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January 2011 Edition
   


There are three trends in business networking that I foresee over the next several years.  They relate to:

1. Integration

2. Education

3. Association

Integration

Many business people have said to me: “I have thousands of connections on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites… now what?”

“Now what?” seems to be the big question.  How do people turn these connections into business?  There are many social media experts out there with suggestions – many of them very good.  However, the question still lingers: How do business people turn their social media contacts into real business for their enterprise?

First, let me be clear.  Although I am mostly known for my face-to-face networking expertise, I love social media.  I’m definitely a fan.  I don’t believe it is an “either/or” scenario when it comes to social media and face-to-face networking.  I believe that it is a “both/and.”

I think that they will not only co-exist, but also that their co-existence will be one of the many ways that social media can have a direct payoff to business people.  This payoff will, among other ways, come through the integration of social media and face-to-face networking.

The phrase “Think globally and act locally” may no longer be as relevant as it once was.  We are increasingly living in a global economy.  Businesses are reaching across greater geographic areas.  Many local businesses want a global network. Those who don’t actually do business in another country may still want to communicate with people in other areas to improve their expertise.  Technology flattens the communication hierarchy and allows people to do business or talk business anywhere in the world.

I believe that forward-thinking networks will effectively and directly integrate technology and social media systems into their face-to-face operations.

This will be particularly powerful for networks that have strong shared values and a clear-cut mission of participation.  Many networking groups are seeing their memberships gradually convert from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers and Millennials.  This transition to a younger membership will dictate the need to integrate technology more effectively into a face-to-face model.

I believe the technology piece will take place by having “walled-gardens”—communities accessible only to members of that group.  This will not only apply to traditional types of face-to-face networking groups but also to other types of networks.  For example, it may also be effectively utilized in professional associations, communities for users of specific products or services, alumni associations, and much more.

These communities will be more than groups under existing social media networks.  I believe they will be groups of people with highly controlled access; they will be based on a membership database that allows participation from the top of an organization.  In effect, they will be mini-social media sites that are niche-oriented, and in some cases, global in perspective.

The attraction to groups like this will be the niche orientation and the shared values and/or mission of the organizations.  The technology will allow greater connections—while the face-to-face will allow deeper connections.

Education

Don’t hold your breath for colleges and universities of the world to begin teaching networking and social capital.  These systems are behemoths of bureaucracy. They are so far behind the curve of small business development that I’m beginning to despair that they will ever catch on.  Most full-time professors have never owned a business and are completely out of touch with what is happening in real life, especially in small business.

Only one or two universities in the world have a core-curriculum course on networking and social capital. And I don’t think that will change anytime soon.  Full-time university professors (who have complete control over the curriculum) view business networking as a soft science and not something that can be taught.

They are—quite simply—wrong.  Networking can be, and is, taught around world, just not in school.

In the same way that sales and closing techniques are taught outside the university, I believe that networking will be taught more and more outside the university.

I think the current trend in networking and social capital education will emerge in the form of private professional training organizations, in much the same way that private industry has controlled the educational market on sales techniques (another area where many colleges fail miserably).

The downside to this is that the consumer needs to be well informed about a training company’s real knowledge in the area in which they are claiming expertise.  I’ve seen many people who think they know how to network but aren’t qualified to teach the process.

I met a man recently who had utterly failed as a business coach and subsequently decided to try his hand at teaching networking.  His only substantive qualification was that he had previously attended a networking course by another training organization.  He figured that since he could pass the course, he was qualified to teach one.   I watched him network one evening; he wasn’t qualified.

Buyer beware: If you want a course in business networking, look over the qualifications of the company that developed the material, and check the qualifications of the trainer.  Increasingly, these types of trainings will be offered by independent organizations, and it will be important for the consumer to do their due diligence.

Association

I believe there will be attempts to create an association of networking groups over the next several years.  I also believe they will greatly struggle or fail to succeed.

There is a genuine need to codify the ethics and education of a business networking curriculum.  As I mentioned above, there are virtually no university-level courses on the topic, and I sincerely doubt that will change in the next decade.

There are many associations that exist for many purposes.  One might assume that WOMMA (the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association) fits the bill for what I’m describing, but it does not.  WOMMA seems to be a very good organization from everything I’ve heard (they must have good word-of-mouth).  However, their focus is more on buzz marketing and social media than it is on the type of face-to-face networking that I am describing here.

WOMMA works for many reasons. It’s important to note that one of the most important reasons for its success is that its members represent varied companies from many non-competing arenas (such as AT&T, Coca Cola, Intel, Sony, and ESPN).

An association of networking groups would have a substantial amount of perceived and real overlap, and possibly even conflict.  For this reason alone, an association devoted to the advancement of business networking will struggle or fail to get off the ground.  I’m afraid it’s one of those good ideas that will be difficult to sustain.

There are many changes in this field.  Technology is a big one.  However, the biggest change is simply the recognition of the field itself.  When I wrote my first book on business networking in the late 1980s, there were virtually no books or materials on the subject.

When I did media interviews, the most common question was: “Isn’t networking just a fad?” After 25 years, I don’t get asked that question anymore.   This is a field of study that is coming into its own.   When I did my research for my first book, I could find almost nothing in the library on the topic.

Today, I Googled “business networking” and got 150 million hits!   Times are changing, and so is networking.

Called the "father of modern networking" by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author.  He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI, the world's largest business networking organization and the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute.  His newest book, Networking Like a Pro, can be viewed at www.IvanMisner.com.



 

An excerpt from Never Get a “Real” Job

Nothing is worse than a long, drawn-out meeting that feels like a trip to the dentist. The last place you want to find yourself is leading a snooze fest or a presentation that has people checking their watches every other minute.

To be an effective salesperson, it’s important to master your presentation skills and learn to engage your audience effectively with highly targeted information that gets results in the shortest period of time.

1. Be prepared. Always be ready for the people you’re meeting. Never make anyone wait for you.

2. Sell the jockey before the horse. Every sale begins with your first impression. Demeanor matters. Be likeable, down-to-earth, and confident. Attract people with your enthusiasm, energy, and passion.

3. Say it in 30 seconds or less. Get to the point. Your prospects and potential partners have other things to do, so get them to say yes as quickly as possible. The more you say, the more you’re giving people to consider. Make it easy for them: Say what needs to be said, and not a single word more.

4. Fit the pitch to the person. Create the right presentation, not “your” presentation. Do research before any pitch to customize applicable portions and ensure that you have all of the necessary and correct information as it pertains to the person sitting across the table—or on the other side of the Internet.

