been my goal to truly help one person per day. I also write it down in a book. It’s all about taking action instead of only talking about it. If every BNI member, every entrepreneur and everyone else helped another person every day, it would have a major impact on our world. It does not matter if you help someone with a referral, your contacts, a piece of advice or by simply listening to them. In any case, it would not only have significant effects on the world of business but also on society in general. Imagine 285,000 BNI members helping others every day. With this initiative, we could help 8.55 million people per month to live a better and happier life. Wow!
I am inspired and motivated because I believe that this is possible if we all pull together.

It’s Your Choice

Another example of how we can change the life of others: A Polish BNI partner called me last summer. I had just arrived in Croatia where I wanted to spend my summer holidays with my family. I had planned to spend less time on the phone and actively try to relax. When he called, he asked whether I had contacts to an insurance company in Germany because his aunt had a brain tumor, and her insurance didn’t cover the costs for the necessary procedure. At that moment I had to make a decision. Do I want to help, or do I tell him that I’m on vacation and can’t help?
For me, the decision was clear. I called Britta Deuwerth, our BNI franchisee in the Northwestern region of Germany, and in a joint effort, we were able to help. In the end, the insurance covered the costs, and it was even possible to get an earlier appointment for the surgery.

Don’t Wait, Start Now!

My request to you: Choose a few people from your community, your BNI Chapter, your BNI region, among your employees, within your family and from your group of friends, contact them and ask them, “How can I help you?” Prepare a weekly schedule and make a note of who you are going to help today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and so on. Reserve approximately 20-30 minutes every day to help these people.

Of course, this is time-consuming, but together we can make a real difference. Sometimes it is enough to actively listen to people. A short while ago, a friend told me that he wanted to relandscape a flowerbed in his garden. With the simple sentence: “Have you already found someone to do the job? I know a great gardener I could call!” I was able to help. A few weeks later, the work on the flowerbed was completed, my friend was more than happy with the result, and the gardener had finished a job he would otherwise not have gotten. In addition, two neighbors saw the flowerbed and as a result, they also hired the gardener. Total contract value: 13,500 euros. Little things make all the difference and commitment definitely pays off. 

I can only speak for myself, but it really fulfills me and makes me happy to help others. And I can promise you that the help you offer is appreciated. Sometimes people might be surprised when you contact them. They might also not know immediately how you can help them. But that doesn’t matter. If you talk to them for a bit, you usually find out more about the challenges they are currently facing.

Let’s start a movement! Who’s in? At BNI, we simply do it. We are movers and shakers. If you have any questions on how to start, I am happy to offer advice and support. I invite you to play your part. It’s up to you if we only think about it or really do it! One thing is certain: We are changing the way the world does business based on Giver’s Gain®

 Michael Mayer | BNI Germany – Austria
#BNIGermanyAustria

 

Relationships + Referrals = Revenuestring(35) "Relationships + Referrals = Revenue"

Successful business networking is based on developing relationships with the people in our networks. When people get to know, like and trust each other, they are willing to make introductions and referrals to contacts in their other networks. Those referrals can turn into new customers and clients, adding new sales for our business. That is how Relationships + Referrals = Revenue.

Relationships

To create success and harmony in our lives, it is important to build and maintain our  relationships – in our home, in our work, and in our community.

HOME
We get busy with day-to-day life, especially if we are working from home, and sometimes we take our family for granted. Remember to:
      – Be grateful. Tell the people in our homelife how much we appreciate them. Be specific, be sincere, and tell them often.
      – Show gratitude in a way that means something to them. We often treat others the way we like to be treated. Understanding behavior styles and recognizing the preferences of the people in our lives allows us to share our gratitude in a more meaningful way.  

WORK
Whether we are an entrepreneur or an employee, we spend a lot of time at work. We have business relationships with our team and co-workers.
Remember to:
      – Say thank you. YOU know how much you appreciate them, let them hear it.
      – Be helpful – ask, “How can I help you?” to create beneficial teamwork.
      – Avoid the “it’s not my job” attitude. Expect that everyone contributes in whatever way is needed to achieve success for all.

COMMUNITY
We are part of the community that we live in, whether it is small or large. Our community pulls together when times get tough and celebrates together when things go well.
Remember to:
      – Get involved with a service organization or a service project in your community.
      – Commit to regular attendance and participation with the groups you are part of.
      – Contribute your time, treasure, or talent to help others.

