Sep 9, 2014


by Kris Vigneri

You probably know by now that there is a formula to your success in BNI. Ivan previously wrote in SuccessNet about 3+1 = Member's Success. Through education we often talk about the "3" and do so through stories. However, we do not often talk specifically about the last piece, "+1" - Share Stories. Think about your many experiences and write them down, listening closely to your member's presentations and doing regular One-to-Ones will help you tell stories when you give referrals. 

Before I continue with my story, I would like to take you back to Ivan's article, where he talks about a formula for a good story that he learned from Robert Dickman:
  1. A story is a fact
  2. wrapped in an emotion
  3. that compels us to take action
  4. that transforms  us in some way.
Ivan goes on to state that the key here is that a good story compels people to take action, and this action helps us in some way...

Can you think of a story? There are a ton of stories of other BNI members on SuccessNet in the "My BNI Story" section.

So, let me share mine:

I will have to admit, owning a BNI franchise was not my first career choice.  Although my college degree is in marketing and fashion merchandising (two of my interests), my career path for the first 17 years was another interest and love, which was Human Resources.  I am a classic nurturer and Human Resources allowed me to help people in many ways.  Human Resources also allowed me to keep things fair and in balance for my employees which are very important to me.  However, as Vince and I continued to grow our BNI business and my job was changing due to a corporate acquisition, we decided it was time to me to work with Vince on a full-time basis.

And yet, after being around BNI for 11 years, I still didn't really get it.  I was probably like most of the spouses and family members of BNI members.  When Vince and I were first married, I knew he attended a meeting once a week for BNI.  He had a card binder that was in the car, and was usually on my seat.  Whenever I would get into the car, I would move his card binder and name tag out of my way.  I met his fellow BNI members at socials.  And since meeting Vince 20 years ago, I knew he knew everybody, and we would often run into people anywhere we would go, with his comment being, “I know him from BNI.”  I knew enough that Vince tried to give business to these members with the hope of receiving business in return.

In 2006, Vince began working as an Area Director for BNI, and by 2007, we had the opportunity to buy the franchise in Nebraska.  By 2009, Vince made BNI his full-time job.  During this time, I was a Human Resources Director for a multi-state beauty supply company with over 500 employees across 8 states.  I traveled to the company’s office and warehouse operations in Denver and Rapid City often.  In 2011, when we had the opportunity to purchase the Western South Dakota and Wyoming franchise, it made sense since I was very familiar with the areas.  We also knew that by the end of 2011, I would be making the transition to working with Vince full-time with BNI.  Again, I still didn't get BNI and the Giver’s Gain philosophy.

As I started learning about BNI, I spent most of my time in the first year managing the administration side.  If there is one thing to know about how Vince and I make working together successful it is because we are truly opposites!  He is the extrovert and I am in the introvert, he enjoys attending BNI meetings and meeting people, and I have to prepare myself for the “Open Networking” portion of the meeting.  My Human Resources background fit perfectly with training the Vice-Presidents and Membership Committees and assisting chapters with any member conflicts.

Then Vince asked me to help with Core Groups (new chapters forming).  The first one I helped with folded within 3 months because the group never got larger than 12 people and there were never visitors.  However, I was also struggling with how to help them.  Then I had my next opportunity, and I began working with Tanya Blocker, Area Director in Omaha.  She and I created a system that worked for both of us, and although we both had personal hurdles to overcome, our first chapter was formed. 

Over the last 3 years, I have been putting the puzzle pieces of BNI together, but still did not fully understand the Giver’s Gain philosophy.  I understood the why, but not the how…until it hit me between the eyes while preparing for a meeting in Sioux Falls this summer.  I read the following from Dr. Misner’s book, The 29% Solution:
You are the gatekeeper to the resources locked inside your network.”

Prior to this statement is the following paragraph:

            “Begin by understanding the phenomenal value of your network.  It’s a gold mine.  It’s a treasure chest of talents, skills, and knowledge.  It holds the power to help people you care about in more ways than either you or they can imagine.”

Oh my!  At this instant, a rush of weekly presentations came popping into my head from the divorce attorneys, financial advisors, roofers, insurance representatives, banking services, realtors, and so much more…what have I done and what did I miss?  I was the trusted individual that knew more than they should about people’s personal lives.  Imagine the Tier 2 referrals I could have been passing to Vince, or even better, why didn't I ever listen to him when he asked me, as a Human Resources Director, to join a BNI chapter?

You can imagine the shock on his face, and the “I told you so” look that came with it when I shared this insight.   Now, if I could only turn back time and make better choices for both me and my employees.

The moral of this BNI story is don’t discount the potential network of any visitor.  Allow them to learn the BNI philosophy of Giver’s Gain and teach them how to utilize their network to reap the benefits of BNI.

Submit your story to us today and you may be featured in an upcoming monthly blog!!! Submissions can be sent to any BNI Heartland Director!