by Tanya BlockerAt BNI chapter meetings, members have the opportunity to stand up during the “Referrals and Testimonials” portion of the agenda to let the chapter know what they have that week. Imagine that during this portion of the meeting there was a mandatory slip that every member is required to report on during that portion of the meeting. The slip is very basic containing in capital letters T.T.B.N.I.S. (Told The BNI Story) and in the upper right hand corner is a small square. The square is only big enough to contain a number, not an explanation. Have you ever heard a member say during the Referral and Testimonial portion of the meeting they don’t have anything that particular week for some reason?
Unless you are a “90 minute” BNI member, and I don’t believe any of you are, we should all be able to put a number in that small square and educate each other of how we told the BNI story in between meetings. Perhaps you gave a testimonial about the exceptional service a member gave to one of your clients, OR – you were able to plant a seed and then you let the chapter know how you did that.
We have heard that BNI is about farming, not hunting. How do we plant those seeds for each other? It is quite simple, educate each other how to do this. Our job as BNI members is not necessarily to sell each other’s products or services but to be each other’s marketing team. As you meet for one to ones you will find commonality with each other, or you can discuss different activities you do outside your BNI meetings, either personal or professional. Often times BNI members naturally become known as the “go to person”, because we know business professionals who can take care of a variety of needs. So how do you do this? I will give you an example.
When I first joined BNI, it really bothered me that after quite some time I had not been able to give a referral to the person who held the residential mortgage classification in my chapter. I always seemed to find out about a possible referral after the fact. So I asked her; what is a “one-liner” that I could use in a personal or professional setting that could possibly open that door. What happened was quite brilliant. ANY time someone mentioned anything about banking, it could simply be that they had stopped at the drive through at the bank on their way to see me, I would say, “My friend Merry Member does Mortgages at XYZ Bank”. For me, I wasn’t able to give her a referral immediately. But, after some time of saying this over and over, I started receiving calls when people I knew needed to talk to a mortgage person. People would recall me saying I knew someone and they wanted a referral from someone they already knew and trusted.
Are you educating your members on how they can plant seeds in their everyday lives? As you meet for your one to ones, let each other know how those seeds can be planted. Is there something your member could say in one breath about you that can be easily recalled and repeated?
I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about this. Educate your BNI marketing team how to easily plant a seed that may result in referrals for you. We have the ability all around us every day to tell the BNI story and the opportunity to plant those seeds. If you don’t tell your chapter members how, your BNI story may not be told.