5. Show, don’t tell. Whenever possible, keep your presentations interactive. Demonstrate your product or service firsthand to show off your results rather than just talk about them.

6. Make it visual. Don’t kill people with excessive text. Keep slides or videos simple and clean. Focus on creating visually appealing presentations using photos, videos, audio, and graphics with minimal body text.

7. The best presentations are conversations. Talk with prospects; never lecture them, put forth mandates, or tout ultimatums. Engage and interact with the people in the room. Always encourage discussion and questions as you go.

8. Speak plainly. You’re speaking to people, not robots. Don’t use jargon or clichés to make your points. Eliminate terms such as these from your vocabulary: innovative or innovate, out of the box, Web 2.0, next generation, original, and world’s greatest. Use the tools on gobbledygook.grader.com to keep your pitches in check and jargon-free.

9. Back up or shut up. You are asking someone else to invest his or her time and money into your product or service. Show them that you deserve it by supporting your expertise with relevant experience and real results. Avoid hypothetical arguments or unsubstantiated claims. If you can’t do or promise something, then find another way to sell your services until you can.

10. Know what you are talking about. Don’t say things to try to look smart or claim anything that sounds too good to be true to close a sale. Less is not only more—it also keeps you out of trouble. Remember, you’re accountable for every word that comes from your company. The smartest thing to do when you don’t know something is to admit that you don’t know—then figure it out within 24 hours and get back to the individual with an answer.


This article was excerpted with the permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., www.wiley.com, from NEVER GET A REAL JOB: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business, and Not Go Broke by Scott Gerber © 2011 by Scott Gerber.




 

Why your 60-Second Commercial should point to a solution.

I’m a 3-year BNI member and the education guy in our group.  I also write advertisements for a living.  Isn’t a BNI 60-Second Commercial or Sales Manager Moment really an advertisement?  Isn’t it a sales message? 

I’d like to share one way that you could do a 60-Second Commercial at your next BNI meeting.

First, consider this:  What does your product or service do for your customers?

That’s a question that might have hundreds of answers.  But just a few of those answers will “hit home” with the majority of your current and past customers. Figuring out the most relevant answer to this question is key to creating an effective sales message.

When you need to create an advertisement, email, sales letter, BNI 60-Second Commercial, direct mail postcard—anything related to sales and marketing—pretend that one person (your prospect) has a problem, a problem you can fix.

In your sales message, address the problem first.  Addressing your prospect’s problem gets their attention.  They think, Hey, I’ve got that same issue.  I wonder what they’re going to do about it. It’s best to be specific in your sales message.  The more specific your message, the better you’ll connect with your audience and attract their full attention.

Now that you’ve got them “hooked” for a few more seconds, what’s next? Personally, I like to tell a short story about how one of my customers had a particular problem.  I give details about their problem, and then share exactly what I did to make their problem disappear.  People love stories, and they also like to hear that they are not the only ones with that same problem.

Finally, briefly summarize everything. Remind them of their problem, let them know how you would fix it, and tell them to contact you regarding their similar problem.

There are many different angles and creative ways to tell your prospect how you can help them.  Just remember that your potential new customers don’t really give a darn about your product or service; they just want to know if you can get rid of their problem.

A final note: There’s no one way to give a 60-Second Commercial.  Don’t get caught up in what you think a 60-Second Commercial should sound like.  Don’t be afraid to break the rules.  If you give the same commercial week-in and week-out, you’re training your fellow BNI members to forget you. 

I don’t want you to take three hours to come up with a good commercial.  You’ll never create the perfect one.  You have many stories to share about how you can help people. Don’t try to cram everything into one.  Attend every week, and feed us a bit of new information each time.  You may think we know everything about your business, but we don’t.

Duane Christensen specializes in persuasive writing.  He writes, scribbles, re-writes, brainstorms, and researches to create better sales messages for his clients.  It’s all about attracting new customers and leads for them.  He also teaches you to write better sales messages on your own. www.nonfatadvertising.com



 


Have you ever thought of having more than one business card; certain cards used for certain situations? Learn the three top tips to creating a business card that will work for you 24/7.

Watch this video to learn how you can create your no-fail business card that will help boost your productivity whenever you hand it out.



 


If you become just a little bit better in certain critical areas of selling, it can translate into enormous increases in sales.

Thousands of hours and millions of dollars have been spent studying the most successful salespeople in our society. They have been interviewed exhaustively, as have their customers, co-workers and managers. Today we know more about what it takes for you to be one of the best in the business than we have ever known before. And the most important thing we have learned in all these studies is that selling is more psychological than anything else.

The Key to High Performance

One of the most important concepts ever discovered in the field of human performance is called the "winning edge concept." This concept or principle, states that, "small differences in ability can translate into enormous differences in results." What it means is that if you become just a little bit better in certain critical areas of selling, it can translate into enormous increases in sales. In fact, you may be on the verge of a major step forward in your sales results at this very moment just by learning and practicing something new and different to what you have done before.

If a horse comes in first by a nose, it wins ten times the prize money of the horse that comes in second, even though the difference is only a nose, or perhaps a couple of inches, in a photo finish.

Small Differences Mean Big Rewards

Does this mean that the horse that wins by a nose is ten times faster than the horse that comes in second, by a nose? Of course not! Is the horse that wins by a nose twice as fast, or fifty percent faster, or ten percent faster? The answer is "no" to all of these. The horse that wins is only a nose faster, but it translates into ten times the prize money.

Get 100% of the Commission

By the same token, the salesperson who gets the sale for himself and his company gets one hundred percent of the business and one hundred percent of the commission. Does this mean that his product is one hundred percent better than that of the competition, or one hundred percent cheaper?

The fact is that the product may not even be as good and it may cost even more than that of the competitor, but the top salesman gets the sale nonetheless. The person who gets the sale is, in most cases, not vastly better than the person who loses the sale. He or she merely has the "winning edge" and that translates into one hundred percent of the business.

Action Exercises

Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, identify the important things you do in every sale, from prospecting to closing, and think about what you could do to improve in each area.

Second, select one specific area where you feel you are weak and make a plan to become absolutely excellent in this area. This decision alone could change your career.

Do You Know How to Close the Sale?
If you can’t close the sale, your career in sales will be short-lived. Your job, finances, and lifestyle depend on your ability to close deals. In Brian Tracy’s “The Art of Closing the Sale,” you will learn EXACTLY how to close more sales and get the results you’re looking for. Learn more today.



 


The new video for International Networking Week® 2011, is now available on YouTube!

