Give Up the Excuses and Invitestring(30) "Give Up the Excuses and Invite"

Many professionals and entrepreneurs know that whatever the current business climate might be, their networking groups are a consistent place for business referrals, resources, and support. Relationships built with like-minded people who want to help each other succeed are the ones that can sustain a business in challenging times.

I’ve heard wonderful stories from people whose investment in building strong relationships has made the difference in their business surviving and even thriving.

However, I am also surprised when those same people who say, “I love my networking group!” are often the ones who consistently attend the meetings alone. Without a visitor. Without inviting a friend to go with them.

I’m hearing a lot of excuses about why professionals who love business networking aren’t inviting other people to enjoy it, too. These are some of the excuses:
‘The economy is not good.’
‘The economy is too good.’
‘I don’t know anyone to invite.’
‘People I invite don’t show up.’

Well, guess what? I’ve been hearing the same excuses for the past 36 years! 

Why Invite People to Network with You

If you have received business from your networking groups, you KNOW the benefits of referral marketing. Remember, it’s okay to share. It’s okay to share those business opportunities with others, especially with people that you already know.

Think about every place you do business with – either professionally or personally. THEY may be looking to grow their company or increase their client base. As one of their customers, you obviously know, like, and trust them enough to give them your business, so why not invite them to meet your networking group?

There are enough business opportunities for everyone. When you embrace a Givers Gain® attitude and an abundance mindset, you know that sharing opportunities with others can bring beneficial connections, increased business referrals, and the joy of helping someone else succeed.

The Excuses

The Economy

When the economy is not good, people are struggling, they may not know where to turn to for help with their business – they need their networking group.

When the economy is good, people need their networking group because their competition is making it difficult for them to be successful. A trusted group of fellow professionals becomes a reliable source of referrals in ALL economies.

Don’t Know Anyone

Guess what? In the early days of BNI® I once said these words, “I don’t have anybody else to invite.” Well, was I wrong! A BNI Member gave me suggestions that helped me find lots of people to invite.
More ideas of who you can take to visit your networking group:
Your company’s vendors
Your company’s customers and clients
Your family and friends
Your neighbors – personal near your home, and work neighbors near your office

People you like. People who are fun. People you care about and want to help.
There are LOTS of people just waiting to meet your networking partners. Invite them.

They Don’t Show Up

“People I invite don’t show up.” That has happened to me. Yes, I’m the Founder of BNI, the world’s largest networking organization, and it has happened to me, too. It’s okay.

Dr. Mark Goulston says, “We have a lot less control over winning or losing at something than we do over trying or quitting something. Always try. You can eventually win. If you always quit, you can never win.”

This is so true. Get over the fear of rejection. Someone who says ‘no thanks’ to your invitation does not diminish your success in any way. Keep inviting. Some will say yes, some will say no. Continue inviting anyway. Keep giving people the opportunity to learn about networking.

Remember, excuses don’t bring results. You can have excuses, or you can have success.

Think back to your first visit with your favorite networking group. Think about the person that let go of their excuses and decided to invite YOU to that meeting.

Whether your business networking is in-person or online, you can extend an invitation to have someone visit the meeting with you.
Give up the excuses and INVITE. You’ll both be glad you did.

Show Up to Get More Referralsstring(29) "Show Up to Get More Referrals"

Have you ever gotten a haircut over the phone? Probably not. It is just one of those things that you have to actually be present for to get results.

It is the same with BNI® and other business groups. People join these organizations to increase their business through referral marketing. However, you have to show up at networking meetings to get more referrals and make more money.

The Effects of Being Absent

Years ago, I did a study in BNI about absenteeism. It showed that members who had fewer absences were the members that received a whole lot more business. One chapter reduced absenteeism by more than 50%. Their membership went up 55% and their referrals went up 71%!

Conversely, the study also showed that as the number of absences doubled, the amount of closed business a member generated fell by 50%. Members who think that regularly missing meetings doesn’t really matter are greatly mistaken. The data is crystal clear. You are sabotaging your own networking efforts if you pay for a membership in an organization and you don’t go to the meetings.

