Scott Simon returns this week to talk about how to cultivate business relationships in your BNI group.
To paraphrase Stephen Covey, you cannot talk yourself out of a situation you behave yourself into without far greater consequences. So here are some guidelines for behaving your way into visibility and credibility in BNI.
- Showing up early
- Being prepared
- Dressing professionally
- Talking about business during open networking
- Passing quality referrals
- Following up on referrals you receive
- Attending Member Success Program and advanced training
- Givers Gain mindset
- Inviting visitors
- Productive one-to-ones
Many people don’t understand how important the MSP training and the one-to-ones are. The people who do the most one-to-ones are the ones who are making the most money. (See episode 191.) But the most-overlooked behavior is probably showing up early, which shows how much you care.
Nine behaviors that destroy your credibility are
- Arriving late, leaving early, or not showing up at all
- Unprofessional or unprepared sales presentation
- Wearing yesterday’s clothes
- Airing your grievances during open networking
- Wasting your referral partners’ time with leads instead of quality referrals
- Not following up on referrals
- Poor service quality
- Having no visitors
- Trying to sell to members and guests
Too many people use networking as a face-to-face cold-calling opportunity, and that is not the way to build a powerful personal network. Remember that even though everyone wants to buy, nobody likes to be sold to.
The most surprising behavior among BNI members is not following up on referrals.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 236 -
Hello everyone and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan, how are you?
Do you have a guest with you today?
I certainly do. We brought Scott Simon back to talk a little bit more about BNI behaviors and your credibility. To remind everyone, Scott is an Executive Director in the four-state area for BNI. He didn’t mention this last week, but he has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an MBA in finance from Central Missouri State University. He has been a Director with us for a long time, since 1994. He runs a really big region for the organization and has over 100 groups. By the way, about 80% of our countries have less chapters than Scott and his wife have. It’s a big region for the organization with over 2500 members.
This week, we are going to talk about BNI behaviors and credibility. Scott, let me turn it over to you and I will jump in as you go.
Thank you, Ivan. Business relationships are really something that we have to cultivate. A lot of people think that they can just join a BNI chapter and sit back and start to reap the harvest of referrals that will come their way. But in all relationship development, it takes time in order to be able to do that. In order to do that, you have to have certain behaviors that will increase your credibility within a chapter. At the BNI International Conference, I heard Stephen Covey say something to the extent of- I am paraphrasing because I didn’t get it exactly. He says you cannot talk yourself out of a situation that you behaved yourself into without finding far greater consequences.
Since everybody who is a BNI member has certain behaviors within a chapter, they are going to reflect upon who they are. We can talk about some of these specific items that will help them build good visibility and good credibility within the chapter.
You have 10 behaviors. Walk through them one at a time real quick and then maybe we can chat about some of them
Let’s see. The 10 of them I had real quickly are: showing up early at the meeting, being prepared, dressing professionally, talking about business during open networking, passing quality referrals, following up on the referrals you received, attending MSP and advanced training, givers gain mindset, inviting visitors, and productive one to one.
We could probably do a whole podcast just on one. Ten are great here. Each of these in your opinion, when you do this effectively, it increases your credibility. I agree, by the way.
What would be two or three that would jump out at you as being really important? To me- by the way, MSP is Member Success Program training, which is called that in most countries around the world. That is sort of the orientation for new members. For me, that and productive one to ones are two that I think are not understood fully in just how important they are. Would you agree, or are there any others that you think are as critical or more critical?
Well, I certainly agree because this is really about education and MSP is about educating the individual member as to how to be successful in BNI as well as in word of mouth marketing. Those productive one to ones are really educating members on how we can be of service to them and how we can help them build their business. There definitely a correlation between the two. As we are seeing in BNI, those who are doing the most one to ones are the ones who are making the most money.
That is absolutely true. I had a podcast a few months back about that very thing. A person who did the most one to ones had the most referrals and had his best year ever. That is actually pretty consistent. Anything else that you want to say about that before we talk about behaviors that destroy your credibility?