The short, eight-minute video, sponsored by NetworkingNow.com and the Referral Institute, discusses the history and significance of this exciting, celebratory week which will be recognized across the globe this coming February 7-11, 2011. (Mark your calendar now!) It also explains a concept many networkers fail to recognize but of which all networkers need to be aware--the “networking disconnect.”

This is the fifth year for International Networking Week® and it is now recognized by many countries around the world, with thousands of events being held during the Week.  One of the main goals of the week is to help businesspeople everywhere build their networking skills. Don't wait until the last minute to join in the celebration and start the year off as a better networker--watch the video now, find an event in your area, and come back and let me know what you'll be doing to recognize International Networking Week®.

For additional information, go to www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com.



 

Bring a Family Member or Friend to Your Networking Meeting or Networking Event during International Networking Week 2011

Our special meeting exercise for International Networking Week this year is to invite a family member or close friend to your networking meeting or event.

Often times, we’re so busy talking to family and friends about personal matters and everything other than work, that they—the people closest to us—don’t have a clear idea of what we do for a living because we rarely talk to them about our business.  Yet, they are often our biggest fans; so, why don’t we leverage our biggest fans to help us network our business?

The average person knows between 200 and 300 people which means just one of your family members or close friends knows that many people who are not aware of your business.  Your family members and friends know you, love you, and trust you but they may not be referring business to you simply because they don’t know how.

This exercise presents the perfect opportunity to:

  • Familiarize one of your family members or close friends with your business

  • Get more familiar with their business

  • Expose them to the power and potential of business networking (a win-win situation for both of you)


Once you accomplish these things, you will both be well on your way to activating each other’s networks and, at the same time, helping the people who are really important to you.

One of BNI’s trademarked phrases is Local Business—Global Network® and there’s no better place to turn for help in promoting your local business and other local businesses, in regions all across the globe, than to the people who are the most local to you—those who are truly the closest.

So, who will you invite?

Send a family member or close friend an invitation to the upcoming networking meeting or event you’ll be participating in during International Networking Week (February 7th-11th, 2011) and be sure to:

  • Tell them to bring their business cards

  • Be a great host and show them the BNI style of networking

  • Send them the link to view Dr. Misner’s International Networking Week Video prior to their attendance at your meeting/event




 


The BNI International 25th Anniversary Conference was incredible for the BNI-Misner Foundation.

Two years ago in Long Beach, CA, BNI India shared a video clip regarding Starting Point’s mission to build schools to educate India’s slum children; it inspired our directors to spontaneously collect a donation of over $7000, which Ivan and I matched.

As a result of a follow-up clip (see link below), we once again were inspired and then humbled by the directors attending the 25th Anniversary Conference. We announced Thursday that we opened a fund to answer YES to James’ request for funding to build a third floor on the school built with our previous donation. We announced that we would match the first $10k that came into the fund. Within 48 hours, $16k was donated by the directors participating in the conference! (A big thanks to Sam Schwartz who “worked the room” much as Thomas Jaeger did two years ago.  Click here to read about how Sam helped raise $6000 in one hour!)

Ivan and I, as well as all the kids of Blue Bells School in Bangalore, thank all who participated for your generosity. The fund will remain open until January 30, 2011, as there is a need to build more schools for these children, which is what Building Blocks (formerly Starting Point) will do with our donations.

Click here for the secure, one-time donation site where you may make your contribution for the school project.

Click here to watch the YouTube video showcasing the program and Blue Bells School.




 


Elaine Betts, a BNI director in Northern California, was proclaimed the “Poet Laureate” for BNI in August 2010.  Click here to view Elaine’s reading of “The BNI Family Team.”

A new poem, “There Was A Time,” was created by Elaine Betts with help from Amy Turley-Brown, BNI Director of Events and Operations, to recall early BNI memories.

A framed copy of this poem was presented to Ivan Misner at the International Directors Conference and BNI’s 25th anniversary celebration in November 2010.


There was a time that we met in a house,

The business was Ivan, his sister, and spouse.

With BBQ meetings for a couple of staff,

They worked hard, and played hard, and had such a laugh.

There was a time that we counted the mail,

Handwriting envelopes, SuccessNet the trail.

The warehouse a garage, till its seams it did burst,

A handful of ED’s, Randy Borden the first.

And remember the cat, Dude was his name,

It’s hard to explain how things still feel the same.

Same in the challenge of expansion and growing,

The BNI family of farmers are sowing.

Early day memories bring smiles and refuge,

There was a time 10 new members packs seemed HUGE!

A mentor/mentee, this is really old news,

There was a time, you just threw in your shoes!

The aim was a friend, a shoe buddy did form,

Everyone loved it, especially NORM!

There was a time AIM Consulting did start,

With Ivan the leader, it was so set apart.

AIM, then, The Network, 25 years have gone by,

And now as we know it, it’s called BNI.

Arcadia, Pasadena, and Diamond Bar,

In 25 years, this biz has come far.

International footsteps, who would have reckoned,

Canada first, then England second.

Referral Slips printed in Hebrew and Swedish,

American, Spanish and even Queens English!

As we move ourselves forward the vision to see,

We’ll say there’s a time we’re in every country.



 

Not for businesses in Croydon

Croydon has boasting rights: We recently held the first-ever BNI Tweeter meeting.

I am delighted to have been the originator and part of the meeting, which proved to be historical for both BNI and Twitter!

A regular user of Twitter, I love chatting to people, learning new things, and building relationships.

When the snow started falling a few weeks ago, it became clear we were not going to have our weekly BNI meeting.

It dawned on me that we could use Twitter as the platform for our usual meeting. Twittering the meeting also meant publicity. Others would see what we are up to, which has the potential to attract visitors and referrals

Click here to read the article.

Click here to read another summary of how this meeting came about in “Across the Globe.”



 


Are you actively networking both online and offline as a way to build relationships, find potential clients, and market your product/services in order to grow your business?

Networking is an important part of any business; however, there are tens of thousands of people who are not following the fundamentals of networking; consequently, they’re not developing solid relationships.

To ensure you aren’t breaking the golden rules of networking, join Annemarie Cross and Keith Keller as they interview networking guru, Ivan Misner, founder of BNI.

Click here to listen to the interview.



 

The Small Business Advocate



Why has networking grown in a global recession? Ivan Misner joins Jim Blasingame on The Small Business Advocate to explain why networking activity has grown significantly over the past 20 years, including during the recent global recession.



 


While some companies may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 30-second commercial, it only costs these business owners $10 to get the word out.

Each Wednesday, about 40 local sole proprietors, co-owners and franchisees get together to network, exchange ideas, make contacts and exchange competitiveness for cooperativeness for two hours.

