Get the best tips on networking from the founder of the world’s largest business networking organization! In this interview, Ivan Misner covers how to build relationships (including socially distanced relationships) that result in strong business referrals.
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This transcript was auto-generated from the original video recording using Otter Voice Meeting Notes. While the transcript has not been human edited, we hope it will still help you to quickly find or reference useful information from the interview.
Deliberate Leaders I am Allison Dunn, your host and founder of the Deliberate Leaders Podcast where each episode we feature inspiring interviews to help you on your leadership journey. And today it is my great pleasure to introduce our next guest Dr. Ivan Misner, and he is a New York best selling author and co author of the book Networking Like a Pro. He is also the founder and chief visionary Officer of BNIunite.com, which is the business networking international organization. It’s the world’s largest referral marketing and networking organization. Ivan, thank you so much for joining us here on Deliberate Leaders today.
Thank you so much for having me here. I appreciate it.
Absolutely. And I know that you bring a ton of wise sage advice and I would like to kick off each episode with a deliberate conversation. And around, what would be your best leadership tip for our listeners?
Well, you know, I think everyone has different needs. I’ll tell you what, what mine was as a young man and it was a great tip that was given to me. I studied under Dr. Warren Bennis, who was in his day one of the world’s leading experts in leadership at the University of Southern California. So I can certainly share some of the things I learned from him but the best leadership tip I got, I got when I was 14 years old. From my mother, who she said to me, son, I love you but you’re a bull in a china shop. You just knock people over and she gave me this paperweight which was given to me now 50 years ago, which tells you how old I am. She gave me this, I’ll read it to you, but she and I have it to this date. And it’s on my desk right here. It’s always here. It says diplomacy is the art of letting something else have your way. And she said, this is about collaboration, not manipulation. But if you want to be a leader, you have to learn how to work with people and not knock them over. And it’s probably been one of the best bits of advice. And one that I have to constantly remind myself of throughout my career, but it’s been it’s been great advice in running a business and working with people.
I’m curious when so I that’s a fantastic tip. When do you have to realize you need to rein yourself back like your natural tendencies come through?
Oh, yeah, that my natural tendencies are, you know, the bull in the china shop. And so you learn to ask questions, rather than just launch into a position on something, ask questions, get engagement, I find collaboration is really the most effective way of creating teams. And so you know, bringing people together and empowering them to do elements of projects. You know, it just that’s the way you can scale a business. You know, I’ve scaled my business, literally from my garage to a global organization. I had an office, that was a spare room in my house. And the garage that I was in, we now are in 70 countries around the world. So collaboration is key, I think to scale any business.
Absolutely love that. And I just want to make sure, obviously, tonight is you know, something that is used, were all my clients are members, and that’s where my business started from. It’s the first organization that I joined. And that was a networking organization when I was in my early 20s. But for those who may not have heard of BNI before, could you just give us a high level overview of what?
Yeah, BNI is a business and professional network. Working organization, we allow one person per profession to join one of the groups, we get together on a weekly basis now, because of COVID. Right now, it’s all online. They’re all zoom meetings, but it’s a BNI branded zoom platform. And we get together every week and pass each other referrals. Last year there organization past 12.7 million referrals worldwide, and generated 16 point actually 12.3 million referrals 16.7 billion with a B $16.7 billion worth of business for our members all around the world over the last two months during the middle of the corona lockdown be and I generated $2 billion worth of business for our members. And that’s when everybody you know is stuck at home and we’ve generated 2 billion in business for our members. So it’s a great way of building your business through referrals and we have a very organized systematic approach to meeting and generating those referrals.
That’s amazing. And so you, you said how many countries and I’m curious, you know how many members currently to about 270,000 members worldwide?
Yeah. 70 countries.
That’s incredible. Um, I think that you are the first guest on my podcast who might be able to actually share kind of the pulse that you feel like our world is going through right now from the truly small business sector, because I think that that is the those are the big eyes of the world, right. I’m just curious, what insights what guidance, what suggestions what hope. Can you give our listeners?
