Dec 30, 2020

An "Other Gift"

by Ray Huse

People around the world recognize the end of the calendar year as the holiday season – a time of giving. During the holidays, we find joy in giving to someone else with no anticipation of receiving anything in return. Some implement this with extra charitable donations of service time, or goods and money. Others give a surprise thoughtful gift to a friend, just because.

BNI members around the world know our philosophy can be summarized into two simple words: Givers Gain. BNI normally focuses on the business aspect of giving referrals, in the anticipation that others will give business back to us in return.

Giving is in our DNA in BNI. Ideally, we’d love to give referrals to all our members in our chapters continually. Realistically, we know this isn’t possible for everyone all the time, especially for our newest members who haven’t had the opportunity to cultivate the relationships necessary for this to happen.

So what do we do when we want to give to another member, but just don’t have that referral they’re looking for? My first recommendation is always to do more One to Ones to build that relationship. But if you’re looking for something more immediate, there are some other things we can do in the spirit of Givers Gain.

I like to think of it as a lot like holiday shopping: What do we do when we go to buy that perfect gift for someone, only to find it out of stock, or we waited too long to have it delivered? We find something else acceptable. Something I call an “Other Gift”. What "Other Gifts" could we give to our fellow members that aren't referrals?

Here are a few ideas:

·       If you know a member who struggles to find a substitute, you could introduce them to that could sit in for them occasionally. They would appreciate the help, and you never know what business could result from that connection, even if they don’t appear to be a great referral source on the surface.

·       Do you enjoy making presentations? Are you good with PowerPoint or other presentation programs? Offer to help a more “technologically challenged” member spice up their next Feature Presentation by crafting some slide or graphics.

·       Is there someone whose BNI profile is missing or incomplete? Are they struggling to find the right words to use? Or is there a technical hurdle in getting that photo or logo to look right? Take a few moments in a One to One to help them fill it in. They’ll appreciate the better visibility.

·       Have you heard someone give that same Weekly Presentation one too many times? Schedule a One to One and brainstorm some new ideas with them.

I’d love to see your suggestions in the comments section of this blog because I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface here.

Your fellow member would certainly appreciate an “other gift” just like any other gift recipient. The best part about an “other gift” is that you can give that ideal gift any time in the future. In this case, these “other gifts” have the additional benefit of building your relationships to a point that will make that ideal referral gift easier to give.

Keep the good feelings of the holiday season stretching throughout the rest of the year by applying the Givers Gain philosophy into a broader definition beyond just referrals. Doing so benefits us all personally and professionally, inside and outside of our chapter.

Happy holidays to all and best wishes for 2021.

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