I think one of the other ones is so basic that people sometimes miss it. It’s showing up early. If you show up early and help your leadership teams get the room and the meeting set up, if you are there to meet and greet all of the members and the visitors, that really says that you care. As you have always said, nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. I think that is certainly one way of doing that.
Yeah. I think that certainly increases your credibility. If you do it well, you will really increase the credibility that you have in your chapter. But there is a flip-side of that. There are behaviors that can destroy your credibility, and you have nine behaviors that you want to mention that destroy your credibility. Do you want to just rip through the nine behaviors and maybe we will do the same? We’ll pick out a couple and talk about it.
Sure. Arriving late, leaving early or not showing up at all, unprofessional or unprepared sales presentation, showing up in yesterday’s clothes, airing your grievances during open networking, wasting your referral partners’ time with leads instead of quality referrals, not following up on referrals, poor service quality, having no visitors and trying to sell to members and guests.
Let’s start with the last one of trying to sell to members and guests. Too many people use networking as a face to face cold calling opportunity. They will meet somebody and say hey, let’s do business. That clearly is not a way to build a powerful personal network. Which ones jump out at you as being ones that really drive you crazy?
Well, the one you mentioned is, I think, my real pet peeve because I think that goes back to one of BNI’s goals, which is teaching members that it’s more about farming than it is about hunting. Nobody wants to be sold to, but I think everybody would like to buy. When you go in trying to sell your products or services versus developing those relationships, people get turned off.
But I think one of the other ones that’s really interesting is just not following up on referrals. You would think in BNI that would be a non-issue, but I did read a study in American Marketing Association said that 87% of people who receive a referral don’t even follow up. That is the kiss of death in BNI.
It really is. It amazes me when I see members who didn’t follow up on a referral. You are spending some money and a lot of time. Why would you not follow up on a referral?
So these behaviors definitely destroy your credibility, and the first set of behaviors increase your credibility. We have just a couple of minutes left. You had some rhetorical questions to help build credibility. Do you want to throw a couple of those questions out at us here?
Sure. When you really think about building relationships with the best customers, perhaps you can ask yourself are you ever late for a meeting with your best customer? Do you ever leave a meeting with a client early due to a scheduling conflict? Do you ever talk to others or not listen while your best customer is addressing you? Do you ever not prepare for a presentation with your best customer? Is it logical to expect your customer to automatically purchase from you before you ever earn their trust?
Those are just a few of the highlighted points that we have.
Sure. I think these are good questions to ask yourself. It think the importance is to do these consistently. Nobody can hit all cylinders all the time. But the more you do some of the things that you’re talking about, the more likely you are to build your credibility. This is a great list. For those of you who are listening, we talked about what behaviors increase your credibility- things like showing up, passing quality referrals, making sure to go to Member Success Program Training, the givers gain mindset, productive one to ones, and that’s not all of them. That’s most of them.
What behaviors destroy your credibility? Thins like arriving late, not being prepared, not following up on referrals, not bringing in visitors, trying to sell to members and guests.
Then we just talked about some rhetorical questions to ask yourself to help build your credibility. Scott, this is really good content. Any closing thoughts before we wrap up today?
I think mainly in today’s fast paced world, be best thing is to slow down and do business the old fashioned way, by word of mouth and relationships. BNI is a mechanism that can best help business people work smarter versus harder and help them build credibility.
I agree completely, my friend. You had great content, valuable insights for BNI members. I think this podcast in particular is a great dialogue podcast. Education Coordinators should have a dialogue in their chapters about this content. What are we doing well? What is this chapter doing really well to increase our credibility and in what areas could we improve on? Talking about what destroys your credibility, what areas do we need to work on because it could hurt our credibility?
I think that would be a good dialogue to have in chapters. Remember, you got it from Scott Simon, Executive Director in Missouri. Scott, thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast today. We appreciate your work. Priscilla, back you to,
Thank you, Ivan and thank you, Scott. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.