Keren’s note: You may already know that I have a soft spot for South Africans. My mom is South African!
Insight, advice, news and chit chat
I met Stanley Silver through BNI where we went to the same group for 6 years. In the past, there have been unfortunate occurrences where we have had to use his services, with successful results. I thought it might be interesting to you readers to know a bit about life from a debt collector’s perspective!
Here is his interview – enjoy!
I have been a member of BNI since the summer of 2002. During that time I have learned many skills, and I think it would be useful for anyone running their own business. BNI doesn’t suit every one, as there are several rules to follow, it’s a big commitment, and the meetings occur very early in the morning. But a recent thread on Twitter inspired me to write this post.
For those who don’t know, BNI is a professional networking organisations where members meet weekly for breakfast and help each other by finding new business for each other and making referrals. These are tracked and statistics are carefully kept for attendance, participation and the amount of business passed.
I posted a Tweet with the hashtag (which is a clickable topic on Twitter) #ThatsWhyIDoBNI after doing some quick calculations.
But it’s important to note the other benefits of BNI so I have written a list of 11 things people will get out of membership.
BNI is great – Keren has been an active member for 7 years, and has seen all sorts of people from all sorts of businesses come through the system. Many left without seeing the benefits, but there always seemed to be a correlation of INPUT and OUTPUT. Our business here at Top Left Design is built on referral and we still can track a majority of our incoming enquiries back to people we wouldnt have met if it werent for Keren’s membership at BNI.
At structured networking events such as BNI, NRG or Athena, we regularly do “60 Second” speeches about our business. Ideally this includes who we are, what we do, how we add value, and of course, what time of business we are looking for. Many people/businesses also have a “hookline” – a sort of tagline which is said at the end of the little speech. Ours is “Top Left Design – Improve your presence online” – which rhymes and says what we do!
The great thing about memory hooks is that they help you be remembered – just what we need in today’s competitive world!
Keren had an educational slot to do about this topic – and of course did proper research! Much of this was found through the founder of BNI – Dr. Ivan Misner and a BNI website www.memoryhook.com.
What makes a good memory hook?
- it has to be easy to remember.
- It should be short and snappy
- Don’t include anything you don’t need.
Really Bad Memory Hooks
Here are some examples of REALLY bad memory hooks – they just don’t work!
For those of you who know about BNI – this is great! It’s a song performed by a member of BNI here in the UK. His name is Richard Swan and he is from a wedding, party and function band called Cornucopia – and a member of Tower Hill BNI who meet in the Gherkin Building in London.
Luckily none of you have to go back in time to attend – it’s on You Tube – and here on our Blog!
Have a listen to the whole thing and let me know what you think!!
Here at Top Left Design, we are active networking people! Its the most fun way to grow your business and you know what they say – “people buy people!”
Keren is a member of:
BNI Mayfair – www.bnimayfair.co.uk
NRG Marble Arch – nrg-networks.co.uk
Ecademy – www.ecademy.com/user/keren
Here are my thoughts on the Ups and DOWNs of networking:
I like to start on a positive note, so I will do the “Ups” first.
- TURN UP – BNI and Networking is a long term thing. Its simple. If you keep showing up you will be remembered and will remind people of your existence. Over time, you will develop a long lasting business relationships.
- SPEAK UP – with your 60 second commercial is an opportunity to clearly state who you are, what you do, how you add value and of course, what type of referral you are looking for
- SHUT UP – BNI is about Giver’s Gain, so you need to listen to what other people are saying to find out how YOU can help THEM get more business referrals.
- FOLLOW UP – at a networking events are not about doing business but making new contacts, but if you don’t follow up, those people will forget about you, you will be just another business card in their drawer. Always always follow up on anyone you meet. Write down on the back of their business cards something spoke to them about – and then email or call them and put them in touch with that person you said you would or invite them to another networking event.
- MEET UP – having 1-2-1 meetings is one of the most effective ways to build up your referral based business, if you focus on how to help eachother get more business and ask the right questions you can get a much better understanding of what people do, and how you can help them.
Now that I have told you about the UPS – its time for the downs. It’s not like me to be negative but I still need to tell you about these 3 last points:
- WRITE DOWN what referrals people have asked for in their intro talks
- HONE DOWN your own speech, the more clear and specific you are the better results you will get
- And finally GET DOWN and Relax! After all the hard work networking and helping other people, you will find you have much more success in your business and the work will come pouring in, and you need stop sometimes and enjoy the fruits of your labour!
Hope this has been useful for you! Dont be shy if you want to comment or send us a message: