Within the power of your referral network is the power you need to help you grow your business. Getting better acquainted with each and every member of your network, and educating them on your business and services is imperative to getting more quality referrals.
Tips on educating your network
This isn’t as easy as it seems. Many business professionals find it challenging to walk the line between educating their network on their ideal referrals and trying to sell their services.
To ensure you are helping educate your network, consider the following techniques:
Teach your network about your dream referrals. To give out proper information about what your dream referral looks like to your network is to be as specific as possible – as we say in BNI, specific is terrific.
How being specific helps you is that it not only helps your network keep you on top of their mind when they are networking with other people, it also helps them know what your business does, so that they feel comfortable referring you.
To say this simply – the more details you can provide about your business, the easier it will be for your network to refer you.
Share the details, not the high-level view of your business. Never make the mistake of talking about your business as full-service.
Be transparent about your services. Don’t just share the things you are good at, mention the services that aren’t your strongest too. This will help your network navigate, and narrow down the referrals they think are good for you. Receiving a referral for a job you are only partially good at, and completing it, can, essentially, damage your credibility by not delivering on a promise to produce high quality work.
Make success stories a part of your networking meetings – success stories go a long way in helping you grow your business. So, have some material on hand that can adequately show your network the examples of your work. Before and after pictures and testimonials are great techniques to help your network see how good you are at what you do, and can give them specific examples to use when communicating your services to others.
The weekly BNI meetings are the opportunity you are looking for to educate your network, and give them the marketing content that they take with them for the week to find you your dream referral.
So, prepare for your meetings, show up on time each week, get to know your fellow Chapter Members well, attend necessary trainings, and participate 100%.
Since the underlying BNI philosophy is about connecting with people, networking and giving value in order to gain, BNI constructed a business model where the members who join a chapter meet weekly. This has long been a tradition, and it’s no different at our San Marcos, Texas chapter.
Now, you might be asking yourself how is meeting weekly any different than meeting twice a month, per se. You might wonder how BNI taps into the power of networking by this simple model.
To answer those questions, we’ve compiled a list of 5 reasons why weekly meetings are crucial for BNI’s success, and therefore yours too.
Let’s dive right into it.
Think of weekly meetings as a form of “spaced repetition”. What happens when things get repeated? You form a habit of learning and engagement, which in turn leads to success. Since there is a mountain of research on this concept, look at the 2016 Dartmouth paper published in the Journal of Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
The avoidance of “benign neglect.”
Benign neglect is where relationships deteriorate over time. Even if it is involuntary, it certainly almost always results in failing to build a long-term relationship. Weekly meetings bypass the concept of benign neglect, rendering it powerless.
Practice makes perfect
Excelling at anything means practicing it until it is ingrained in the very essence of your being. Do professional athletes stop practicing when they are at the top of their game? Businessmen and women shouldn’t either. Think of our weekly meetings as the gym. It’s a place you go to every week to learn and improve your networking skills.
The concept of VCP® (Visibility, Credibility, Profitability)
BNI has designed VCP® as a process of relationship building that leads to continuous referrals. So, what happens to this concept when we add the power of weekly meetings to the equation? The concept’s success multiplies and the VCP® stairs become easier to climb.
Weekly Meetings form a strong habit
If you see the same people every week, would you forget them? Weekly meetings keep the members in your BNI charter on top of your mind. You already know that you will see them on your meeting day, which in turn forms the habit of incorporating your presentations and referral activity on a weekly basis. It is consistent and structured. On a side note, don’t underestimate the power of referrals while they are still hot. The longer the wait from meeting to meeting, the more they cool down.
Let’s face it, meeting weekly is a commitment. You make a commitment to exercise. You make the commitment to do all the things you continuously do. Why? Because it benefits you in one way or another. How do BNI meetings benefit you? Think of it like the CrossFit of networking. Consider your weekly BNI meetings to be your networking aerobics and make the most of your commitment.