Referrals

We know that it takes time for others to have the confidence in us to get referrals from our network. When we have invested the time to establish strong relationships, and have given referrals to our networking partners, we move from visibility to credibility in the VCP Process®.  Remember to:
      – Actively listen and look for potential referrals for members of your network.
      – Follow up with networking partners to learn how the referrals you gave turned out.
      – Thank your referral partners for connecting with and taking care of the people you referred to them.

Revenue

We can only move to the “P” in the VCP Process – Profitability, after we have obtained credibility with our referral partners. This is after we have built strong and deep relationships, asked others how we can help them, and given referrals to them. That is when we begin to receive referrals for our business, and the revenue comes naturally as a result. Those referrals may come directly from people we gave referrals to, however, they often come from other indirect sources. When we give to others, in our home, our work, our community, it comes back to us in a variety of ways.

In BNI, we call this Givers Gain® and it is our principal Core Value. It is based on the age-old concept of what goes around comes around. Our relationships bring us referrals, which lead to revenue. When you help others, and they help you, everyone does better.

Can’t Decide What to Do

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There have been many times in my career where I have struggled with making an important decision.  Do I go left or, do I go right?  Do I say “yes” or, do I say “no?”  I generally tend to look at things logically and try to make good use of the data I have at hand.  But still, there are times that I have continued to be torn about what to do next on some issues.

Over the years, I’ve learned to rely on my intuition when I’m struggling with a particular choice.  To assist with that, I’ve developed two techniques that have helped me make decisions that involve things I’m still unclear about.

Get Out of Your Head

The first one came to me more than twenty years ago.  When my children were young, we were in a Baskin Robbins ice cream store and the kids were completely undecided as to what flavor to get.  We were next in line and there were a lot of people behind us, and I knew that they had to decide soon.  So, I told them all to close their eyes and stick their tongues out and wave it around.  Imagine being in line behind us. There was an adult and three young children standing in a row with their eyes closed and their tongues out waving around in the air.  The other customers must have thought we were crazy.  But interestingly, each one of my children suddenly announced the flavor they wanted.  My hope was that they would get out of their head where all the choices were swirling around in front of them and go with their intuition and choose what their gut was telling them they really wanted. It worked.  They all immediately decided what they wanted (much to the delight of everyone behind us).

Now, full disclosure – when I’m in my office and I can’t make a decision, I do not actually stick my tongue out and wave it around (can you imagine someone walking in my office while I’m doing that?!).  However, I do mentally go there.  Once I have enough information – if I still can’t decide, I sit back and mentally stick my tongue out and wave it around.  That allows me to get in touch with my gut feeling or intuition.  More often than not, I am glad that I did.

The Coin Reaction

Here’s a second technique that I recommend when you can’t decide what to do about something.  Again, get all the information that you can relating to your choices.  Then, grab a coin and assign one choice to heads and another choice to tails.  OK, you’re probably thinking – seriously Ivan, you’re a Ph.D. and you’re going to suggest that I flip a coin?!  Hang on – listen to the rest.  When you flip the coin and get your result, sit back for a moment and check in with that intuition again.  If you feel frustration or dread, that’s the wrong choice.  However, if you feel relief or satisfaction, that’s the choice you should go with regardless of what side the coin landed on. This technique is a way to use something tangible to get in touch with your intuition and cut through the decision-making confusion.

Remember, I still believe you need to look at the data and consider the facts.
I am just suggesting that there are times (and ways) to also take your intuition into consideration.

Your intuition is your inner soul talking to you.  Don’t ignore it, embrace it.

We Can All Count on Changestring(26) "We Can All Count on Change"

Life and business are always changing. In fact, the one thing that we can all count on is change. Sometimes businesspeople are frustrated and angry with changes in their industry, or even in their community. Professionals who are part of a larger organization or company may be upset or confused by changes that are a natural part of the business cycle.

I would like to share some thoughts about this with you.

First, we usually don’t see behind the scenes. There is always another side to the story, and there are typically more facts and information than we are aware of that went into the decisions which resulted in the changes.

Some people say that they liked things the way they were. They say it before they have fully explored or tried the changes, often forgetting that “the way things were” was once something new, something that was also a change at one time.

Belief

Second, we must have belief. We have to believe in what we can do to help more people – more people in our local communities, and more people that we are connected to through our company or organization. 

John C. Maxwell says that leaders always put other people first. When we focus on our mission and our goal to help others with our products and services, we become successful leaders.

