BNI Archives - Page 3 of 12 - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Trust

Build Trust to Be More Effective

In this video, I speak with Charlie Lawson, networking expert and National Director of BNI® UK & Ireland, to talk about why networking isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme and how, quite to the contrary, it involves building long-term relationships based on trust.

The thing is, networking is more about farming than hunting.  In other words, instead of voraciously chasing people to gain business, you must nurture relationships in order to build trust.  Trust is what makes networks work. When trust is high among members of a network, there’s a wonderful cohesiveness and capacity to help one another generate effective referrals to mutually assist each other’s business growth.

However, when trust is low and relationships are plagued by suspicion, networks collapse and no worthy referrals will be given. If someone likes and trusts you, they are much more likely to give you effective referrals which will help generate more business for you.

Essentially, you must cultivate relationships with different business professionals in order to build confidence. If confidence is gained, trust can then come into play. Once you’ve gained trust, you are more likely to generate business through those relationships.

Do you have any specifically effective ways of building trust with the professionals with whom to network?   If so, please share them in the comment forum below.  If not, make it your goal this week to come up with some ways to do so–you have nothing to lose and a whole lot of trusted, long-term relationships to gain!

Networking Is Not a Short Term Strategy

In this video, I talk to my friend, French networking expert Marc-William Attie, about why networking is not a short term strategy and also why the long term commitment that goes along with networking is well worth your while.

Marc demonstrates the value of putting effort into networking by telling the story of an architect who spent three years building relationships with fellow networkers without receiving any significant referrals and then received a referral worth $300,000.00 . . . a payoff that was definitely worth the wait!

Do you have any stories about how your networking efforts have paid off in big ways?  Is so, please share them in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Do You Have Excessive Helper Genes?

I recently met with several members of my company’s Executive Management Team in Croatia and it was there that I had the opportunity to film this quick video with Frederick Marcoux, a good friend of mine who is also the National Director for BNI in Australia.

Frederick has an interesting concept that he likes to call “Excessive Helper Genes” and in this video, he talks about why this concept is at the very core of networking.  Frederick explains that having Excessive Helper Genes is a key trait in those who excel at networking because they are constantly building trust and goodwill with those in their network.

I really like this concept because networking at its center is built around helping others; if we maintain a focus on helping, we can network absolutely anywhere at any time.

So, do you have Excessive Helper Genes? . . . Do your Excessive Helper Genes perhaps need a boost?  What can you do this week to strengthen your focus on helping others?  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Using LCDs to Explain & Promote Your Business

When it comes to telling people about what you do, the deeper you go into the specifics the greater your success will be.  In this video, I talk about how to explain and promote your business by breaking it down into its Lowest Common Denominators (LCDs).

Many years ago, I visited a BNI meeting where I witnessed the absolute best presentation I’ve ever heard at a weekly networking meeting and it was given by a florist who focused on the details of a single rose. Watch the video now to hear the story of what the florist did and said that made his presentation so successful and to learn why specificity is key in talking about exactly what it is that you do.  If you belong to a strong contact network where you give weekly presentations, the more specific you can be in explaining the aspects of your business, the greater your results will be.

If you struggle to come up with talking points about your business at your weekly networking meetings, this video is for you.  I offer a simple strategy for pre-planning your presentation topics for an entire year–never again will you have to wing your presentations because you’re not sure how to describe what you do.

So, what aspect of your business are you going to focus on at your next networking meeting?  I’d love to hear about it.  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

 

 

Networking: Men, Women, and Diversity

Charlie&Ivan-MvWIN

 

In this video (click on the graphic above to access the video), I speak with Charlie Lawson, networking expert and National Director of BNI® UK & Ireland, to unfold the differences between men and women in networking.  While men tend to be more transactional in the way they network, women are more relational and understanding these differences can really be an advantage when it comes to achieving success from your networking efforts.

