Creating relationships in BNI is not like using a dating app like Tinder. It’s not that immediate and the relationships (hopefully) are more meaningful and long-lasting. Niki Gunning, Regional Director Consultant – Lower North Island, Nelson Bays & Marlborough, reflected on this when she raised a key question often asked by new members to BNI:
Do my chapter members have to refer business to me, because what is the point in me paying for a BNI membership if this is not the case?
This is an important question for existing members too since it’s easy to lose touch with the key philosophies of BNI – including Givers Gain – once you have been in a chapter for some time. The question could be asked in a different way, however, that puts the focus back on your role in creating success at BNI.
What actions do you need to take to build trusting relationships with your fellow members so they feel confident in sending business your way….
The currency of BNI is trust and trust takes time to build – remember this isn’t Tinder. So rather than thinking there is compulsion in a BNI chapter to give fellow members referrals based purely on their membership, lets focus more on the actions you can personally take to build those trusting relationships so your fellow members are actively looking for referrals for you.
- Do your 1 to 1’s. It is number 1 because we know it is the key to BNI success (Ivan Misner’s words). It is the quickest way to build trust, show fellow members that you are in the game for them as well as yourself and it gives you the opportunity to invite them to do a 1to1 with you. So, action Numero Uno.
- Turn up – when you are at the meeting to hear members’ 60 seconds, their 10 minutes and involved in that ever-important networking before and after meetings, it tells members you take your commitments seriously.
- Give great qualified referrals. One of the mistakes new members can make is to believe it is about quantity. No, it is not. A great member gives referrals that require little work from the member referred because they have qualified the prospect well.
- Be positive – it is amazing how often a member will use their precious 60 seconds for a moan or to talk about something personal. BNI is a positive business meeting and you tell us a lot about yourself by how you use that time.
- Bring visitors – every visitor you bring, before even joining, gives your fellow members an opportunity to present their business to another person who has a minimum of 250 contacts. When they join of course, we have an increased opportunity of exposure to those 250 contacts. This is the magic of large chapters full of great people.
BNI is likened to farming not hunting and that is an accurate description. It does take time to get your first referrals, particularly if you are in a high trust category. However, if you focus on taking the actions that build trust then BNI can produce magic results.