As leaders, it is imperative that we believe in the processes that we work within. We have to believe in what we do so that others can see and feel that belief… so they can be inspired by it. Inspired people motivate themselves and they also encourage others to perform at their highest potential, sharing their excitement and energy in their contributions to their work and throughout their lives.

Status Quo will Go

I understand that people like the contentment and the comfort that they feel with a successful status quo. However, a successful status quo is the present, which is built upon a strong past. A comfortable present right now does not mean that the present we experience next week or next year will be exactly the same. The changes that today brings can contribute to our future success.

We all know this at some level, and if we think about it, our daily lives are full of yesteryears’ changes that we now embrace. The telegram, telephone, pager, and the 2-pound mobile phone all were the status quo of their day, and now the majority of us rely on our smart phone, which itself was a major change and disruption to the industry.

Whether we like it or not, the future involves change. Today’s status quo will go, and the change will happen. We can choose to resist it or to embrace it. 

We can all count on change in our lives.
Consider this: Is complaining about a change that is already in place going to help your customers and clients? Is it going to help you achieve greater success? My advice is focus on your own company, your team, your department, your own actions. You’ll do well if you do that.

Subscription Revenue for Your Business

Subscription Revenue for Your Businessstring(38) "Subscription Revenue for Your Business"

I have known Robert Skrob for several years; he is one of my co-authors of the book, The Connector Effect: The Proven Way to Grow Your Business Right Now.

Robert is the #1 authority in subscription revenue growth, and I talked with him about how small businesses can expand their revenue exponentially through subscriptions. He shared information from his recent book, The 9 Proven Models for Exponential Subscription Growth.

Today’s customers are increasingly looking for subscription offers and are more amenable to buying a subscription to a restaurant, to a professional service, or other companies that they use and frequent.

Robert says that this can be a lucrative opportunity for small businesses. Rather than getting a customer one time with a single transaction, they can get a customer that purchases a preapproved series of transactions.

Many businesses don’t think of themselves as having the opportunity to do a subscription model. However, most businesses DO have that ability. Yes, there are a lot of large companies offering subscriptions – think of Costco and Netflix. If we look a little closer, we find that small businesses everywhere also offer them.

Examples of Successful Subscriptions

Many businesses use a VIP model. A restaurant can offer a benefit for VIP members or subscribers to go to the restaurant during certain hours available only to them or to have exclusive VIP access to certain tables while other customers have to wait in line.

A pre-approved supplier business that provides goods or services can invite clients to have a subscription. You may have heard of Dollar Shave Club; they were able to completely disrupt the razor business by providing razors for significantly less cost to consumers. This worked without a distribution system as they were going direct to their customer. Additionally, because they used a subscription model where their customer had pre-approved several orders and thus had a higher lifetime value, Dollar Shave Club was able to disrupt an entire industry.

I realize that there are some businesses that might say, “Well, I don’t see how I could have a subscription.” I asked Robert about the types of businesses that could have the opportunity to do a subscription model.

He said that quite a few businesses already do – from landscaping to pest control, they are already a regular service that people subscribe to. There are some Certified Public Accountants (CPA) that have an audit defense subscription. The client pays an annual fee and if they are ever audited, the CPA firm will come to their defense.

A home roofing company can have an annual gutter cleaning service, sold together with a new roof purchase, or as a stand-alone item. Heating/air conditioning businesses and plumbing businesses offer a type of subscription program. When they go to a home and give an estimate, they say, “It’s this price to do the repair. Or if you would like to become one of our members? You can enjoy the member discount on this repair, and it also entitles you to these additional benefits.”

I personally enjoy membership for this type of service. I have a subscription with an AC and plumbing company that comes to my home every three months and checks my air conditioning units and my plumbing to make sure everything is working well. I appreciate that the company automatically schedules the appointments, and I don’t have to keep track of when it next needs to be done. It also builds customer loyalty. I am not going to call anyone else if something happens between the quarterly visits.

Going Beyond Products and Services

In many businesses, the customer is buying services, or they are buying an item. Whereas with membership, clients are buying a type of promise that they’re going to be connected. For many companies, subscriptions add another revenue stream that doesn’t cost them money to fulfill. It can be a very high margin revenue stream with a large impact on customer value.

Robert says the biggest difference between successful subscription businesses and unsuccessful ones is that their 4 Subscription Growth Drivers work together and are appropriate for their specific subscription model. Each of the nine models is unique and has its own way of attracting subscribers by demonstrating value. Subsequently, the 4 growth drivers, which include pricing and retention, are customized for each model, as he clearly explains in his book, which I recommend.