At the weekly Sun City Center meetings of the Fortune Magnet Chapter of Business Network International, everyone gets down to business, seriously and not so seriously.

Click here to read the article.



 

Watch this video and set your 2012 one-to-one goals!

After attending the 2011 BNI International Conference last month as part of the prize package he received for winning the 2010 BNI 25th Anniversary Video Contest, Lawrence Conyers of Anson Corporate Media and the BNI Prince Bishop chapter in the UK, was inspired to make this humorously informative new video about the way to do effective 1-to-1 meetings.

Watch this creative and entertaining short video, "Cup of Tea--or the Way to Do a BNI 1-to1 Meeting," to learn just how true it really is when people say: If you don't do 1-to-1s effectively, you might as well talk to yourself. 

Watch this video and then set your 2012 1-to1 goals.  You’ll be glad you did!

 


 


Congratulations are in order for the Resultados chapter for their impressive start in the program.  The chapter is strongly committed to chapter growth and sees infinite possibilities for 2012, according to Ana Pacheco, BNI’s Lisbon area director consultant.  In fact, there are currently more than 30 chapters in Portugal with a goal to grow to 200 in the central region in 2012.

Recently Ana was interviewed on TVi, a popular Portuguese television channel, to discuss the philosophy and benefits of BNI.  Watch the interview with English subtitles.

To see the emotion and commitment of the Resultados chapter first-hand, watch this video in Portuguese.

Ana Pacheco says, “This [Resultados success] is the result of a strong team spirit that has grown from 27 members to 43 members in three weeks! We are inspired by good mentors.”



 


Ryan Hoffman, a prospective member of the Route 66 chapter, recently visited a meeting and immediately sent a thank you note along with one of the most creative videos the chapter has ever received from a visitor.  Dr. Misner confirmed the video’s creativity saying, “This is the MOST creative video I’ve ever seen done by a prospective BNI member to a group.”

Since then, Ryan Hoffman has been accepted as a member.  Congratulations and welcome, Ryan!

Watch Ryan’s video here.



 


There was hardly a dry eye in the house when more than 200 small business owners and self-employed business people were surprised with good wishes and big red Christmas gift hampers – all donated, assembled, and packed by their comrades up and down New Zealand.

With Christchurch going through turbulent times, leaving many people in limbo, BNI New Zealand members (mostly SME owners and the self-employed) around the country banded together to pack the surprise Christmas hampers full of ‘love and goodies’ for their fellow members in the earthquake-struck city.

The initiative was coordinated, planned, and carried out by BNI Auckland Directors Mariska Mannes and Rosemary and Paul Meyer.

Mariska said, “BNI is about comradeship between members who do business by the mantra ‘Givers Gain’, and the surprise Christmas hampers are a great way to articulate that comradeship and that spirit of mutual support.”

Christchurch members, many teary-eyed, were clearly overwhelmed and touched by the gesture and, while there was hardly a dry eye in the house, there was certainly joy on every single face.

BNI Canterbury director, Sam Williamson, said people were very emotional. “Everybody was surprised; they had no idea whatsoever. I’ve had a huge number of messages from people with their thanks – many want to get in touch with whoever made their box, to pass on their thanks.

“It certainly lifted our spirits to know that people are thinking of us and that we haven’t been forgotten,” said Sam.

Mariska Mannes says she got the idea for the early Christmas surprise when talking to Kathryn Mountain, a member of BNI Epsom in Auckland, about how they felt quite helpless and unsure how to help people in Christchurch.

“Kathryn remarked that it would be nice to send them a Christmas hamper, and that really was how the idea got started.”

Julie Cunningham (BNI Hibiscus Coast Chapter) and Mariska Mannes drove a van across New Zealand to collect the hampers, with the road show culminating in Christchurch on Tuesday, November, 29, 2011, at the big breakfast in the city.



 


BNI Hungary has plenty of reason to celebrate.   This past year, 2011 was a year of unmatched success!

BNI Hungary reached 3.5 billion HUF extra income generated in BNI by our members, with the leading chapter (no. 301 with 44 members) generating 1.3 billion HUF alone. Compared to 2010, the average extra income per member doubled!



 


BNI Liège chapter recently decided to take advantage of a local tradition, Les Apérofestifs, to spread the BNI message and increase their visibility in the local community.

So what exactly are Les Apérofestifs?  They are a sort of local food fair where companies promote their gourmet products at chalet-style stands; it is an opportunity for people to sample local fare in a convivial atmosphere.  Open from noon until midnight over the course of four days and frequented by families and business people alike, there are also concerts, children’s games and social gatherings.

Equipped with brochures and a ‘pop-up’ for maximum impact, the 24 entrepreneurs from BNI Liège hosted a chalet at the Apérofestif, inviting over 100 partners, suppliers, and customers to visit and discover BNI.  Chapter President Michel Colleye said, “Participating in such events as the Apérofestifs is important to enable our chapter BNI Liège to become better known in the city.”



 


The New Zealand Red Cross acknowledged with a special plaque the contribution of BNI New Zealand and its thousands of members around the country who contributed to Christchurch Earthquake relief this year.

The generosity of New Zealand members has been extraordinary.

They donated approximately $62,294 – some donations were made by BNI members in their individual capacity; and many chapters also benefited from pulling together as a team to generate funds by organising charity events.

BNI New Zealand also added $5,000 to the earthquake fund. They further raised $8,500 by putting on a cabaret in Auckland, which was used to provide approved cash grants to BNI members who have been badly affected.

Some of the funds have also gone to funding guests’ first visits, as members focus on building up chapters again.



 


BNI Colombia proudly launched their second chapter and held a Visitor’s Day with over 225 visitors in attendance! Watch their videoto see for yourself; it was a very popular event.



 


BNI’s Wakefield City Business Group’s Andy Gardiner was recently awarded two coveted awards at the annual Deliciouslyorkshire Awards.  The Barnsley-based alcoholic drink producer, Boozy Infusions, was developed by Andy Gardiner.

The delicious and innovative range of Boozy Infusion after-dinner liqueurs wowed the judging panel, especially the Jamaican Ginger Cake infusion product; it was named the Best Drink 2011/2012 and awarded the Consumers Choice Award.

All this was possible because of a referral Andy received from a fellow BNI member which resulted in Boozy Infusions being sold in a farm shop in Malton near York. One of their customers happened to be the Chairman of the Deliciouslyorkshire organization.  When he tried the product, he was so impressed he had one of the staff from the shop contact Andy and suggest he enter the Deliciouslyorkshire Awards.

