Nov 22, 2016


by Brandon Souba

From time to time I will hear a weekly presentation in a chapter, and it sounds like this: “Well…I am booked out for the next few months, so I am not looking for any referrals right now.”


We talk about the VCP (Visibility – Credibility – Profitability) process in BNI and your weekly presentation plays a big part in the Credibility stage. I am a firm believer that the best referrals will come from one to one’s; there really is no substitute for the impact of a personal face to face meeting.  BUT, just because you have a great one to one, it does not mean your weekly presentation is less important. Your presentation reminds your members what referrals you are looking for; it can even be a catalyst to draw people in to scheduling more one to ones with you. When you tell your members you do not want any referrals right now, you shoot yourself in the foot for future opportunities. It puts you back into the visibility stage, and you can also lose credibility. Members see you at the meeting, but stop thinking of you for referrals. 

Think of it like a to-do list. You know how great it feels to check things off your list? It feels even better when you can cross things off without having to actually do them! Picture each member as an item on your list. You consistently scan your list, keeping your member’s top of mind, and actively seek out referrals for them. When you say “I don’t need any referrals”, you cross your name off the other member’s list. Once you are off that list, it can be hard to get back on. Your members have gotten into the habit of thinking of other “to-do items”, leaving you out when you need referrals again.

I realize that, for one reason or another, members can get to the point where they are not able to handle new referrals however, I want to help keep you on your fellow members’ to-do lists. 
For example, when I sold a product, I wish I would have asked for introductions to and referrals from Interior Designers and Architects. I rarely asked, because I knew I would not have an instant sale. I was more focused on home owners ready to buy.

What would have happened if I had gotten a referral to an Interior Designer? 

Most likely we would have scheduled a meeting at the show room for them to look at the product. (30 min meeting).

Assuming all went well, there would be another meeting to talk strategy on how we can help each other (30 min meeting).  Then it would have been waiting for the seed I planted to bloom. The business and networking world is all about planting seeds. The point is, even if you don’t have time to take on a new client, you could find 30 minutes here and there to build a relationship with a referral source!

Next time you are too busy for clients, take a few minutes before your next meeting and make a list of “referral sources”; other professions that you could work with. Ask for a new referral source each week, explaining why, and how to make the referral happen. While you are not bringing in new clients, you are cultivating a relationship with someone who, with a little water and sunshine, will bring you referrals as your relationship continues to grow.  You are not checking yourself off the member’s to-do list, but instead you are planting seeds for future opportunities.