Yeah, so I am a big believer in I think you use the word hope there. Yeah. Yeah. I’m a big believer in hope. And I’ve been talking to people and I’ve been posting a lot of things about hope. On the Internet and on my social media. I think hope is more powerful than fear. And I think hope, plus a payment plan hope plus a plan and taking action, the fear in the dust. And what I have found right now, as in any crisis in the COVID crisis has been the worst I’ve seen in 35 years worse than any recession we’ve been through. And it’s put us in a recession. So it’s a double hit. I think that I see people who either get frozen in fear or they get focused by fear. And I am communicating to people, particularly BNI members, let this fear focus you not freeze you, get it, get it focused on the things that you need to be doing so that when we are released from what I like to call the great pause, you know, I think the way we think about things, makes a difference. It’s important and we’re calling quarantine, we’re calling it locked down. I like to call it the great pause and pretty soon the play button is going to be hit. And we’ll be led out of this pause and we’re starting to be led out of this pause. And so those people who are focused and have a plan and are ready to execute that plan, as the pause is released, I think you’re going to be way more successful I think hope is hearing that little voice inside you talk about what can be while everyone around you is yelling, what can’t be. And I think businesses can pull through this and be successful by creating a plan now and executing starting to execute that plan as you’re being released.
Such wise advice I can speak from my own personal communicates we’re in Boise, Idaho and in my client can be Many that I work with, there’s been so much amazing focus to create a plan of action that takes people out of fear. And but I do believe that there’s a lot of people very afraid it’s still one of the struggles that I recognize is that normal sense of businesses gone and been I promote this referral type of networking. And you’ve been able to just shift right to online and really support members. It’s kind of the sense that I’m getting through all of them. If someone doesn’t belong to a BNI group, so they don’t have this automatic platform, what are some of the things other than checking out their local chapters? What else may be doing so that they’re still building this relationship? Right, even though we can’t be in person?
Yeah. Which it goes to another expression that I’m not a fond of social distancing. More social than ever. We have to be physically distancing, but not socially distancing. So one of the biggest complaints I used to get from people about networking was I don’t have time, I don’t have time to network. And I used to, you know, I used to address that by talking about, you need to make the time to network because that’s the way most businesses build their business. However, you can’t even use that as an excuse right now. Most people have time. And so this is the best time you need to build your network now more than ever. And so I urge people to be spending a lot of time doing one to ones. Zoom one to one meetings, where you’re talking to people, and I have a system that we use in BNI and I’m happy to send you a PDF of it that you can share, called the games exchange. It stands for goals, accomplishments, interests, networks and skills, games. And when you do a one to one, you sit down and you do let me let me tell you what my professional goals are maybe some of my personal goals are you tell me yours, I’ll tell you some of my accomplishments, you tell me yours, I’ll tell you my interests, you know, and you go through all five of these as a way of getting to know the other person better to go deeper in building a professional relationship with that person. Now, the reason that is important is that when you find overlapping areas of interest with somebody else, that’s when you start to build a relationship. And networking is all about relationship building. And I saw this when I tested it. 25 years ago, I tested the gains exchange in a chapter and I had two members who’ve been in for they’ve been in about nine or 10 months overlap. And, and I gave them this to try out in the chapter and two guys. They said to me, they raised their hand I went over they said, We don’t want to do this. And I said, why is this one of them actually said because it weenie.
I said, it’s what? He said. It’s silly. It’s goofy. I don’t want to, I don’t want to do it.
I said, Okay, well look, if you don’t mind, please do it. And I’m gonna give you a survey afterwards. And you can say, look, it was weaning. I didn’t like it. But try it. And so they tried it. And you know, Allison, they never got past interests. Because when they got two interests, they both found out. They were soccer coaches, for their son’s soccer teams.
Yeah, that’s it. Connection.
They were talking about soccer for the rest of the session, and sharing coaching techniques and they agreed to scout for each other. So one would go scout a team and videotape and come back and give him the tape and back and forth. And they all of a sudden built a relationship quickly. And within a month. They pass referrals to each other. They had never given each other a referral in the last In the previous 10 months, but within a month, they had referred business to each other because they built a relationship. So now’s the time to do one to ones use something like the gains exchange to help you in the process of getting the other getting to know the other person. Anybody can do that at any time.
Sure. It is a really great method to really dig past just that pleasantry could type of Converse, understand, to hurt like, what’s important to the other person? And I think it’s particularly a good skill. If I may say so for men to foster and create I think women naturally do this. I in my some of my best friends are good golfers and I said when they come back from the golf course, I’ll be like, you know, so you know what, you know? What did you learn about your golf partner today?
