Category Archives: BNI

Kicking off the Summer Season

For many of us, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. For a business owner, you should also consider it the start of your warm weather business game plan. In Indianapolis, Carb Day is the perfect time to kick-start your plan. Here’s how..Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

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Filed under BNI, Entrepreneur, networking, referrals

Want more Time?

Who doesn’t want more time?

As a small business owner it is your most precious commodity, so it only makes sense to use it wisely.  Here is a simple, yet powerful, way to help you gain more time for your business and your family.  Best of all, you’ll be helping another business owner do the same!

Get More Time & Business Here

 

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Filed under BNI, Life Hacks, Marketing, PR, referrals

A Little Reminder for Me (and maybe You)

I wanted to take 1 minute, to share this article that I wrote for BlogBNI as a reminder to myself today–no matter how busy you are, you can almost always scrape up 1 minute to do one of these things. I’ll bet the ROI will be far more than you invested!

One Minute to Better Networking

 

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Painting a Better Picture of Networking

I live in a historic, well really just old, house. It was built in 1920 and challenges us weekly with quirky things that are the result of many different people living and working on this house over the years. This summer I decided that I wanted to paint the exterior of my abode, so I spent some time with my husband picking out colors and trying them on for size. We eventually landed on a combo that we thought served our Craftsman-style home well.

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Good prep work is required to make sure the paint, or a referral, will stick.

With the colors all picked out, I was ready to paint. Just hand me a brush!

But, like the networking lessons I have learned in BNI, I quickly realized that a little prep work would go a long way toward making my paint stick. Like prepping for painting, prepping a referral can make all the difference:

  1.  Tools: Now is the time, before you start any actual work, to assemble all the tools you may need to do the work, such as business cards or brochures.
  2. Clean: Do a little ‘rolodex” housekeeping and make sure you have the most accurate and up-to-date info on anyone you plan on referring.
  3. Fill: Make sure that any possible referral holes are filled by having a one-to-one meeting with your fellow BNI member before you refer them.
  4. Sand: Knock off any rough edges or sticky spots during the meeting. Ask them to educate you on how to best refer them. For example some businesses may have set rates that they want you to share, while others simply want a warm introduction.

After making the referral (or painting), it simply makes sense to go back and check your work. Were there any areas missed? Does something need to be gone over again? Making sure to check in with both parties is a sure-fire way to make your referral stick.

 

 

 

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Filed under BNI, Marketing, PR, referrals, Uncategorized

The Art of an Excellent Testimonial

We all love receiving a testimonial about ourselves or our companies, but have you ever thought about what goes into making a truly excellent and useful testimonial?

  1. Speak from a position of knowledge; you need to have used the goods or services before you can give a testimonial about that person or company.
  2. Be Specific.  People want know how and why you used the product and how it performed.  Be sure to include some basic details about your age and demographics. i.e. Forty-six year old, mother of two girls.
  3. Honesty is the best policy. If there were glitches in performance but you were overall satisfied, include that information so that others can make an informed decision.  Be sure to acknowledge your own role in any shortcomings.
  4. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. At least in public.  If you truly had a poor experience, take it directly to the company and let them know that you would like to offer them the chance to correct the situation.  Don’t use a testimonial opportunity to lash out at someone else; it will only make you look bad.
  5. Short is sweet. You can give a great testimonial without giving two paragraphs of back story about why you decided to use the service. While people like to know a little bit about you, the point of the testimonial is to tell them about an excellent company or person.Harry
  6. Put it in writing.  The very best gift you can give a company or person is your testimonial in writing.  Whether you write an online review on LinkedIn or speak up in a BNI or Chamber meeting, putting it on paper gives them something tangible that they can use to market themselves even better.

Bonus Tip: One of the best ways to receive excellent testimonials is to give excellent testimonials.  Use these guidelines the next time you want to give a testimonial and see if the good karma you generate pays off.

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Use “Actions that Achieve” to Get the Most Out of Your Visitors

Most BNI members understand that visitors are important to their chapter for a number of reasons—generating more referrals, providing access to new people and, most importantly, becoming new BNI members.  But even though visitors are extremely important to the health of a chapter, many of us fail to take them seriously.

Visitors at a BNI meeting can bring valuable new connections to your chapter and your business.

Visitors at a BNI meeting can bring valuable new connections to your chapter and your business.

What do I mean?  Here’s an example:

If I had a customer meeting that was 100 miles away from my home at 7 am tomorrow morning, do you think I would call to confirm that appointment today?  You bet I would! 

I wouldn’t want to risk driving all that way before the sun was even up to find out that my customer needed to reschedule because of a work emergency.  Yet, many of us fail to confirm attendance with our invited visitors the day before our weekly BNI meeting.

Suppose, to take it a step further, I confirmed ahead of time, but when I showed up at that early meeting, my customer wasn’t there.  What would you do? 

Of course, you would probably wait for the customer a few extra minutes and then you would call them to make sure everything was alright.  Do you do that when a visitor doesn’t show up for a meeting?  Or do you just think, “Well, it probably wasn’t a good fit for him anyway”?

Lastly, after that meeting with an important customer, do you follow-up with a thank you email or note?  How about someone who has taken the time and effort to visit your chapter?

When we invite visitors to our BNI chapter, we owe them the exact same courtesy as we would give any other business appointment and that means employing the Actions that Achieve:

  • Call the day before to confirm the appointment.
  • If someone doesn’t show up, call immediately to see if they are alright and find out why they didn’t come. Reschedule with them.
  • Send a Thank You note or email.

Get serious about your visitors and the business they represent, apply Actions that Achieve and increase your visibility, credibility and profitability in your chapter and business.

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Investing in Yourself for a Better Bottom Line

I often hear colleagues lament that they can’t spare the time to attend training or learning event.  These same business people will then spend three hours on the phone cold calling prospects instead of three hours at a conference.  Most people who participate in networking groups do so because they understand that there is a better way to do business, through word-of-mouth referrals.  If you are one of them, congratulations, you are among the top 20%!

Participating in weekly networking meetings is not enough. Growth requires commitment and dedication to you, your business associates and your network.  Let’s examine what attention to your own learning and training can yield for you and your referral partners:

  • New Referral Sources &Partners—When you participate in workshops you come into contact with people you might not ordinarily meet.
  • New Customers—You get to exchange ideas and find like-minded individuals who will be more inclined to do business with you.
  • New Energy—Your enthusiasm and excitement increase as you learn new things and that radiates into everything you do.
  • New Resources—Even one new piece of information or knowledge—from the conference, the attendees or even the vendors—can save you hours of work.
  • New Ideas—Last but not least, the next time you drive home from a training opportunity take that time to brainstorm a couple of ideas of how you will be able to apply what you have learned that day, then write them down.

The key to working smarter instead of harder is regularly seeking out new ideas, people and systems that can save you time and effort.  Benjamin Franklin said it best, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

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Filed under BNI, Life Hacks