Friday, June 27, 2008

Slot 13: Potential

We are just about half way through the current BNI term so there is a chance that the group might be getting used to your presentations. Its time to start upping the ante a little. On a presentation skills course I attended years ago I was told that a visual prop is one of the most powerful ways of being remembered. Since I can't remember anything else from the course I assume it to be correct. It might take a bit of effort -- but try and get your hands on a lump or iron or metal to bring to this weeks presentation.

I have here before me a lumb of iron. Can anyone tell me how much it might be worth?

Its probably worth about ten euro. Has anyone any idea as to how we could make more money out of this lump of iron?

Well we could melt it down and turn it into horse shoes. It might double in value. Can anyone think of how we could make more money out of it? Maybe turn it into screw drivers its worth 250 euro. Go again - melt it down and turn it into needles and it is worth more than 3,000 euro. Think we could make more out of it?

How about we turn it into balance springs for watches and it becomes worth more than 250,000 euro.

Can anyone think of anything else that has potential to generate 250,000 euro worth of business?

[wait for someone to suggest their BNI membership ]

Thats right. But is everyone's BNI membership worth 250,000 euro? No. Some people's is worth 10 euro. The only problem is - you pay more than 60 times that to have it. In other words - your BNI membership has potential - it is up to you how much you make of that potential.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Slot 12: Know, Like, Trust

I wish there was an easier way to break this to you. The BNI is a bit of a sham. Unfortunatly - many of you may have been under false impressions. Perhaps you thought that the little brown referral slips were part of the secret to getting more business by word of mouth. Perhaps you thought it was the business card folder that made sure new clients came your way. You might even have thought that your lapel badge was the secret to networking success.

In reality - none of that is true. You see - people are people and all the BNI does is to put some structure around what happens 'in the wild' naturally. In truth, we all get referrals every day and we pass them on to people who wouldn't know a BNI meeting if it hit them in the face. So lets think about how referrals work 'au natural'.

1) You get to know someone in a pub, playing sport or just through friends. They seem like an amiable type and after a few more meetings you start to ...
2) ... like them. You organise a few social events together. Hang out or maybe just go for a coffee. After some time you eventually get to ...
3) ... trust them. They seem like a decent type. They turn up to the match on time, know how to play super mario cart on the hardest setting. You have the measure of them.

It is only then that you feel like you can recommend them to someone else. You wouldn't recommend someone you did not know. You wouldn't even recommend someone you did not like. You certainly wouldn't recommend someone you did not trust.

The same is true for the our merry little band. We all know each other because we turn up every week. Ask yourself this question though - how many people in this room do I actually like? More than that - how many people do I trust?

How do you get to like and trust someone? By getting to know them. That is easily done but takes some effort Thankfully this doesn't need to be a chore. A one-2-one is a great way to get going. Better again, when we do organise a social event for the chapter - make the effort to get along so that you can learn to like and trust the members in the group. That can only happen to a certain point stuck behind a table at 7am in the morning. Interaction outside of the room is the real key to generating real referral work in the chapter.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slot 12: Test and Measure

We are deep into the midst of the BNI season now and there is some chance that the members have become used to your presentation style. They have mine - so it is time to spice things up a little by bringing in some help. I have enlisted a trusty member to help me out. I start a lot of my education slots with questions. This one will be no different except I have primed Dave to stand up and give a full explanation of his answer complete with hand hand gesticulations.

James: Has anyone heard of the term test and measure?
Dave: I have James. It refers to a commonly used marketing practice aimed at improving business processes.
James: What does that mean?
Dave: Well, sometimes, when successful it can be hard to know what you did right. Trying this and that randomly can make it hard to figure out what tactics are successful and which ones should be binned. By testing a strategy to generate more business and then measuring the results you can decide whether or not you should keep up with it.
James: So give me an example.
Dave: Well a good example might be how we have been sending out letters to invite visitors along.

Now it is time to flip back to Everybody has a Number and step through the process of sending out a letter. You should have had a few people try the technique and now is a good time to ask how they got on. How successful was it. What made it work for some and not for others etc. At the end - you can decide whether or not to keep going with it - or ditch it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Slot 11: Strength vs Weakness

In any group of people there is bound to be some friction. This is also true for a BNI group but sometimes it is just down to perception.

Can you give me a couple of the duties and responsibilities. Can you suggest a few of them.

You will get some of the following:

  • Turn up on time
  • Give referrals
  • Bring visitors
  • etc
Who in the room is left handed? [wait]. Now I am right handed and I'd like to challenge you to a right handed arm wrestle. Sound fair?

Of course it is not. I am comparing my strength - (my right hand) with his weakness (his right hand). In a similar way - it is worth remembering that before getting annoyed with other members for not bringing referrals or visitors - to consider what strength they do have. Everyone brings something to the table.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Slot 9: Networking Four Letter Words

This education slot doesn't take itself too seriously and can be a good way to raise a smile or two.  You will need a white-board or flip chart and a marker.  Before the meeting starts, draw out in four lines, four 'hangman' style spaces.  Each is going to represent a four letter word.

Good morning chapter.  I'm going to talk about sweaing this morning.  Its not appropriate in a business settings and there and there has been far too much of it in the 60 second presentations around the table these days so I thought that it would be worth while going over some of the networking 'four letter words' that you should never use in your presentation. 

Stride up to the board and take out a pen.  Then ask 
Can anyone tell me the first four letter word?

Whatever you do - don't let anyone answer.  Instead, write up on the board 'AN' 'Y' 'BO' 'DY' - in each of the spaces where one letter should go.  

Asking a referral from 'anybody who ....' is a sure fired way of blending into the background.  We meet anybody's every day of the week and 'anybodies' never remind of us our referral partners.  Instead we need to be far more specific.

'SO' 'M' 'BO' 'DY" - just as bad as anybody - somebody is equally bland and banal.  Instantly forgettable and won't help generate business for you.

'N' 'O' [you will have to make it stretch across the spaces.  We don't want to know about what you don't have.  It is just as bad as another four letter word 'NO' 'TH' I' 'NG'.  This is the 'I have ...' part of the meeting.  I have no doubt that you have contributed towards the chapter in some way this week - so now is a good time to focus on it.

So lets cut out the swearing in our 60 presentation today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Slot 8: Attention Please!

Last week we went through how to break down your contacts into groups of people who could find you most work. We're going to figure out how we can best serve our 'A' listers with a simple tip.

So last week we learned how to break down our contact lists into A, B's, C's and D's.

Did anyone go through the exercise? Well - whether you have or not - I want you to write down on a sheet of paper at least a preliminary 'A' list. Just come up with 5 - 15 names of people you think are in the best position to refer work to you. Some of the people on your list will be sitting here right now in this room. Some will not.

No we know that the best way to stimulate and motivate these people to find work for us - is to find work for them. How do we do that? There are several ways. This week I'm going to show you just one.

[Now for this part of the demonstration I am going to use a youtube video. The video demonstrates how important it is to focus on what you are looking for. You can see the video at].

[Alternatly you can write this text up on the flip chart before the slot. Make sure it is covered by another sheet of paper. You will ask the audience to count the number of times they see the word success in the text . Uncover the text and then cover it again.

"There once was a time when people of the business network were sad. No mattter what they tried, they were never able to get the things they really wanted. Then one day they learned the secrets of success and the sale of Prozac and Zoloft came to a stand still"

Once covered- ask the room how many times the letter t was used. Few will get this right.]

Now what does all this tell us about finding work for our 'A' list referrers? It tells us that if we truely want to grow our business, and truely want to help doing this by finding work for our best referrers - we need to come up with a way of placing focus on them.

Now - lets brainstorm three ways you can place attention on your best customers EVERY DAY to start finding more work for them.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Slot 7: The A, B, C and D's of networking

Networking like a maniac? Not getting the rewards - lets look at what might be going wrong and see how we can stop being so manic and more strategic about our networking activities.

At the begining of this BNI term I sent out a survey asking you what you would like to learn about. Second on the list, aside from how to invite more visitors, was "how do I get more referrals?". You guys all obviously get networking. You have a strong contact group here who can act as a core part of your networking strategy. You may be attending other networking events and be going hell for leather. Unfortunatly - its not just about paying up, turning up and sending out invoies. You need a strategy for networking - just like you would need a strategy for any marketing activity. I'm going to give you the strategy.

  1. It all starts with a list. List out all of your contacts. You might have 100 or 250 of these. Where can you find them?
    1. Your invoicing software
    2. Your address book
    3. Your social club
    4. Your networking organisation
  2. Don't stop until you have at least 100 names. In know you didn't do step 1 properly so go back and check out
    1. Your mobile phone
    2. Your phone bills (for numbers)
    3. Your chamber of commerce
  3. Now that you have your names we are going to prioritise them into A, B, C and D lists. Can anyone tell me what these lists are? [Wait for someone to claim they should be ordered by how much money they spend with you - then tell them they are wrong - aren't you so smart ;)]. We order them by their ability to pass referrals.
  4. The A list are the top 10% (10 - 15 names) by their ability to pass you referrals. These guys are likely to pass you six referrals in a year. (one every two months).
  5. The B list are the next 20 - 25% who have an ability to pass you one lead a year.
  6. The C list is the remaining 50%. These guys you need to market to. They don't deserve your face to face contact but they do deserve some general marketing attention.
  7. The remaining 10%-20% are wasting your time. FIRE THEM.
When you have a clear idea of who your top networkers are - you are in a position to spend your time more wisely. There should proabably by up to 5 of your A list in this room today. Maybe its only 1 but there should be at least 1. Then look after that A list. Focus on them. How do we do that?

By finding THEM business.

Givers gain.