 


 


At 6:30am, Wednesday, December 1, 2010, many BNI members all over the world were travelling to their chapter meetings. However, the Croydon Foundation BNI chapter members were still in their pajamas, anxiously logging on to their computers.

Sixteen hours earlier, Chapter Director (President) Shabbir Halai (@Shabbirhalai) had decided to cancel Croydon’s meeting, due to a severe snowstorm. Member Maud Alleyene (@maudalleyne) responded with an email of historical significance: “Why don’t we hold the entire meeting on Twitter?”

And so, with a positive nod from Area Director Adele McLay, the #BNICroydon hashtag* was born.

The next 12 hours were busily filled with Shabbir converting his BNI script into tweet-friendly chronicles, Maud tutoring most members on setting up and using Twitter, and others perfecting their 60-Seconds (which had been changed to 120 seconds, to accommodate for typing time).

Maud and Shabbir also made the announcement on Twitter, inviting others to log on and observe this monumental meeting. Because this was a completely public forum, they saw it as yet another way to attract potential visitors and referrals. As BNI members re-tweeted the news, it spread throughout various countries, causing global excitement.

The Tweet Meet began at 7:10am with the tweeting of the rules. Fifteen members, two visitors, and many worldwide visitors logged on and watched the chapter meeting unfold in typical, BNI-structured form.

One of the invited visitors was Veronica Pullen (@VeronicaPullen), who is a new BNI member of the Redhill/Reigate chapter. She stated, “The media will be full of pessimism stating how much business has been lost nationwide as a result of the snow, so it will be great to show how this meeting bucked the trend.” You can see her blog about this meeting, in its entirety, here.

The Tweet Meet concluded with 15 members, 13 referrals, 4 testimonials, £4350 in the “Show Me the Money” Box and many wonderful comments:

“ . . . ‘Well done to all. A great BNI Tweeting and thanks for letting us join in from Ireland & the world!’ . . . ‘It’s fantastic to see people using social media to keep biz going when everyone else takes 2 bed!’ . . . ‘I’ve just taken part in a landmark BNI Tweet Meet with #bnicroydon’ . . . ‘Thinking of people I know in the area who I can send along to such a great chapter . . .”

TweetMeet is a great example of why Dr. Ivan Misner is fond of saying that the bottom line regarding face-to-face networking vs. online networking is that it shouldn’t be an “either-or” scenario; it should be a “both-and” scenario if you want to build a strong personal network.

If you haven’t already started taking advantage of all the opportunities social media networks present, there’s no better time than now to start.  After all, BNI Croydon has definitely taught us a lesson that online networking, combined with a little bit of ingenuity and forward thinking, can help solve challenges and create new possibilities!

Thanks to Jacquie Beardsworth, BNI Croydon chapter photographer, who captured this image at a subsequent meeting – after the snow had cleared!

*(a brief Twitter tutorial: When searching Twitter for a particular item, a hashtag, or “#” is widely used. By utilizing tweetdeck, the chapter members were able to have an area where all items with the #BNICroydon hashtag was typed. If you are thinking about starting up with a Twitter account, try searching our #BNI hashtag!)



 


In mid-November the Danish BNI chapter BNI Roskilde reached its goal of the year: 2010 referrals in the year 2010.

“Many of our chapter members are strong networkers. And judging by the large amount of referrals shared in 2009, we decided our referral goal for 2010—2010 referrals—would be within reach,” said Thomas Bolinius, chapter president at the time of the goal setting.

Some of the members blinked a couple of times, but everyone stood by the goal. In my experience, it’s a good idea to give everyone something to strive for.

Allan Jakobsen, the new chapter president, says chapter success is due to the combination of hard work and a good atmosphere.

He states, “We take the agenda very seriously, but at the same time we welcome funny comments. On average, every member brings a referral or a guest per meeting and we never lose focus on the core purpose of our meetings - to create more business for every member.”

Over the summer the chapter set up a gimmick that every member should create a business opportunity for at least five co-members. As a result the chapter handed out 106 referrals at the very first meeting after the summer leave.

This chapter will not rest on its laurels. This year the chapter received the Founder’s Award, given to the top ten percent of the BNI chapters worldwide. Søren Mortensen, regional director in BNI Denmark pictured here, was not surprised:

“I have followed the group ever since the beginning and witnessed them keeping up the good work throughout the years. The successive Leadership Teams have been very committed and managed to ‘do it by the book’ all the way.

“Of course there have been mistakes along the way, but they seem to have grown from the experience. After four years, the group attracts only people with the right networking attitude. No member is allowed to rest on his or her laurels. I congratulate BNI Roskilde on their success and hope it to be an inspiration to BNI members all over.”



 


At the International BNI Conference on Thursday, November 11, 2010, Beth Misner announced that the school the BNI-Misner Foundation helped to build in India requested help in building a third floor.  They needed $15,000 to build this space and accommodate the influx of students.   At that time Beth also announced that Ivan would match contributions up to $10,000.

At dinner on Friday, where my lovely wife Dorit and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary with good friends, I found out that an anonymous donation of $5000 was made and matched by Ivan.  Upon leaving dinner I went to the bar, and tried to raise as much money as I could.  With the help of Claudelle Johnson, I started asking people to open their hearts and their wallets.

I asked them, "How much would you like to see Ivan pay?" and reminded them of his generous matching gift.  It is true that I had to buy a few rounds of drinks in order to help pry the wallets open...but the donations started pouring in.

If they did not have cash, I asked them to take a business card (and yes BNI directors carry their business cards everywhere, even to the bar) and write on the back of it how much they would be willing to donate.  We put the donations in Claudelle’s trusting care to keep a running tally.  She announced as we went along how much money we had raised, encouraging people to give.  Within one hour we raised $6000.  The largest single donation was $1,000 - donated by Peter Hemmen representing Team Netherlands; the rest varied from $5 to $500.

On Saturday, Beth announced that we had raised a total of $21,000!  At the gala on Saturday night we discovered that another $5,000 had been donated.  With the addition of Ivan's matching gift, that is a grand total of $26,000 for the school.

Well done BNI directors! You have led by example.

Click here to read the Breaking News article about this fund raising effort for the Blue Bells School in Bangalore, India.



 


During a big networking event at the fabulous Polstjärnan Hall in Stockholm, on November 23, 2010, Sweden’s Networker of the Year was announced. The prize this year went to a young and very successful businesswoman, Isabella Löwengrip. Isabella won the prize from a field of more than 50 candidates. Among these were two famous businessmen, Sven Hagströmer and Johan Stael von Holstein; the car manufacturer Christian von Koenigsegg; and the CEO for SAAB Automobiles, Jan-Åke Jonsson.