Nothing. Yeah. Yeah. Is he married? I don’t know.
I don’t know.
You bring up a good point? And I don’t know if you notice I wrote a book called business networking and sex, not what you think. Yes.
So let’s talk about this.
It’s about the difference between men and women and how they and how they work. And what you just described is right on the money. Men naturally tend to be more transactional in the way they behave in the way they communicate. Women tend to be more relational in the way they network and in the way they communicate. And you know, sometimes I get somebody who says, Well, I’m not like that. Okay, well, it was based on a survey of 12,000 people. And so it’s not about you. It’s about the average that we saw in surveying 12,000 people and we found that women were much more likely to be relational, and men were more likely to be transactional. Now, here’s a good example, real life example because men say to me, what’s that look? Like, I don’t understand. And, and I, this isn’t in the book, but it happened because I was talking to my wife about doing my first presentation on this book. And I said, so I’m gonna have everybody take a little vote and she said, Okay, I’m going to ask the men, how many of you have a relationship with your dry cleaner? Because one of the people I interviewed said, I’m friends with my dry cleaners on, I said, what’s that look like? I mean, really a friend? Yeah, we, you know, we had been invited to their birthday parties. And you know, they’ve invited me and we share recipes. She was Jewish, the dry cleaner was Malaysian, so it’s Malaysian dishes and Jewish dishes. And I said, Okay, well, that sounds like a friendship. So I said, I’m going to ask the men How many of you are friends with your dry cleaner, and I’m going to ask the woman how many of your friends with your dry cleaner, and I said, I think the women are gonna say way more. You Know, two or three times more women. And my wife says to me, Oh, honey, I’m not sure I do that. I said really Why? She said, Well, I don’t know if I’m friends with Richard and Annette. And I said, Okay, she said, Well, I know they want to go traveling but Richard’s afraid of flying and I noticed a net a she was walking over here because they deliver the clothes. She was walking, she tripped and she really hurt her knee badly and, and they’ve got these two little cute dogs.
And then she stopped. She goes, Oh, wait a minute, maybe. Maybe, maybe I am friends with them.
Unknown Speaker 15:37
And I say, what was their names again? I you know, I didn’t even know their names. names. She knew the kind of dogs they had and she knew about travel.
We sometimes our gender gets in the way of being a better networker. And I gotta tell you, we found that women got more business through networking than men did. Because they were more real In the way they network than men are.
I am. I think that people think they either are very good at networking, or I, you know, I’m not a good networker, right? And I saw you speak at a conference and you gave some really great tips on how to network, how to network Well, how to get comfortable in a networking setting. And I think BNI does a fantastic job at getting as good at that because we practice it every single week. And I don’t think this was a tip you gave, but I will totally give you credit for it going forward forevermore, if this was yours. Yeah. But I often get asked why How can you be so comfortable when you walk into a room and maybe not even know anyone? And I said, Well, I imagine that I am the host. Yeah, my responsibility to make sure that I know everyone’s name and that I’ve, I’ve met you know, anyone, you know, in my immediate presence, right and to make anyone who’s not comfortable and engaged directly Then in. Yeah. Is that a tip I got from you?
Yeah, yeah, it’s from one of the first things I wrote the 10 commandments of working mixer and one of the 10 commandments is act like a host, not a guest.
All right, well, then I give you full credit going forward.
Yeah. Thanks. I appreciate it. And it’s, you know, if you act like the host, and not the guests at a networking event, and you know, people say, Well, how can I do that? Well, I mean, you know, if you throw a party, and somebody knocks on your door, and you have no idea who they are, do you feel uncomfortable? saying Hi, welcome. You know, I’m so and so what’s your name? Of course not, because it’s your party. So one of the ways you can actually be the host, is that when you participate in something like a chamber of commerce, volunteer to be an ambassador. Now, it’s your role. It’s your job to be the host.
So you stand by the door.
Unknown Speaker 17:54
You welcome people. Hi, you know, my name is so and so. I’m an ambassador for the chamber. Well, Come to this evening’s event. Let me you know, I’ll show you if you want, I’d be glad to introduce you to some people. And if you’re looking for any particular business that you want to introduce to, I’d be happy to connect you. So become a connector. Now if it’s your job, most people can do that, because that’s the role they’re playing. In BNI. It would be the visitor host. If you’re BNI. I volunteer to be the visitor host that puts you in touch in connection with everyone. You said some people think they’re very good at it. I’m changing subjects here switching lanes without signaling.