During a survey of 12,000 people, it was found that those who are more relational gain more business and are overall more proficient networkers.  However, just because women are more likely to generate new business through referrals, this doesn’t mean that only they should have a place in networking groups.  In order to have the most successful networking group possible, there needs to be a great amount of diversity.  It’s ideal to have a blend of different people because that diversity is an important aspect of successful networking.

The more diverse a group is, the more connected it becomes.  When networking groups become more connected, deeper relationships are formed, ultimately leading to more referrals and greater success.

Do you or your networking group have any good tactics for seeking out a diverse array of professionals with whom to network?   If so, please share them in the comment forum below.  If not, make it your goal this week to come up with some ways to do so–you have nothing to lose and a whole lot of untapped potential for new referrals to gain! 

Treat Loyalty Like Royalty

In this video, my lovely wife Beth brings up a phrase she has often heard me mention in many of my presentations and in various conversations over the years–“Treat Loyalty Like Royalty”–and she asks me to explain what exactly the phrase means to me.  Beth goes on to reveal that she believes just as strongly as I do in the importance of treating people like royalty when they’ve consistently shown you loyalty and commitment in one way or another.

Whether they are employees or people you do business with, if you treat others like royalty when they show you loyalty, your ‘return on investment,’ so to speak will be beyond worth your efforts.  After watching the video, I’d love to hear about some of your experiences where you’ve worked with someone who has been loyal to you and how treating them very well in return has been well worth your efforts . . . or, also, how you worked with someone who you were very loyal to, how they treated you like royalty, and how it paid off for both parties in the long run.  Please share your story/stories in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

May I Take Your Photo?–A Lesson in Great Customer Service

Givers Gain Art

I was at the BNI® U.S. National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee last week and every day, room service would come up and deliver my meals (often, right as a meeting in my suite was wrapping up).   Leslie (pictured below) was the employee who most often made the deliveries during the last part of my stay. On one of these days, I had a group of ten BNI Directors in my suite. They were kind enough to give me a Givers Gain® plaque (pictured at right) made by one of their local members.

Leslie--Omni

We started to gather around to get a photo and Leslie said, “Would you like me to take the picture?”  Now that’s not a big surprise, employees at hotels and restaurants have become accustomed to taking photos of the many people going through their venues. But here was the unusual part; she then said to everyone – “Okay, everybody give me all your cameras–I’ll take a photo with each of them.” She then dutifully accepted each camera and phone and, one by one, took many photographs making sure that everyone got their own picture.

While I was watching all of this, it struck me that she not only didn’t act “put-out” by having one camera after another given to her – she happily took each picture patiently and professionally, and smiled and chatted while she took each and every photo as though she were taking photos of her own family. I couldn’t help but think that there was some supervisor downstairs wondering what was taking her so long. The truth is, she was giving the guests at her hotel a very nice experience.

It made me start to think about each trip that Leslie made to the room. She was courteous, friendly, helpful, and attentive. I was so wrapped up in “the business of a running a conference” that I didn’t really notice just how good she really was until things started winding down for me.

So, for the record – to Leslie’s supervisor at the Omni Hotel in Nashville: Please know that Leslie was working diligently at creating a great guest experience. So much so, that I told the hotel manager that Leslie should be teaching customer service training – she’s that good. Thank you, Leslie – your stellar service was well noted (it may have taken me a few days – but I noticed).

I highly recommend that you stay in this hotel if you are heading to Nashville. Here is a link to the Omni Nashville: https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/nashville

If you’ve had a terrific customer service experience in the past, I’d love for you to share it in the comment forum below because I’m very interested in hearing about it–I’m particularly interested in your thoughts on what it was specifically that made your experience great.

P.S.–Many of you know that I radically altered my diet and, because of that, my wife Beth and I work closely with the hotel chefs when we travel. Well, Chef Harker from the Omni was also incredible (much like Leslie)–he’s one of the best chefs I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with during my travels.  Thank you, Chef Harker!