Building Relationships

Intellectually, we understand that it is important to build relationships, however it may not be obvious just how critical it is. The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” is absolutely true. It’s true in referral networking; it’s true in BNI with weekly chapter meetings, and it’s true with monthly business groups. For effective referral marketing, you have to participate – consistently participate.

Trust is built by meeting regularly, when your fellow networkers know they can count on seeing you every time. Being present at your chapter meeting helps you be top of mind and remembered by the other members during the time between the meetings. Attendance with the group is part of the process of building the relationship and is crucial for maintaining and strengthening your business relationships.

You cannot get a haircut over the phone. You cannot have a successful business group if you don’t show up. Absenteeism affects membership and referrals. High absenteeism results in low referrals. Low absenteeism results in high referrals.

It’s your choice. Miss meetings and lose business OR go to meetings and get more business. Remember, you have to show up to get more referrals.

36

Celebrating 36 Years of BNIstring(27) "Celebrating 36 Years of BNI"

Today, on January 8th, Business Network International® celebrates 36 years of helping people “Change the Way the World Does Business”. We are celebrating BNI’s 36th Anniversary today with the theme, “36 Years of Growth”. Please watch the video below to hear my announcement about the several incredible growth milestones BNI® achieved in 2020.

BNI’s 36th Anniversary Video

“36 Years of Growth”

36 Years of Consecutive Growth

To celebrate our 36th anniversary as a company, I thought I would share our growth chart for the last 36 years. Few companies can say they have had 36 years of back to back growth. It is amazing that BNI was still able to grow during a year with a global pandemic. I love what BNI is doing for members and I love what Graham is doing with this company.

 

275,000 Global BNI Members

Restart the World

On September 15, 2020, BNI launched the “Restart the World” initiative. The goal is to help local, national, and global businesses worldwide get back on their path to growth. Since its launch, over 40,000 businesses have joined a BNI chapter and contributed to the boosting of our BNI member count to over 275,000 members worldwide

 

$16.3 Billion of New Business Revenue

During 2020, the craziest year on record, our BNI Members helped their fellow BNI Members globally to remain in business during the pandemic. In 2020, BNI chapter members passed over 11.5 million referrals among the 275,000 BNI Members worldwide. These 11,500,000 referrals resulted in generating globally over $16.3 Billion of business revenue.

 

 

Over 10,000 BNI Chapters Worldwide

In mid-1986, I estimated that BNI could have 10,000 chapters someday. I predicted that it would take at least 75 years to hit that 10 K milestone, but I knew it was possible. Well, I am proud to announce that at the end of 2020, BNI officially crossed over 10,000 chapters worldwide. We did it in half the time I thought possible.

 

Today, now more than ever, you need your network and you need to be networking with them.  You need a team of people who will be there to help you during difficult times.  During 2020, many people became frozen by their fear.  However,  I also saw many people became focused by their fear.  They were focusing on surviving and thriving. That’s what happened to many of our BNI members. The truth is, “BNI is a beacon of hope in a sea of fear”.

BNI is not only a great way to get business – it’s an even better way to do business because we are doing business within our principal core value of Givers Gain®.  This is more than a phrase to me.  It’s a way of living one’s life.  Givers Gain is a perspective to view and interact with the world.  It is an attitude, not an expectation, and when it’s applied properly, it will change your life and when it changes enough lives, it will change the world.

Referrals

Standing in The Middle of Referralsstring(35) "Standing in The Middle of Referrals"

Referrals are all around us. Are you paying attention?

Watch the video to see why I have a photo of a crying baby with this blog.

Referrals are all around us, it’s just that we’re not paying enough attention to what’s going on in order to identify them.  You see, there’s a part of our brain that’s called the Reticular Activating System.  It can be described as a filter between our conscious and our subconscious mind. Your subconscious screens out things you determine that aren’t important and it alerts you about things you think are important. Therefore, understanding how it works can be a great tool to recognize the daily referral opportunities surrounding us.

Watch the video now to learn not only about the Reticular Activating System but also about another powerful tool which I call the “Language of Referrals”.  After watching the video, you will likely begin to remember times when your Reticular Activating System was in full effect. However, you just didn’t realize it at the time.  You may also remember instances where you’ve clearly heard the language of referrals in conversations with people.

