Dec 1, 2015

HOPE IS NOT A PLAN

by Brandon Souba

I had a boss once, each week I would meet with him, we would look over my appointments to see what I had set for the following week. I would always try to have one appointment a day, but from time to time I found myself saying “I hope to get a hold of”, or “I hope so and so will come in.” Without missing a beat he would always say, “Hope is not a plan, what is your plan to set that appointment.” I hated to hear that week after week! So I finally took it out of my vocabulary.

When you go to your weekly BNI meeting, do you “Hope” to receive a referral, or do you have a “plan” on how many referrals you will be receiving?

I am sure most of you would love to say you have a plan on how many referrals you will be receiving, but probably fall in the hope category.

How can you make a plan for referrals? Well I hope to answer that question…. No wait, I PLAN to answer that question for you today.


Let’s start with your Weekly Presentations. Are you being specific with who you are asking for? We all know to stay away from saying anybody, but how specific are you getting? Focus on a company, or a target market, so you help members think of people they know that work for said company or target market. In the words of Dr. Ivan Misner “Specific is Terrific!” If you can bring a name to the chapter, and turn that name into an introduction, I guarantee you will see the value of being specific.
OK, but how can that help me plan to know what referrals I will receive, you may ask. Let’s take it one step further!

Have a one to one with a member that passes you a referral. Focus the one to one on education. Was it a good referral, or more of a tip or lead? If it was a good referral, help the member learn natural conversations you already have with your clients, so that when they are in front of a referral opportunity, they know how to ASK for the referral. If it is more of a lead, help the member understand what would make it a good referral, or change their mind set on who they are looking for as a referral for you. By following up on referrals in a face to face meeting, you open up so many opportunities for the member to not only bring you more referrals, but better referrals!!
So how does this lead to planning to receive referrals?

By being specific in your Weekly Presentation, and following up with one to ones on how the referrals received will give you results, there is one more piece that can help you plan for success. Ask the member you are meeting with to make a list of their last 10 customers and send it to you before your one to one. Look it over, and point out the customers that could lead to a referral opportunity for you. This will help the member understand which customers they already meet with that can be referrals for you. By pointing out the opportunity, teaching the member a natural conversation, and helping them open up a door to pass you the referral, it will lead to more business for both parties!

Doing this with a few members in your chapter will help you make more of a plan when it comes to receiving referrals in BNI. Set a personal goal for how many referrals you want to receive a week, then use this action plan to help achieve that goal. Always keep in mind our philosophy of “Givers Gain.” You can do all the steps to receive more referrals, but if you are not giving referrals to the chapter, you may not see the results you are looking for. So when you set your goal for how many referrals you want to receive, make sure you set an even higher goal for how many referrals you will be passing each week.