Last night I went along to another Member Success Programme which is the free training run by BNI which focuses on new members and how they can get the best from their BNI membership.
You may know that I am not new to business or to BNI; however I have learnt that there is always something more to learn and that in any training you will never pick up everything in the first round.
You can never get enough training and the BNI Member Success Programme is very relevant as it helps get referrals / leads for my business.
The Member Success Programme
The Member Success Programme last night was run by Graham Southwell who is the National Director for New Zealand.
The meeting focused on four main topics;
- The culture within BNI
- Policies that BNI have to ensure success
- How to educate your group
- Building relationships and generating referrals
Looking At The Content
As mentioned, there were four key areas discussed last night;
The culture within BNI is one of helping other people, with the concept that if you help others then in return others will help you. They use a catch phrase “Givers Gain” which means that the giver of referrals to help others will gain at some point as a result of their efforts.
At no point should people believe that BNI will transform their business and make it an instant success. Rather it is about learning and gaining good habits and good business connections so the business will grow over time. Of course there are some stories where BNI members have found a great connection in their first week and due to this their business has transformed and ‘almost’ become an over night success.
The BNI policies were created by members to ensure that this networking group remains focused and successful. I have personally been involved in other business groups and found that they lacked any structure and therefore direction, so they became more of a coffee club rather than a serious business networking group. The policies all make common sense when you read them and consider what the group is there for.
Educating the group is key to anyone’s success within BNI. The group that meets each week is your sales team and like any sales team you need to have meetings so they can learn the products or services, and to keep them focused. When your BNI group meets each week you get the opportunity to educate and invigorate those members who are your sales team. This is done with your 60-seconds each week but there is also plenty of time to network before and after the meeting, outside of the weekly meetings with ‘one on on meetings’ and when you get your turn for the 10-minute presentation.
Building relationships and generating referrals is the real reason that we attend the BNI meetings each week.
These were the points that Graham focused on, but there was plenty of other good information given and discussed.
There Are Other Ways To Learn
Sometimes people may think that BNI is a bit ‘over the top’ with the processes that are used, and I thought that when I joined too.
The groups are typically full of enthusiastic people and that takes a bit to get used to, especially first thing in the morning. I think it is important to consider (1) why there are processes and (2) why people are typically enthusiastic – it’s because the system works.
But regardless whether you are a member of a BNI group or not there are other things that you can do to help grow your business, and here a a few of my favorites;
Learn to remember peoples names – I always thought that this was something that you either had or didn’t have, and in my case it was the later – I always have forgotten peoples names! But I have been getting better after concentrating on this and recently wrote a blog post here on how to remember peoples names and build your database.
Plan a 60-seconds or elevator pitch – this is something that I have tried for years to get right so it rolls off my tongue when I meet people, and of course to use at my BNI meetings. Well to help me do this I ended up writing a blog post about it simply called planning your 60-seconds or elevator pitch.
I recently watched a short video by Canadian business women Kelly Hoey on networking and she had a phrase that I liked: “It’s not who you know. It’s not what you know,” she said. “It’s who knows what you know.” This is very true and especially important when your business relies on referrals. Again this inspired me to write a blog post which I called networking in business is about who knows what you know and in this post I also share how I use Facebook, LinkedIn, The Sticky Handshake and this personal blog for my business as a New Zealand mortgage broker for the Mortgage Supply Company.
But don’t forget that BNI run the Member Success Programme for FREE and it’s available to new members, existing members and even those that really are just wanting to have a look.