Is that to good to be true? Only if you do not want to put in a little extra work first before watching your return from BNI treble, so delegates at a recent BNI Berkshire training session discovered.
Like all networking you get out what you put in and with BNI you get out even more when you recognise that Givers Gain and at the ‘Profitable Networking’ was firmly focused on this principle by helping members to ask for better referrals and equip specific referral partners with better information to find the best opportunities for you, and indeed you for them.
We were divided into Power Teams – these are associated categories who share the same type of clients and mirrored the approach of successful chapters who use Power Teams to supercharge their referrals.
As Executive Director Nick Forgham explained, first you need to distinguish between your bread and butter referrals, cream referrals and dream referrals. All too often members can focus on the first and miss the richer opportunities that come from the latter.
Bread and butter referrals
These keep you ticking over and are typically one off customers or clients where once that job has been completed then no other work is likely to come from that referral.
Naturally these are better. These are the big contracts, or introductions that will generate lots more referrals. So referral partners would qualify. Another way to look at it would be to say this kind of referral might pay for that family holiday!
These are the life changing referrals. One that would lead to retirement! More likely it could see your business expand with new staff needed to meet the demand for your professional services.
Armed with this knowledge and within their Power Teams everyone set about listing example of Cream Referrals and an example of a Dream Referral.
Then we came up with proactive questions that people could ask to trigger these Cream Referrals – for example (and I was lucky enough to be working with business coach Rob Pickering) a Cream Referral for us would be a franchisor who might want case studies for each of his franchisees. So asking a franchisee ‘Does your franchisor help you get more business by providing case studies’ could generate such a referral.
We expanded this to create scenarios where different questions could be used to trigger the ‘… is it okay if they give you a call’ which in turn leads to a Cream Referral.
Finally, and having done all this work it is the final step that will triple your return from BNI, we were asked to list eight people we are proactively finding referrals for – and eight people who are proactively trying to find referrals for me. This needed to be an agreement above and beyond the normal approach within BNI where you try and find the referrals your fellow members ask for weekly.
Winding up with a trio of actions (mine were to email each of my eight by the end of the week, have one-to-ones with each of them by the end of June and to blog about the training!) we had already made the extra effort that should mean we can triple our return from BNI with not a lot more extra effort to exert!
What would be the take away for you? Well, apart from the obvious benefit of being in BNI, you should strive to know who your cream referrals would be and work out your referral partners who can find you these and better still your dream referral. However, always remember that Givers Gain!