I’d really love to hear about your referrals experience with one or both of these things so please share your story/stories in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

 

Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfaststring(35) "Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast"

VIDEO BLOG:

Culture is a blend of attitude, beliefs, mission, philosophy and momentum. As a result, culture helps to create and sustain a successful brand. The way people interact with one another and the overall growth of your company is affected by culture. What creates organizational culture? Culture is key in an organization for long-term success. It is the most important thing in an organization and it applies at all levels, from the top of the organization all the way down.  Rules, regulations, and operating standards are important, of course, because you have to have systems in place to guide activities. But culture is the factor that stands above all others.

The factors that go into building the organizational culture and will make your company successful are…

  1. TRADITIONS AND CORE VALUES
  2. VISION
  3. ENGAGEMENT

Please watch my video to learn more about these factors and share your comments below.

love

Why Steve Farber Believes in Love (in Business)string(47) "Why Steve Farber Believes in Love (in Business)"

The notion of love is too touchy-feely for many of us, especially when it comes to business.

But my friend and fellow Transformational Leadership Council Member, Steve Farber, doesn’t think so. Steve is one of the most renowned leadership speakers in the industry. When we were in Napa Valley together last week, he talked to me about making love a part of your every day mantra as a business owner.

“If the customer loves you, you can blow up their building and they’ll say ‘Eh–accidents happen,'” Steve said (OK, so that might be a bit extreme. But you get what he’s trying to say.)

Steve goes on to say that it’s more than just the forgiveness factor that makes it worth having a loving relationship with your customers.

“Love is what leads to customer loyalty,” he said. “it’s what leads to word-of-mouth and growing your organization.”

I think this advice is spot on. If your customer relationships are held in as high regard as the service you provide, you can only benefit. Customers want to love you-they want to trust and believe in you, which are foundational building blocks of love. Focus on building those blocks with the goal of creating loving, loyal customer relationships, and you’ll create a strong reputation that will hold up in the business community.

 

 

 

What is a Lifestyle Business?string(29) "What is a Lifestyle Business?"

LBSSummit_IvanMisner_FBWhat defines happiness and success? Everyone has a different answer, but I can tell you one thing that most would agree on: money does not solely define success and certainly cannot buy happiness.

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the LifeStyle Business Summit, hosted by Michelle Villalobos. In telling her own story, Michelle said she was climbing the ladder like we all do, but when she examined her life, she in fact wasn’t happy–and so she left to find her own path to fulfillment. She started her own business, making upwards of $300,000 a year–which society tells us should make a us happy–but that as time went on, she had actually become what she disliked most in people and became the boss she herself had always feared. She never gave herself any breaks or time off, and sacrificed her own happiness and health for a corporate lifestyle.

Two years went by and then Michelle realized she had to make a change in order to find true happiness. She wanted to run a business that revolved around her life and contributed something positive to the world–and she did, by changing her perspective, her business model and her definition of success. Michelle calls her new business model a “lifestyle business,” a term which I found fascinating as it resonated with some many of the concepts I talk and write a.

In a lifestyle business model, you have to determine which things are satisfiers and which are dissatisfiers. Keep in mind that while money can be a quick satisfier, it often doesn’t lead to long-term happiness. Long-term satisfiers can be things like opportunity, recognition and working in your flame (finding you passion.) I’m a real believer in following your passion and finding things that are new and innovative within that passion to keep the flame burning. Dissatisfiers include things like working in your wax (not doing what makes you happy), climbing the ladder and yes–even money.

A great example of this theory is a school teacher. A man or woman doesn’t become a teacher to make money, but to make a significant change in the world around them. I’ve known Wall Street executives who made millions, but admitted that their life was hollow.

I strongly encourage you to join me at the virtual Lifestyle Business Summit on August 11. Register here to not only hear me, but several other top business and lifestyle experts talk about finding what truly makes you happy in your professional life.

 

 

 

Thin

Are You Spread Too Thin?string(24) "Are You Spread Too Thin?"

“Are You Spread Too Thin?” is the third video in the “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com. In this series, I expand on classic phrases I’ve used over the years.

Do six things a thousand times and NOT a thousand things six times!

But what does that really mean?

  1. Focus on key priorities and making them perfect (or close to it) before moving on to other projects or tasks.
  2. Making your business the best at a few services, not simply OK at several.

