This month’s blog was inspired by a purchase my wife made a few months ago, she bought chair socks for our stools and kitchen table chairs.
If you have wood floors you know very well the struggle with having furniture on the floors and not causing scratches. Yes, you can buy a giant rug, but where we have our table and stools that is not a great option, so we have to use the dinky felt pads on the bottom of the legs. I also would like to mention we have a cat and a dog, both of them shed, so we also have a lot of hair that collects on the felt pads. Now every few months, ok to be honest probably more every 8 months, we get sick of little scratches and all the hair and we spend a few hours taking the old pads off, cleaning the chairs, and putting new pads on.
Well, after doing this process for 2 years, my wife finally had enough and knew there had to be a better way. Being the close minded husband I can be from time to time, I said, “If there was a better option, everyone else would be using that option, so good luck!”
If you knew my wife, you’d know that statement was more of a challenge than anything else, and she ended up proving me wrong!
After looking online she found chair socks. Please google this because they are exactly what they sound like. You almost have to see it to believe it! She ordered enough for the 4 chairs around the table so we could see if they work. Guess what? THEY WORKED!! Not only do they protect the floors better, but it only takes a few minutes to pull them off the chairs! They can be washed in the washer and dried in the dryer, and they go back on as fast as they come off. It solved all our frustration we had with our wood floors and I could not be happierJ
Just a few weeks ago I was talking with a friend and they randomly mentioned the challenges they were having with their wood floors and getting scratched. I know my eyes grew big and the excitement was obvious! I instantly asked, “Have you ever heard of chair socks?” The answer was “No”, so I got even more excited and shared my experience and how well the chair socks worked for me. You would think I sell this product as a job based on how passionate I am for the darn socks!
But that experience with my friend got me thinking. Is that how you talk about your BNI chapter or your fellow BNI members? My friend may never buy the chair socks and experience how great they are, but they might! If they do and they work for them, I am the hero - the one that solved their problem.
When in sales or running a business, getting more customers is always the goal. Some would say it is a challenge of theirs. BNI can help with that challenge, but they will never know about BNI unless you tell them about it - just like chair socks. Anytime someone mentions they are “going on a sales call”, or they “have a big appointment”, or they “are in meetings all the time working to sell a product or service”, or they “offer an amazing product and service” simply ask “Have you heard of BNI?” If they say, “No”, share your story and invite them to your meeting. They may not take you up on your offer and that is perfectly OK. But if they do, you can never predict how amazing BNI can be for their business. It is truly as simple as offer an invitation. No need to be pushy or sell them on BNI - just invite them and offer the opportunity to share their business cards with how ever many people are in your chapter.
Now let’s look at how this can work for referrals from you to your chapter.
We live in a world where people love to complain. Not the best character trait, I know, but with social media we now have the chance to express how we feel to the masses. I once heard that every time you hear someone complain it is an opportunity to pass a referral. As BNI members we are some of the best in our field, and when it comes to helping out a referral, that is when we shine the most. Just as my friend had a problem with their wood floors, I knew I had the solution! With a personal story and a recommendation I offered them the opportunity to fix their problem - once again, keeping it simple. When you are working with a client, talking to a coworker, or being around family, if someone has a complaint think about your chapter. Is there someone in your chapter that could help that person? If so it is as easy as saying, “Would you like to talk to someone that can help you?” or “If I have someone that can fix your problem, would you like their information?” If you never offer the solution you will never know if it was a referral or not. Remember, BNI defines a referral as someone in the market for a product or service, not a guaranteed sale. So even if they don’t take you up on your offer, at least you let them know you can help.
Next time you meet that person that could be a good BNI fit, offer them a “Chair sock” (invite them to the meeting! Next time you hear someone complaining, offer them a “chair sock” (a member from your chapter to help them)! With this mind-set it will be quick and simple to invite and pass referrals