by Brandon Souba
As a part of every BNI meeting, we take time for members to share the referrals they have, or give a testimonial for another member. We also give the visitors a chance to tell the chapter what they thought of the meeting. This is a time where we celebrate all the great things members are doing and show the benefits of BNI. Can we take this section one step further? Of course we can! With a little more effort on your side, your fellow members will see bigger benefits.
Based on the title of this blog I am sure you can guess what the focus will be. Testimonials! At every meeting I go to, I see people giving fantastic testimonials to fellow members. The point of the testimonial is that a good statement about a member can lead to referrals! The classic story on how they were added in to the meeting agenda is in the Givers Gain book you receive as a new member. If you still have yours, I encourage you to go back and read it. (If not, it is available in an audible form in BNI University.) But in short: a member visited the chiropractor in his chapter and talked about his experience at the meeting. It was so impressive it lead other members to visit the chiroprator, and refer others for services. Have you ever given a testimonial that led to such a call to action? You may have, but since only your chapter members hear it, the results are still limited. I want to show how you can go further with your testimonials and help drive business to other members.
Let’s start with the basics. Standing up at the meeting and sharing your experience (or your referral’s experience) with your fellow members is perfect to build credibility for the member in the chapter. I see this all the time at meetings. Keep this up! But let’s see about taking it to the next level, shall we?
Let’s say I stand up and give a testimonial for the exterminator in the chapter, who has been talking about their new website and asking members to go check it out. The website talks about all of their services and has testimonials posted to show their great customer service. After I complete my testimonial in the meeting, I then pull out a sheet of paper with my letterhead on it and has what I just shared with my chapter written out. I hand that sheet to the exterminator for them to use on their new website! How cool would it be to receive this written testimonial at your chapter and also be able to use it in your marketing? If you think it would be as cool as I do, then I challenge you to be the first to do it in your chapter!
But can we take it a step further? Of course! Same situation as before, but this time after you hand the exterminator your written testimonial, you also share that this can be found on the member’s BNI Connect profile. I am seeing more and more people using BNI Connect to send referrals outside of their area. If you put a testimonial in BNI Connect people will see it when they pull up that member’s profile. They may receive a referral just because you took a few extra moments to input your great words and stories in BNI Connect. Not sure how to do this? Below is a link to a past blog that walks you through it. Now you can go and catch up with all the testimonials you have shared at meetings and share them with the BNI world.
But can we take it another step further? You betcha! So we have the written testimonial, and we put it in BNI connect. But we live in the age of social media, and customer reviews are huge. How would you feel if a fellow member shared their fantastic experience with your business on your Facebook page or Twitter page for your business? Now they are sharing this testimonial with the world! Or if the company can use it, go in to Yelp or Google reviews and share what you told the chapter. Like I said, I hear amazing testimonials all the time but they never go any further than the chapter meeting. Using review sites and social media will really boost credibility for the business to everyone!
As you can see there are many ways to take a testimonial to the next level. The real question is: Are you willing to try them? I challenge you to write out your next testimonial. That way you are ready to take this a step further. Ask the member what would be the best use for it in their business. If they are driving their social media page, they may ask you to post it there. If they have a flip book they hand to customers while they process some paperwork, they may ask for the written testimonial on letterhead to put in that book. But any time you put information in BNI Connect you are helping to promote that members to over 230,000 members, and that is a lot of referral opportunity!