BNI Business Index Results for 2013

Over 1,000 business people from every populated continent in the world responded to the BNI Business Index for year-end, 2013.  According to the survey results, almost 76% of the respondents felt that business was better today than in 2012.  That’s up over 9% from the 2011 survey.    In addition, only 6.1% felt that it was declining in the 2013 survey which is down from the 9.6% that said that business was declining in 2011.

How is Business

The most promising news was the hiring trend numbers.  The 2013 survey found that 55.3% of the respondents said that they would be or possibly would be, hiring in the 2013 survey compared to an anemic 42.9% in 2011.

Why the Improvement?

The three most common reasons cited for growth by the respondents was restructuring, niche marketing, and networking.

Restructuring was a common theme relating to many respondents.  Comments such as: “one of the reasons my business keeps growing is that I… adapt my offerings to support the goals [of my clients].”  Reorganizing showed up in responses like: I’ve “reorganized staff and cut expenses and it is starting to pay off.” “My number one goal was to reduce overhead to the max, and as well as “refocusing our services back to our core competencies… and better communication” has helped substantially.

Two comments that summed up many of the respondents beliefs were: “I’ve changed the way I do business,” and I “can’t keep doing the same old thing if it’s not working.  You have to re-invent yourself.”

Other respondents focused on a niche market.  Such as those who said things such as: “last year I became clearer about my target market, strategic partners and taking a hard look at my numbers and what work would be necessary to grow” and “many of my competitors were bought out and closed their doors.  I focused on my core business.”

Networking continued to be a strong business builder as represented by comments such as: “my business depends a lot on referrals and networking” and “my business is flourishing today as a result of my networking efforts both via the internet and face to face.”  Once respondent claimed that “my business has tripled its income over the past year due largely to my committed involvement to networking.”

Is Your Company Hiring

The one thing that came up by many people who said they were still struggling were complaints about government regulation which have been a constant since the BNI Business Index was first released in 2010.  Issues like the impact of health care reform, government regulation of businesses, and legislative incompetence showed up throughout the survey this year and every previous year.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the two questions posed in the graphs included in this blog post (How is business for you today compared to this time last year? ; Is your company hiring or planning on hiring people over the next few months?)–please share your answers in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Welcome to International Networking Week®!

This week marks the 8th annual celebration of International Networking Week® which is recognized each year by thousands of people around the world.

International Networking Week is about celebrating the key role that networking plays in the development and success of business around the world.  It is about creating an awareness relating to the process of networking.  Not just any kind of networking, but what I call “relationship networking”–an approach to doing business based on building long-term, successful, genuine relationships with people strategically through the networking process.

International Networking Week has been acknowledged by many governmental organizations (including a joint resolution of the California State Assembly and Senate) and is celebrated in many countries across the globe.  Start the new year out with more business by using this week to build your networking skills and expand the opportunities within your reach.  If you belong to any networking groups, be sure to tell them that this is International Networking Week (Feb 3-7).

CLICK HERE to view a short video about International Networking Week 2014.  Please feel free to share the video with others and show it at your networking meetings this week.

For more information and a list of worldwide events, please visit www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com.

So what will you be doing to recognize International Networking Week?  Please share your plans in the comment forum below–thanks!

4 Steps to Building an Effective Networking Program

It’s often been said that “starting is the hardest part” of a project. Well, building your business through networking and word-of-mouth marketing is no exception.

Here are four things you can do to get your networking program off to a strong start:

1. Don’t be a cave dweller: Get out and meet people!

2. Know how to ask for the referral. Learn and develop specific techniques that will help you hone your ability to ask for the referrals you want.

3. Consciously select at least three business or networking groups to join in the next three months (chambers of commerce, community service groups, trade associations, strong contact networks such as BNI, etc.).

4. Develop a creative incentive to encourage people to send referrals your way (If you’re a music store owner, for example, you might send music tickets to people who refer business to you).