Isabella became famous in Sweden when she started blogging as a 14-year-old girl.  Six years later, the blog has grown to be one of Sweden´s most visited, with more than 300,000 visitors per week. The election of Isabella as this year´s most prominent networker has resulted in a huge PR success for BNI Sweden with exposure in more than 30 different publications thus far. Among these was a long article in the famous daily business paper Dagens Industri, and on its website the article was the third most read that day!

Pictured here is our national director for Scandinavia, Gunnar Selheden, together with the jury and all the finalists in the competition.



 


On October 8, 2010, Finland’s Technopolis Vantaa chapter received a very different 10-Minute Presentation. One of the group members, Dr. Juha Lipponen of Innotiimi, used his presentation to help us generate ideas for creating more referrals and inviting more guests.

We used a unique derivative of brainstorming: Innotiimi’s OPERA method. Our group quickly produced a variety of useful ideas. Individual ideation, pair discussions, and short presentations were used in generating nearly 100 raw ideas for further processing.

The excitement and enthusiasm during the process was remarkable. Finally, 20 practical new ideas were selected by the members for active implementation in our chapter.

The ideation method described here is easy to apply, and can be a powerful tool for chapter meetings as well as Power Team meetings. Embracing Givers Gain, we shared the results of our work with all Finland chapters.

Since then, the ideas presented have spurred further ideation and discussions within BNI online communities in Finland. We wanted to share some of the very best ideas with the worldwide BNI community. Here are the top ideas generated:

  1. When you receive direct mail marketing, telemarketing, or email marketing from various service providers, “return the ball” and ask the sender to come visit your chapter meeting – with a message “Want to meet 20–40 potential clients and then connect to all of their networks? Come to see us all at the next Chapter meeting!”

  2. Ask your own contacts (customers or cooperation partners) if they have any change plans in their business or operations. Especially during changes, various services are often needed: recruitment, printing, training, web designer, etc. This will give you a natural way to mention the various services your BNI chapter members can offer.

  3. Keep a printed list of your chapter members with you all the time. This gives you a chance to mention that their particular professional specialty is not yet represented in your chapter.  Ask, “Are you interested in getting all these people to be your own ‘marketing department’?”

  4. Design and print a business card-size “mini brochure” for your BNI chapter—easy to carry around in your wallet and convenient to give.

  5. If applicable, give “free samples” of your services in your 1-to-1 meetings with your fellow members; personal experience will help generate referrals.




 


It has been a magical year for South Africa! Business has never been better for our members. Average chapter size has grown, and the number of new chapters currently about to open is exceptional. We feel a surge of growth and enthusiasm.

Our World Cup event was not only a national miracle for the people of South Africa and glorious event for the sports fans of the world, but it also bore fruit for BNI members in direct and indirect ways.

We were treated to a visit by Dr. Ivan Misner at our conference in East London. David Bullock, almost a local by now, and Sam Schwartz, who never fails us with his fertile ideas and ability to teach, also visited. Visitors to Facebook will see how much Beth Anderson and Andrew Webster enjoyed visiting us as well.

To top off the year, pictured here, two of our executive directors joined Mike Levin, our national director, at the amazing International Directors Conference.

Unbeknownst to any of them, Dr. Ivan Misner had chosen Ansie Nieuwenhuis and Butch Coetzee to receive two of the five Founder’s Awards. They were remembered by Dr. Misner, who visited the chapter last July, for their novel use of Dance Cards, which included South Africa’s now famous Vuvuzelas.



 


BNI Northern Region (Penang, Malaysia) had a successful regional conference on October 24, 2010, to celebrate their achievements and to promote BNI to the business community.

The event started at noon with a business expo where every chapter had a chance to showcase the products and services of their members. We were impressed by the creativity shown by BNI members in the decoration and set up of their business expo booths!

Next we had the business matching, during which 200+ BNI members and visitors ran around looking for leads for each other! It was rowdy, fun, and chaotic; the results were excellent for the bee hive game. During the second part of the business matching, everyone shared for three minutes what business they are in, and what sort of business they are looking for.

After that it was time to enjoy an evening of entertainments and awards. This year, most of the chapters volunteered to perform during the evening; we were entertained by the hidden talents of members. Some sang, some danced, some acted, and one even told intellectual jokes!

This year, no one knew the winner of the Chapter of the Year Award until it was announced at the gathering. It was a nail-biting experience for those chapters that thought they had a chance. Congratulations to BNI Powers chapter for winning the most coveted award in the region!

And to everyone else, thank you for your hard work and support to make the Northern Region Conference a successful event. (Check out the photos at http://on.fb.me/c0FEbq)



 


The first annual BNI Gold Club event was an incredible success.  We held this holiday networking event at the Tower Club (member of BNI Bigger Net Income) in downtown Springfield, Missouri.  In this video, executive director Scott Simon speaks of the value of being a Gold Club member. Congratulations to all BNI Gold Club members, both newly and previously awarded.

Executive directors Scott Simon and Teresa Simon did an incredible job putting this event together for all of our ambassadors, assistant directors, and Gold Club members.  After listening to Scott speak on this video, maybe we could award twice as many next year.

Not sure what it means to be a Gold Club (Black Badge) member? Click here for Mike Tobin’s explaination.



 


The Britannia chapter, which meets each week in Staffordshire, has generated their targeted £1million worth of business between its members through referrals over the last 12 month. In so doing, they won “Best in UK and Ireland” status.

The 38 members have also passed over 9300 referrals, ranking them the best in England, Scotland, and Ireland—better than more than 634 other chapters over the last six month period.

A recent visitor day event, which attracted more than 20 local companies, boosted the chapter member numbers higher than they’ve ever been before.

Director Mark Meredith said, “I am very proud and privileged to be the director of Britannia. Local business people have proved that, if we have the right attitude, Stoke-on-Trent business can be world-beaters.

“But you know our chapter is just one of 13 others in Staffordshire & Shropshire, and I know of four new groups that are just forming. The opportunity for business people to work together to grow their business is increasing.

“The diversity, talent, and commitment of our 38 members have ensured our success. I would encourage any business to come along and take a look at us.”

Carl Evans, executive director at BNI Staffordshire & Shropshire and managing director at Cartridge World Stoke-on-Trent, said, “The economic conditions today are challenging for most businesses, and every opportunity to get support is vital. BNI’s proven systems offer local business people the opportunity work together to bring prosperity and jobs to Staffordshire and Shropshire.

“I don’t know of anywhere else where business people actively support one another in a spirit of mutual generosity to improve their business and grow as individuals.”