I think people who think they’re really good may not be as good as they think they are, I think and they love to talk. And extroverts always love to talk and what’s their favorite subject? themselves. A good networker is two ears, and one mouth and uses them both proportionately. A good networker is like an interviewer. You’re asking me questions. You’re allowing me to elaborate. That’s what a good networker is. That’s questions that get people to elaborate. And that’s why I think an introvert can actually be better at networking than an extrovert, because the extrovert has to learn how to shut up. And that’s hard. The introvert just has to learn how to introduce themselves. And there are techniques like volunteering to be a host that makes that easier, and then they’re great listeners.
Let’s talk about listening in that first introduction. So one of the things that the BNI does a really good job with its members is to creating its I was going to call the 60 second message but I don’t know the presentation now. Weekly press. I was like, I’m not I’m going to call it the wrong thing. And so we changed it because our average chapter size is getting bigger and bigger and some chapters get so big, they can’t do it in a minute. There’s got to be 45 seconds, right or less in our air and we have Are abdomen 30 which are to do? What should a great introduction message comprise of?
So, here’s a soundbite for people to remember specific is terrific in terms of doing weekly presentations. If you’re presenting on a regular basis, who you are and what you do in any kind of networking format, be laser specific. What people tend to be do is they tend to be generalist in the way they answer they do or talk about what they do. I’m a full service printer, whatever printing you need, I could, that is almost of no value to your audience. What you want to do is get laser specific. This is counterintuitive, because if you’re speaking on a regular basis in your networking group, about what you do, if you give them something different every week, it makes it easier for them when they are out talking to people to go. I know somebody that does that. And they remember it because you have pierced their reticular. Or they have said something that has pierced your reticular activating system. Now, the reticular activating system is that filter in the brain that screens off stuff you don’t need to hear or see. And so if you can teach people, phrases and things about your business, that that will pierce their reticular activating system. That’s the best way to get referrals. Here are four phrases that will help you do that. I can’t, I need I want, I don’t know. So if I were doing a weekly presentation on my business, I would come up with a phrase that includes like I can’t like if I if I were selling computers, I would say to the room. If you Ever hear someone say, I can’t get this computer to work? That’s a referral for me. If they ever say I need a cyst, I need a computer that’s faster, it keeps locking up on me. That’s a referral for me. So get in each week, talk about one, don’t go into two or three, go get granular and talk about one thing. That’s the secret to doing great, weekly presentations specific is terrific.
Excellent tips for things that people need to look for when they’re looking for referrals from you. I did the MSP training for our local area. And it is amazing how many people have not been able to articulate what they do in under a minute. Yeah. And going through the practice of standing up and actually delivering those presentations and improving them. What a powerful part of the training that we did.
Yeah, you know, we that’s one of the things I hear often that it’s a benefit that people say Wow, I am so much better at presenting not just who I am and what I do, but in general. And it was not a skill that I anticipated. When I started being I that people would say, Wow, it’s made me a better speaker. But it’s one I hear all the time. Because you know, you just have them for 50 weeks in a row. You get better and better at it.
Sure, absolutely. One of the things that I like to kind of maybe dive into a little bit is about refer ability. Yeah. And I think that I would probably speak for everyone who has ever been a bi member is occasionally you have someone who you maybe feel isn’t very favorable. So how can we as business owners and collaborative members in our community, how can we make sure we’re referral? What does that look like?
Yeah, well, you know, to be referral, you need to under promise and over deliver. And I think all too often you don’t make Sometimes we get caught up in over promising and under delivering and that’s a mistake. So when you’re dealing with a network, you want to make sure to come across. You got to do your best work for the people in your network. Otherwise, you’re not going to get referrals. You also need to look the part. I did a podcast on I do if you’re in Vienna, you know, I have a podcast called being a podcast. Calm, and I actually wrote episode on the very topic. So if you go to be an AI podcast, calm and go to Episode 577 the show notes.