Many businesses don’t think of themselves as having the opportunity to do a subscription model. However, most businesses DO have that ability. Yes, there are a lot of large companies offering subscriptions – think of Costco and Netflix. If we look a little closer, we find that small businesses everywhere also offer them.

Consider your business – is there a way to reward your most reliable clients with an opportunity to upgrade to VIP status, or to invite your customers to pre-order and receive a regular delivery of pre-approved goods? There is ample consumer convenience in a subscription model and if you are the company that makes people’s lives easier, you can increase their loyalty and longevity.

Do You Have a Safety Pin?string(25) "Do You Have a Safety Pin?"

A year ago I published a blog called The Necklace, about a dream regarding my late wife, Elisabeth. I have had several prophetic dreams since then and I felt compelled to write about the most recent one.

In mid-November, I had a dream where I was standing in a ship’s stateroom. I saw Elisabeth on my left and on my right, our daughter, Dorian, came up to me and said, “do you have a safety pin?”  I said, “what?”  And she repeated, “do you have a safety pin?”  I immediately woke up and wrote the dream down.

Well, I knew I was headed out on an Antarctic expedition with Dorian in less than two weeks so as a lark, I put a safety pin in one of the pockets of my shaving kit.

Our first stop on the ship’s expedition was South Georgia Island. I brought along two flags for photographs on Antarctica.  One was a BNI® flag and the other was a BNI Foundation flag.

Do-You-Have-a-Safety-Pin

Elisabeth was the Co-Founder of the BNI Foundation and ran it for many years.  She was really proud of the work we did for charity through the Foundation. Dorian and I did a dry-run taking photos with the flags on South Georgia Island before we got to Antarctica. The BNI flag was heavier and the photos worked out fine.  However, the BNI Foundation flag came from another source and was much lighter in weight.  The wind caused it to flap all around and we could not get a good photo of me with the flag.

When we got back on the ship, I spoke to Dorian about what we could do when we got to Antarctica so she could get a good photo of me holding it. That’s when she looked at me and said, “do you have a safety pin?”  I said, “what?” (in shock with her using the same words as in my dream) and she said again, “do you have a safety pin?” She went on to say, “you can pin one corner of the flag to your pants, so it stays down for a photo.” 

I then showed Dorian my notes from the dream that I had several weeks earlier. I also brought out my shaving kit and showed her the safety pin I brought because of the dream. We both sat there in shock and wonder about yet another prophetic dream that she was involved in regarding her mother.

If you look closely at the photo above and the blown-up photo below, you can see the safety pin that I used to pin the BNI Foundation flag to my pants because of the dream I had with Elisabeth.

I can’t explain it, I can only share it. 

Do-You-Have-a-Safety-Pin

Don’t Keep Score

Don’t Keep Scorestring(18) "Don’t Keep Score"

When it comes to business networking and passing along referrals, it’s not about who’s giving what to whom. There is no rule that says, “For every referral you give, you can expect one in return.” Similarly, when you hand out more referrals, it does not mean that other business professionals will automatically do the same. It just doesn’t work that way in referral marketing.

If you hear of a business opportunity that would be well suited for a referral partner – not a competitor – think of it as “excess business.” When you pass this kind of excess business to others in the form of a referral, you’ll wind up attracting more prospects who want to work with you.

There are plenty of fish in the water. Most fishermen don’t see themselves in competition with the other person whose fishing boat is a hundred yards away. They know there is a plentitude of fish, enough for everyone. In fact, if they pass each other on the way back to the shore, they’ll probably wave to each other and ask if they did well and how many fish they caught.

Do Good Things for Others

The principle of “sowing and reaping” states that when you do good things for other people, those good things have a way of coming back to you – often from a different person or group of people. Even if it seems that you’re not directly benefiting from the referrals you are giving to others, take note of all the other business that “just happens” to come your way:

  •         The person who checks out your website because a friend shared your blog post on social media and gives you a call.
  •         The old prospect you haven’t heard from in months who suddenly wants to get together for lunch.
  •         The inactive client who contacts you to say they want to renew their contract with you.

Even though it seems like happenstance, some or all of that is likely to be new business you attracted by giving away other business, in the form of referrals, to people you know. You can attract new business through the relationship-building process you commit to and can strive to become a networking catalyst to ensure that these things happen on a regular basis.

I recommend that you don’t keep score. Instead, think of giving referrals in the context of the “abundance mind-set,” which is the awareness that there’s more than enough business to go around.

What is your experience with receiving more after giving more?

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