 

Five Members with Their Guests Sent on the BNI New Orleans Trip

San Diego BNI saw the region enthusiastically support this year’s Membership Extravaganza.  The region added 253 new members to local chapter rosters. Seventeen of the 38 local chapters qualified for the drawing for the five all-expense paid trips for two to New Orleans. In order to qualify a chapter had to induct at least six new members. It was noteworthy that five chapters added more than ten new members during the membership drive.

One of the New Orleans trip winners, Andy Cruz, wrote to thank executive director Kathryn Lodal, saying, “Jenn and I have never taken a vacation, just the two of us.  We had a fabulous time.  By hearing Dr. Misner speak, my wife got to see a side of BNI that she had not experienced.  It was very educational and encouraging.  Both of us left with lots of ideas and motivation to return home and do great things in our community. A million thanks for a wonderful trip and BNI experience.”

In addition Andy commented that he invited his friends to help them in business and forgot all about the incentive of the trip.  He just wanted to help them.  “That is truly a Givers Gain member,” said Kathryn.



 


My name is Tony Kuo with VideoNameTag.com.  This year’s 2010 BNI International Conference was phenomenal for our company’s growth.  In a single day, I met with over 25 international directors and about a dozen U.S. directors.

I was able to increase my product awareness to businesses around the world in a single session of networking and began talks of distribution with countries such as Brazil, Portugal, Africa, Hungary, France as well as South America and various regions of the U.K. The conference provided a portal for me to access markets normally too far and too foreign for me.

At the conference, I didn’t desperately run around shaking hands with important-looking figures.  I was referred!

I owe an incredible debt of gratitude to Jeremy Ball of Mr. Miniblind (Rancho Cucamonga, CA).  He is a networking guru. He was able to give me not 10, not 20, but a whopping 75 Tier Two referrals in a single day!

And these weren’t weak referrals.  They were qualified by him.  As much attention as my product can draw on its own, it was no match for the almighty referral.

Jeremy spent nearly the entire day as my appointment manager and spoke nothing of his business.  He truly lives out Givers Gain.

I myself am inspired to give more without asking for anything back.  At this year’s International Conference, I have truly experienced BNI’s “Local Business- Global Network!”

See also...www.videonametag.com. As seen on MSNBC, KTLA.)



 


My name is Andrew David, and I own a floor cleaning and restoration company in Central Florida. We are members of ethicalservices.com and platinum members of Joe Polish's Piranha Marketing.

Like many business owners, we were looking for a way to get more clients and expand our network without spending much more for marketing than we already were. BNI was the key to making that happen for us in 2010.

I have spoken to a number of owners who say they don't have time to network and that it doesn't work. I agree with them. It won't work on its own.

You need to work it.

I have put time into building relationships with business owners and helping them in every way I can. I share some of the ideas and wisdom I learn, and I help them understand BNI better. This has created a tremendous return for us.

In October I had the opportunity to share some of how I have leveraged BNI with some of the top cleaners and entrepreneurs in the country at Piranha's Cash Creation Conference. Here is a video of what happened. Watch. It is proof that networking works!

Click here to watch the video.



 


About two years ago I joined a BNI chapter that was about an hour drive from my home and met at 8 a.m. on Thursdays. The early mornings were just one of many challenges.

Before BNI, I was outgoing but afraid to speak in front of a group—and this chapter had some 48 or so members. I whispered my name for the first few weeks, but as time went on I learned many things: the importance of structure, accountability, how to give and receive while inspiring others to grow their businesses.

I’m humbled and honored to be a member of BNI. I even was recently awarded a Black Badge! The philosophy, foundations, and principles have taught me character and a walk of honor and integrity. I want to thank BNI for changing my life and my business.

(Don’t know what a Black Badge is?  Click here to read a great article from BNI Missouri/Southern Illinois.)



 


A few weeks ago, I was at a Rotary meeting with Mike Cannady from BNI Lee’s Summit Elite.  I mentioned to him I was hoping to make enough money to get an office.  He offered to let me have one in his building—for free!   This will provide me with a place to meet clients and work each day without distraction.   By getting rid of the home office, I am also able to give my children back one of the bedrooms, so they no longer have to share.

Then, I received another boost through the generosity of another BNI contact:   I spoke to Steve Modrcin from Zona Rosa at a recent meeting about my desire to teach somewhere like he does.  He later emailed me and offered to forward my resume to one of the deans.  This spurred me into action.  I got my resume updated and wrote a cover letter—something I’ve put off for a long time.  Even if I don’t get a job offer, this will make me prepared for the next opportunity. Strangely enough, writing my resume gave me some much-needed confidence.

In addition to those “big” things, I have made some special friends through BNI.  I have been a member of BNI for almost a year.  Last year at this time, I was working for someone else, homeschooling one of my children, and enjoying my role as a stay-at-home mom.  I had no idea that in November 2010 I would be a single mom of four, running my own business, and putting my learning disabled child in school.  One change is big…but three are impossible to fathom.   And, let’s just say this is not exactly the vision I had for myself.

However, in spite of the pain, the givers of BNI have given me hope and a vision for a future.  I am not on this journey alone.  My hope is that I can give back a portion of what I have been given.  I really don’t know if that is possible, because what I have received is priceless.



 


Recently, I had the fortune to attend member success training. I took with me a new member from Cheshire Oaks.

That day, a person in the audience asked why the door prize is called such. To be honest, no one knew. Here is what I have and I hope you can fill in the blanks:

The term "door prize" originated in the United States in 1884. No etymology per se is given for its origin other than it was a marketing strategy, but it seems straightforward enough: anyone in attendance at the event (i.e., anyone who had come in the door) had a chance to win the prize.

This term found popularity between 1950-1955 and related to a prize awarded at a dance, party, or the like, either by chance through a drawing or as a reward, as for having the best costume.

When I was a BNI member in the United States we used to meet in a coffee shop and the person who gave the 10-Minutes got the coffee for the attendees. So anyone who came through the door got a prize of a free cup of coffee. However, here in the UK only members who have contributed get the chance of the prize.

I am interested in anyone else can shine any light on this matter. And what does your chapter do for a door prize?

Post your reply below.



 


Liz Goodheart (pictured in the center with BNI Elite members) is a member of BNI Money Makers in Warwick, RI. In early November, she visited England. Before she left, she contacted BNI Elite in London, inquiring if she could attend one of their meetings. They could not have been more gracious. They made her feel right at home.

Liz said that now she personally knows that BNI is global and that her time with BNI Elite added to her experience in England.