Yeah, it’s called. I wasn’t referable. And it’s, I had a guest on my podcast, Megan. And Megan was very candid in what happened to her she’s now a director, but at the time she was a member, and she said she came from the construction industry and she you know, in over time, she had done Six Sigma work, which is quality control, and she ended up going into a coaching business. So but from the construction industry, so she went to the meetings dressed like a construction worker because she was used, and all of her clothes were closed and going on site. And finally one of the group of women sat down with her and said, Megan, we love you, but you’re not referable and she’s like, What do you mean? I’m really good at what I do. Yes, but not everybody is a construction company. And so you have to present yourself in a way that make people feel confident in referring you have to dress professionally, and you know, boots and khakis isn’t going to get you into a corporate setting. Right. And, and you may think, oh, that’s horrible, but it’s just the way the world works and referrals people If you’re comfortable, so the whole podcast was on. And what she did was amazing. They told her she wasn’t comfortable the way she dressed, whatever. And they laughed and that we’re about to leave. And she’s like, No, no, no, no, no, you don’t get to say that to me and then leave, you need to help me be referral. And these wonderful women who were in her chapter, they took her to their homes, and showed her their wardrobes. And they said, Look, take, you know, take this outfit, take this outfit, until you buy your own. And they worked on, you know, just how to present herself as a woman professional. And it made all the difference in the world. She became much more referral immediately. And yeah, so there are a lot of ways that you need to do it. Once performance ones the way you look.
That’s a that is an important tip that I think works for both men and women. Yeah. And ever more important, especially in today’s world, because people give you the time of day if you don’t look like different parts, right? Yeah.
So here’s another one with a man. I, and I knew this guy and he called himself the casual accountant. And he always wore Hawaiian shirt shirts, oftentimes shorts and sandals. And he said, I want to make people feel comfortable with their CPA. And so that’s what he did. Okay, that’s a great pitch. It’s a great, I love that. But one day you stood up and he said, I’m, so I’m really looking to get into some corporate clients, I really want to work with more corporations. And we had to pull him aside afterwards and say, I’m not going to refer you to a corporate client. Because honestly, you can’t go in like that, you know, you can’t go in with shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and be taken seriously in a corporate setting. Is it fair? No. Is it right? I don’t know. No, but it is it is what it is. And so and so heunderstood that and, and then when he said that in the in the future, as I remembered one of his next meetings, he came dressed like an accountant, like what you might think and he said, If you refer me to one of your corporate clients, this is how I’ll show off.
So, on that similar note, I do know a local member here who wore his suit every single week. And then in visiting another chapter. Instead, he went very casual. And he specifically said when he goes in a suit, he gets like almost like 10 to 21 to ones, but he went casual. He didn’t get any requests of people to meet with him, because it was in conflict. So it is more important than we want to give it measure to but it is. In my younger years, I would go to chamber events and I would be networking and the goal was to get to get business cards. So your trading business cards, business cards swap, and I would get back and my manager would be like, How many did you collect? I’d be like, I got, you know, 15 and you’re like, Oh, good job, but like a business card is not networking.
No, not at all.
We talk about that in the book networking like a pro. And my co author. Brian, he’s got this great story. He says, I have got a dog. It’s a golden retriever. Her name is Brandy. Everybody loves brandy. She’s just so friendly. And he said I could put a little saddle on brat brandy. And I could put the saddle have two pouches and I could put my business cards in one pouch with a notices please take one On the other pouch on the other side, put a note that says, Put your card here. I could send brandy into the room and have her come back in 30 minutes. And she would show up with a stack of business cards. And he said, is that really networking? No, that’s card collecting. That’s not networking. Networking is about really making connections with people and simply collecting business cards is only a small piece of that process. You know, there’s much more that you need to do. If you want to, I’d be happy to talk about a couple of things on what you need to do when you collect those cards.
So that is my very next question. So let’s say we have folks who are listening and that is what they’ve been guilty of. So now that I know that it might be better, what do I need to do? All I have are cards.
Yeah, sure. One thing I’d recommend is when you get those cards, Make a note on the back of the cards about something that the person said to remind you. Now, disclaimer, in some cultures that is completely inappropriate, particularly Asian cultures. You don’t want to write on a card ever Don’t even ask for permission, take a notepad with you. But in North America, you know, people, they’ll toss a business card, it’s no big deal. I deal if I do it in front of them, I will say Do you mind if I write a note about what you just said on your card? And they say absolutely, it’s not a problem. So I write notes. If I’m going to get back to them, if I’m going to do what I’m about to tell you. I always write a note on the card. So start with that. Everyone always asks, How do you follow up, so I’m going to give you a technique to follow up. It’s called the 24 730 follow up system 24 730 within 24 hours, reach out and Thank them for having an opportunity to meet, just connect with them. I think I think the best thing to do is to send a real letter or card. Yeah, nobody does that anymore. And I recommend I don’t use Send Out Cards.