The bottom line is this: Get out there and make diverse contacts, be specific in your approach, and help others in creative and enthusiastic ways so they’ll want to refer you business!

 What are some specific ways that you approach networking? . . . What tactics do you have for making diverse contacts and helping others creatively and enthusiastically?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and I’ll send a free, surprise gift to the first ten people who respond to these questions in the comment forum below.  In order to ensure that you receive your gift, be sure to e-mail larry@bni.com with the subject line “blog comment” and your full contact information [mailing address and phone number (your phone number is required by the shipping company in case they need to contact you in order to deliver your package)]–I assure you that your contact information will not be shared or used for any other purpose than to ship your gift to you. Thanks in advance for your participation–I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

How to Get Remembered & Get More Referrals

Last week I posted a video blog on the tremendous importance of following up with the contacts you make when networking in order to be successful and get results.  In today’s video, I take the discussion on follow up a step further . . .

The fact is, how you choose to follow up can really make a significant difference in getting people to remember you–if you get a little creative, you can really put yourself in a prime position for maximum referral generation.  In this video, I share a story about a young networker who got great results by going above and beyond to follow up in a really unique way with a networking group he was hoping to gain membership into, and I also offer a tip on how to follow through in order to stay top of mind so others will constantly be thinking of how they might be able to generate referrals for you.

If you have a story about a unique way you’ve followed up with someone, or a standout way you’ve seen others use to follow up, I’d love for you to submit your story at www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com and also share it in the comment forum below.  When you submit your story via SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com, it will be considered for inclusion in the upcoming networking book I’m writing with Jack Canfield and Gautam Ganglani.  Thanks in advance for your participation–I’m looking forward to reading your stories!

 

Attitude Is a Choice and Choosing Wisely Is a Necessity

Years ago I wrote a blog on the importance of attitude in networking and recently I’ve had several situations arise which have reminded me yet again that attitude shapes the outcome of everyday dealings in huge ways so I’d like to revisit the idea in today’s blog post . 

Some days my schedule involves marathon radio interviews beginning at 4 a.m. and, as you can imagine, getting up at an hour when roosters haven’t even begun to think about warming up their vocal chords is not the most enticing of tasks. However, as the Founder & Chairman of BNI®, the world’s largest business networking organization, I agree to do these interviews at such an outrageous hour because it is my responsibility to do whatever needs to be done to network for the organization.

Now, can you imagine what would happen if  I answered the interviewer’€™s first question–which is always “How are you doing today, Dr. Misner?”–€”by grumbling about how I had stubbed my toe and how I wished I was back in my warm bed?  Well, what would happen is that people would be immediately turned off by my negative attitude and nobody would listen to me.

This brings me to my point that in order to be a master networker, you must always maintain a positive attitude no matter what.  With over two decades of professional networking experience, one thing I’ve learned is how important it is to have a positive attitude in order to successfully network.  And if I’€™m going to go around telling other people how to discipline and train themselves to network effectively, then I darn well better be walking the walk (or at least limping along, stubbed toe and all) and maintaining the positive attitude of a master networker.

Now that I’ve shared the second most important trait of a master networker, I figure might as well give you the other nine.  Here they are, ranked in order of their perceived importance to networking:

 

1. Follows up on referrals
2. Positive attitude
3. Enthusiastic/motivated
4. Trustworthy
5. Good listening skills
6. Networks always
7. Thanks people
8. Enjoys helping
9. Sincere
10. Works their network. 

Starting this week, try making a conscious effort to be aware of your attitude at all times and if it could stand some improvement think about three simple things you could do to change your attitude for the better on a daily basis.  If you’ve already got a great handle on maintaining a positive attitude, take this week to focus on one or more of the other nine traits of a master networker and think of three ways you can build your effectiveness in these areas.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you might do to implement the ideas in this blog so please share your comments in the forum below. Thanks!

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