Wait, I can’t give it all away! Watch the video below to get the full scope of the idea.

 

 

Premature Solicitor

Giving Your Network a Booststring(27) "Giving Your Network a Boost"

A question from India came to me via Twitter, and I found it to be such a universal topic that I thought I’d share it with you all.

(And BONUS–it was shot in my new home studio!)

 

What happens when your networking group hits a plateau?

https://youtu.be/OA73fq9Sza8

 

Counting Your Referralsstring(23) "Counting Your Referrals"

Referrals are the backbone of word-of-mouth networking, am I right?

So if you reach out 100 people with a referral and ten reach back, did you give 100 or ten referrals?

Many would immediately assume the higher number, because let’s face it–100 is better than 10. But that isn’t the case!

But WHY is this?

I come to you today with a Vlog (video blog) of this exact question, asked of me during the BNI US Conference in April.

A Little Good Advice Can Go a Long Waystring(38) "A Little Good Advice Can Go a Long Way"

AdviceHorn

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s no secret that we all want to do business with people whom we know and trust.  So, how do you build rapport and create trust with new contacts at networking events?  By offering value-added advice–solid, helpful information provided out of a genuine concern for another person.

Let’s say you’re a real estate agent talking with someone at a networking event who, although not ready to buy a home today, is heading in that direction.  You could say something like this:

Well, I know you’re not interested in buying a home right now.  But, when you’re ready to start looking, I highly recommend checking out the north part of town.  A lot of my clients are seeing their homes appreciate in the 10 to 20 percent range, and from what I understand, the city is thinking about building another middle school in that area.

See how it’s possible to offer some value-added advice without being too salesy?  A statement like this acknowledges that your prospect is not currently in the market (first sentence) but still demonstrates your expertise, so he will remember you when he’s ready to move.

This model works for consultants, CPAs, accountants, financial planners, coaches–just about anyone in a service-based industry in which knowledge is the main product. If you’re concerned about giving away your intellectual capital for free, look at it this way: few people are going to sign up to do business with you if they’re not sure you can do the job.  In the absence of a tangible product, you have nothing but your technical expertise to demonstrate that you have the goods.  And when you think about it, that makes sense.  Whenever you’re ready to buy an automobile, it doesn’t matter how much research you’ve done on a particular model, you’re probably not going to write your check until you’ve taken the car for a test drive.

The same is true for your prospects.  Give them a little test drive to show how it would feel to do business with you. If you’re a marketing consultant, give them a couple of ideas on how they can increase the exposure of their business.  Don’t go overboard; maybe offer a technique you read in a magazine or tried with one of your clients.  Just give them something they can try on to see if it works.

Not only will this open up a good conversation with new contacts while you’re out networking, if you play your cards right, whom do you think they’ll go to when they’re in need of your kind of service?  When it comes to building rapport and creating trust, nothing does it better than offering value-added advice.

Standing in the Middle of Referralsstring(35) "Standing in the Middle of Referrals"

https://youtu.be/eCxiHseiQdI

Any savvy business networker knows that in order to generate more referrals for their own business, it’s necessary to generate referrals for others.  How does one go about generating referrals for those in their network though?  This is a good question because sometimes the task can seem anything but easy.  Do you ever feel like you are at a loss when it comes to knowing how to generate business referrals for others?  If so, read on . . .

I used to be really concerned about my ability to effectively and consistently generate referrals for my networking partners until I realized something–each and every day, each one of us is virtually standing in the middle of a sea of referrals. Referrals are all around us, it’s just that we’re not paying enough attention to what’s going on in order to identify them.  You see, there’s a part of our brain that’s called the Reticular Activating System.  It can be described as a filter between our conscious and our subconscious mind and understanding how it works can be a great tool in helping us to recognize the referral opportunities surrounding us in our everyday lives.

Watch the video now to learn not only about the Reticular Activating System but also about another powerful tool which I call the “language of referrals.”  After watching the video, you will likely begin to remember times when your Reticular Activating System was in full effect but you just didn’t realize it at the time.  You may also remember instances where you’ve clearly heard the language of referrals in conversations with people.  I’d really love to hear about your experiences with one or both of these things so please share your story/stories in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

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