I am Yes, I want you to record.
I’m not a representative. I make nothing by recommending them. I am a client. I love it. You can get on your computer, type everything in and send a cards. They can even do it in your own print your own hand printing. They will mail in the mail a card to the person. So mail something if you’re not going to do that, send an email at least and simply reach out and say hey, Alison was really nice meeting you. I you know, enjoyed our conversation on X and I hope our paths cross again. Don’t sell to them. Okay, that’s what everyone’s Oh hey, you know, and by the way, I promise This product or this service? And if you’re no don’t do that, I you know, I call it a sales seizure, they just can’t stop themselves, right? within 24 hours reach out and say, Hey, was great meeting you, within 724 730 within seven days connect with them on social media. So one of the things that if I want to follow up with someone, one of the things I might say is what social media platform Do you use most? And that’s one of the things I would write, you know, I may say, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever, find out where they where they like to go. Now, I tell you, this will lengthen the story slightly, but it’s good.
I learned this from my kids. Because my eldest when she was 17 years old, you know, she had a phone, I would call her. She would never answer. But if I texted her, she’s now 33. So it’s been a long time ago. I texted her, she respond immediately. I remember talking to her once I’m saying honey You know, this is a telephone connection speaking these things. She’s like, no.
So I learned that if I wanted to talk to her at that time, now she gets the phone. But at that time if I wanted to talk to my 17 year old or eight, especially when she was like, 19, and out of the house, I had to text her. When my next daughter got to about 1819 I would call her nothing. I would text her nothing. She’s now 28 so this was 11 years ago. I said to my wife, what do I do? She’s not responding.
She said, Oh, you need to what’s app her? What’s WhatsApp?
I don’t know what that is. So, so I downloaded WhatsApp I think I have like three contacts on WhatsApp and my daughter is one of them. So if I call her nothing text or nothing, WhatsApp, her boom, responds immediately. Then came my son. So when he moved on, I he you know, I call him nothing texted nothing. He didn’t like what’s up. He’s a gamer. Which games Oh, I knew he was on a platform called steam which has instant messaging. I downloaded steam and bought a game. Okay, I was in my 40s and 50s. And I bought a game so that I could be on the platform. And if I wanted to talk to him, I just instant messaged him on Steam. And he, you know, what, what’s up Dad? What do you do? You know, you would respond. So I learned from my kids, that I can’t communicate with them the way I want to, especially at that age.
I need if I want to have relationship with them at that age, I need to communicate with them in the way they want to communicate. And that’s a lesson that I carried over to networking. don’t communicate with them on the social media platforms you like if you want to build a relationship with them, communicate with them on the social media platform they like and comment Hey, love that post love what you know, this was this was really interesting. Let me share Another one with you. And so you’re engaging with them a little bit. So they see you, you sent them the card or an email. Now they see you on social media. Then within 30 days, 24 730, within 30 days, you reach out to them. And you say, oh, by the way on social media, don’t sell to them. Okay, now 30 days, you reach out to them. And you say, Alison, we met a month ago, it was great meeting you. I’ve been following some of the things that you’ve posted on your Facebook, I really love this post or that post. I am I’d love to get together for coffee and really learn more about what you do. And hopefully you’re willing to learn a little bit about what I do, and just a simple professional one to one. So we can learn more about each other’s business and set up that one to one, which is something we already talked about. I think they’re so incredibly important. Set up that one to one and meet with them. When you meet with them, don’t sell to them. Okay? If they need your product or service, they’ll tell you at that point. But what you want to do is build the relationship. It’s about social capital. You know, social capital is a lot like financial capital banks actually have this crazy idea that they want you to put money in before you write a check. Social capitals the same, you got to invest, you got to get to know them build the relationship before you ask for something from them. And so that’s the politician 24 730. If you do that you’re on the right track to networking effectively.
