Aug 10, 2015


by Brandon Souba

Last month I talked about referrals.  Remembering to always ask if it is ok for your member to call
the referral.  And, if you have something a little more like a tip or a lead, how you can make it a referral.

This month I want to focus on stories and testimonials, and how they will drum up more referrals for you to pass to your fellow members.

I love the saying, “facts tell, stories sell”, because it is so true!  When you have a great experience at a restaurant or a shopping mall, you tell the story of what happened.  Or, if you have an amazing experience with a company, you tell the story of what and how they did the project for you.  Most of the time when you share the stories or a testimonial with friends or family, they ask for the business information so they can look into the company for themselves.

Let’s bring this back to a chapter level.  I can hear a need and let that person know, “I have a guy” or “I know a lady that can help you with that”, but sometimes people shut down when they hear such a generic offer.  What if you could share a story or a testimonial about the member that could help the person with the need?  If your friend needs to roll over a 401k as they change jobs you can say, “I know a Financial Planner who can do that for you”, and hope they show interest.  OR, you could share a story on how the Financial Planner in your chapter has helped you with that before.  “You know, I was at the same job for 4 years and they handled and matched my 401k.  Then when I left that job I needed to do something with my 401k, so I reached out to John Smith with Invest My Money firm.  He is in my BNI chapter and he helped me with it.  I met with him once, and in no time at all he had my 401k rolled over and reinvested.  He explained everything through the process and if I ever have a question he is a call or even a text away!  Can I introduce you to him?”
To me, the story will interest your friend a lot more than the typical, I have some one.
So, what happens if you don’t have a personal experience to share with your possible referral?  In the story above the person was a member for 4 years before they used the financial planner!  You can use testimonials you hear during the Referrals and Testimonial portion of the meeting, which is the point of sharing them with everyone in the meeting.  But how can you get your OWN stories or testimonials?

Use the roster from your chapter and go down the list of names and set up a one to one each week with all of the members until you get through the whole chapter.  In some chapters, you may have to do 2 or 3 one to ones a week to get through the roster, and that is even better!  But at least make the goal for one a week.  When you meet, put all the focus on them telling you stories about jobs they have done, training they have gone through, successes of their career, and my favorite work sheet “Last 10 customers”, (Last 10 Customers can be found in the Documents section in BNI Connect.)   Learning so much about a members business will lead to testimonials you can share.
When you put the focus on getting stories from members, you not only get stories that you can share, but you get new referral ideas!  Most of the time, as you go through their last 10 customer’s work sheet, you will look at them and say, “I had no idea you did that”, and BOOM you have a new avenue of referrals you can bring to the table for that member!

So please take my challenge, do a focused one to one with all the members of your chapter.  Learn some stories to share and develop into testimonials for your potential referrals.  You are more likely to close business for another member, if the referral you are passing is excited to meet them.  Stories can build and create that excitement!