 


I hosted a get-together for my clients and business network based on the recommendation of Ivan Misner’s BNI Podcast Working by Referral.”

I am a regular listener of the BNI Podcast. In my first year of business, I received 99 percent of my orders through references or word-of-mouth. If you are interested in arranging a client get together, you can contact me for more details and suggestions based upon my experience. I can be reached at sachinworking@gmail.com.



 


Jack Canfield, author of the best-selling book, The Success Principles, and Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, is holding his second annual Train the Trainer program starting this February.

If you’ve ever considered speaking or training as a profession, Jack’s program is an absolute must for your resume.

Throughout the year, Jack doesn’t just teach you how to deliver his principles of success, he teaches you how to tap into your own unique abilities as a trainer and deliver your message in a powerful way.  His promise is that by the end of the entire yearlong training, each and every student will have the ability to present 3 full days of information to any size group or organization.

Click here for more information.



 


What matters most to you in life? The vast majority of people answer this question with one word: Love. Yet so many of us tend to put our hearts to the side when we walk through the door of “Money and Work.”

Doing the research for my latest book, Love for No Reason, I interviewed experts on love: more than 150 people including scientists, psychologists, spiritual teachers, and people whose lives are rich in the qualities of the heart. What they told me is that true success comes when you bring your heart—and its love—to your workplace, whether it’s a corporate boardroom, office cubicle, retail store, or restaurant.

One of them, aromatherapist and author Allison Stillman, told me a remarkable story about following her heart’s lead at work:

In 1998 a friend of mine who was starting a litigation software company approached me and asked if I would work with him. I’d always been a heart person and didn’t know anything about software technology or litigation, but he convinced me that my people skills would be an asset. So I set my aromatherapy practice aside for a time and dove in.

After a steep learning curve, I became the marketing director of the company. For the next six years, I traveled to corporate boardrooms and some of the largest law offices in the country, meeting the power players in the world of corporate law. Still, I let my heart lead the way. I saw each encounter as an opportunity to find the deeper human qualities in everyone I met and to connect from that level.

In the sixth year of my marketing career, the CEO of my company accepted an infusion of cash from an investment banking firm to take the company to the next level. To safeguard their investment, the banking firm sent one of their executives to work with us. The executive, whose favorite description of herself was “bitter and twisted,” spent the next few months following me around and learning the business.

Then one Friday at 5 pm, she called me into her office. “Allison,” she said, “I’ve been observing you for four months now and I’ve never seen anything like it. Your sales team, senior management, your clients, the support staff—everyone loves you! Clearly, your priority has been keeping this lovefest going and it’s worked.

“Well, today is the day that ends. I need you to take that same energy you’ve given to cultivating relationships and direct it to the bottom line. Can I count on you to do that?”

It took a nanosecond for my heart to inform me, “It’s over.” But I only said, “Let me think about it over the weekend, and let’s talk about it on Monday.”

Over the weekend, my mind catalogued all the reasons that I needed this job. I’d just bought a new house; I had car payments and bills that required a salary. I had stock options, health insurance. But it didn’t matter . . . I knew I couldn’t leave my heart out of my work.

On Monday morning I walked into the executive’s office and gave her my notice. I stayed to train my successor and then followed my heart’s promptings out the door, where my life unfolded in wonderful ways I could never have imagined. I found part-time consulting work—which led me to meet the man who would later become my husband—resumed my aromatherapy anointing practice, and wrote and published a book. Today I am rich in all the ways that matter to me.

The company however, didn’t fare quite as well. Ms. Bitter and Twisted’s “bottom line first” campaign effectively removed the heart of the business, and over the next two years, the company died a slow and painful death. It’s what happens when you take the heart out of any living organism.

To bring more heart to your own work life, make a point to look for “the person behind the persona” of everyone you meet. The next time you walk into a meeting with a new client, look around his or her office to spot clues about what matters to this person: photos of family members, pets, trophies, artwork, magazines—anything personal. Then ask a genuine question about it and watch the response. If the person smiles or their face softens, you know you’ve found their heart.

The key to experiencing more Love for No Reason is to remember we’re people first—and businesspeople second.

By Marci Shimoff. Adapted from Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love (Free Press, December 2010). Love for No Reason offers a breakthrough approach to experiencing a lasting state of unconditional love—the kind of love that doesn't depend on another person, situation, or romantic partner, and that you can access at any time and in any circumstance. This is the key to lasting joy and fulfillment in life. To order Love for No Reason and get free bonus gifts, go to www.TheLoveBook.com. Follow Marci on Twitter @Marci_Shimoff.



 

Gain the momentum—and never stop.

BNI Wagga Wagga is the only BNI chapter in the Riverina area of New South Wales, Australia.  When we started Fast Track in April of 2010, we hadn’t recovered from a dip that left us with 13 members. Today, we are pushing 25. Our dance cards have increased, closed business is up, and we have more visitors. It’s critical to point out that a focussed effort from a wonderful group of people has given our chapter new life.

Our situation reminds me of a story I once heard about momentum.  In the 1800s, an old man was standing at a new railway station watching the steam engine starting up. He muttered to his companion, “They’ll never get it started.” Then the whistle blew, the engine began to edge forward and pick up speed, and the old man said, “They’ll never get it stopped.”

BNI Wagga Wagga is at that point. The Fast Track program can be best summed up by the message I recently sent to the chapter:

The Fast Track CDs are awesome! Talk about having Ivan sitting in the car chatting away with you. Two of the stories and concepts I heard I actually used today with a visitor who managed to cover every possible question a potential new member is thinking about. Anyway, I felt like I was Ivan Misner sitting there talking to him!

If you haven't managed to get the Fast Track CDs into your CD player, you are missing out. I am looking for excuses to make car trips so I can listen again.

Ivan’s message goes far beyond BNI. I know the learning I’m getting will benefit me in other areas as well.

The CDs are like MSP on steroids, and Ivan's stories support the information and give it power. I have to say my favourite story so far is about 'Nordy' - see if you agree.


There was positive feedback from many members, including this one from a long-time chapter member:

I am a 10-year member, and Fast Track is just fantastic. If only we had this ten years ago, I’m sure we would have had far more members stick around for longer. It gives you years of learning the BNI process in a few hours. People don’t have to figure it out for themselves and risk missing the importance of Givers Gain. They figure it out sooner, start applying the fundamentals, and get results sooner. The information is so valuable.

There you have it: When you combine Fast Track principles with an excited few (no matter how few) doing all they can to make it happen, success is inevitable. It’s so exciting. We couldn’t stop the momentum if we tried.

For more information on the Fast Track Program, go to www.delfuego.com/bni.



 

   

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