Yeah. Great rule of thumb and a really super good reminder for anyone who’s not sure what to do at any stage in their business. Just go build relationships using that formula. And you’re successful.
Yeah, very true. And I think go into it understanding that no Working is more about farming than it is about hunting. It’s about cultivating relationships with other people. And if you have that mindset, you’re going to be a lot more successful.
Yeah. Ivan, I think the, the key thing that you’ve driven home on each of those metrics is to not you don’t you shouldn’t ever have to sell until someone is asking you for what it is that you provide. And to not to make sure that you’re not doing that. And right now, the massive volume of people just coming right at you. Yeah. Hi, I’m Allison. I’m an executive business coach. You know, let me coach you it’s like, not okay.
Yeah, I agree. And you know, a lot of people say what, come on, it never hurts to ask, right? Wrong. did wrong. It absolutely hurts. Now, as a matter of fact, if you’re networking up, if you’re networking with somebody who you think above your weight class in terms of success, the last thing you want to do is pay pitch them when you meet them. And I know this too sounds counter intuitive, but really successful people are pitched all the time. Do you want to be like everyone else and pitch them to know, instead find a way to help them. If you can find a way to help them. That is the way you start to build a relationship. Let me give you a quick story. If we have time.
I’ve had an opportunity to meet Richard Branson on a number of occasions. And on a couple of the occasions I met him I really wanted to do a video with Branson, but I didn’t want to be one of those guys to go to Necker Island where he was and say, Hey, Richard, would you would you mind? Would you do a video with me? I don’t want to do that. So what I did on the last two times I’ve met him is I just did a little research before I went there. I knew I was going to be seeing him and I asked him You know what? Hey, what’s going on with the B team concept, which was the business team concept he opened up and, and then one time, the second time, which was just a few months ago, I was on Necker Island, and he had this concept called circles. And I said, Richard, tell me about the circles concept that you’ve got. And he, you know, he lit up. He’s like, Oh, well, the circles in he explained what it was. And then I asked him, How can I help you with that? I think it’s a great concept. What can I do to help get that out? And he said, Well, you want a big network? You know, getting that out to the to your members, explaining it to your members would be great. I said, Well, that’s fantastic, would be of any value to you to do a video with you talking about it, and then I’ll share it with all the members that he’s like, Yeah, that’d be great. Okay, so I found a way to help him, legitimately help him and at the same time, I get to do a video with him. It’s a win win. But I didn’t just go and ask him for something. I asked him how I can help him. That’s the key, especially if you’re networking up. And by the way, you can find that if you go to Ivan Meisner comm you can find that video on February 13. of this year 2020 February 13. It’s called Richard Branson. Richard Branson shares his circles of support concept on my on my blog.
I’ll put that in the show notes too.
Fantastic. I’ve got one more topic before we fully wrap up. I just I would love to leave people with kind of the final message. I feel like it should be a givers gain message, but I don’t want to force it that on you. So any final wrap up thoughts as we conclude this interview?
Well, there’s a givers gain is the principle core value of BNI and I think it’s it really is what has set us aside as a networking organization this whole life. idea that if I help you, you’ll help me and we’ll all do better. I think that’s a very unique approach to the sales orientation to the almost this mercenary networking that I see take place. I’ll leave you with this, the sound bite, you know the expression, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I don’t think it’s either. I don’t think it’s what you know or who you know, it’s how well you know each other that really counts. Because you could have amazing contacts in your database. You could have amazing contacts. But the real question isn’t just who’s in your database? It’s who could you call? And they would answer your call. And if you ask for a favor, they would say yes, that’s way more than just someone you know, that’s someone you have a relationship with. And so it’s not just who you know, it’s how will you know each other, which means it’s always it always comes down to building rules. That is what networking is about.
I’m going to set as the title of this particular episode. I think that’s a brilliant conclusion and wrapping up What? Why networking is so important and the value of what be an AI does. Ivan, thank you so much for joining us here today and sharing such wonderful advice. And we’ll include our local chapter also in the show notes because I just did it is such an important component for us as local community to be part of a BNI chapter so, and be an icon for anyone who might see this outside your region being calm, come up, that’s what I was going to include. Yeah, so that people can figure out where a chapter was in their area to go check it out, which is open to anyone. So, um, Ivan, thank you so much. It’s been such a pleasure.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
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