Is Your Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

glass half fullI know this saying is a bit cliché, but what a difference your point of view makes.  Displaying a positive and supportive attitude in business is so incredibly important.  Seeing the world as full of opportunity is a true marker of successful people.  In BNI we feel it is so important that we even include it as a part of our Code of Ethics.  Recently, I experienced a significant delay on an international flight. In fact, the Captain said he had not experienced this cause for delay in over 10 years.  While the crew and most of the passengers were patient, the gentleman behind me became belligerent to the point of frustrating the crew and all the passengers around him.  I’m pretty sure he came close to being thrown off the plane.  I asked the First Officer if it was common to have to deal with people like that.  Sadly, he said it was but that life was too short to let it bother him.  He said his job was to get people to their destination safely and that he would let nothing deter him from that mission.  He went on to say that he would always prefer to deal with a maintenance issue on the ground versus 38,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean.  Proper maintenance can insure optimum performance whether on a plane or running a business.

Life comes at you fast and speed bumps will appear in your path.  Change is a part of life and when you embrace change it can become a very relevant and positive part.  In business change keeps us relevant; however, any successful business will still embrace its traditions and fundamentals even as it changes.  BNI has gone through many changes in the last couple of years, the largest of which is the transition to BNIConnect and using online slips.  These changes are designed to do only one thing:  help members make more money.  We have over 160, 000 members in over 6,500 chapters around the world.  Last year our average member made over $38,000 in closed, referred business and that’s a record.

For our organization to continue to be the best in the world, just like the pilot, we have to “deal with a few maintenance issues” from time to time.  I recently re-read part of a book called Good to Great by Jim Collins.  The book is about how good companies become great.  Let’s apply some of his strategies to good chapters and help them become great ones.  In the way of a summary, I am providing a few bullet points below and have oriented them toward BNI:

  • Put your best people in leadership roles and have them focus on the biggest opportunities, not the biggest problems.
  • See what is essential and relevant to the mission of helping members make more money.
  • Embrace a culture of discipline and the proven systems of BNI.
  • Technology creates breakthroughs, but only if we embrace it.  BNIConnect is driving referred business to new levels around the globe.
  • BNI Leadership teams and chapters need to be fanatically driven to produce sustainable results.
  • Leaders are plow horses, not show horses.  Doing the work is more important than talking about it.
  • Accountability to the Member Traffic Lights drives business.

Lastly, setting off on the path to greatness requires confronting the brutal facts of current reality.  If your chapter does not have over 50 members making on average of over $100,000 in member profit a year, then the brutal fact is that the chapter can do better.  It is time to do a little maintenance.  If your chapter is not producing that kind of results, then let’s confront it and change.  BNI has the systems, tools, processes, and programs to help chapters achieve this kind of success.  Many chapters do achieve it.  What we need are leaders who are willing to do the work, who believe in Givers Gain, and who are deeply passionate about creating success for others.

We are currently bringing on new leadership teams to be trained in September, 2014. These teams will lead the chapters over the next year.  Do you have what it takes to fulfill a leadership role in your chapter?  Is your glass half full?  Can you embrace the vision?  Are you willing to do the work to make your chapter one of the best in the region?  Do you embrace the Good to Great mentality or are you like the guy sitting behind me in the airplane who was detracting from everyone’s success? Be a part of the team that takes your chapter to the next level.  Interested?  Have a conversation with your Director and together let’s “Change The Way The World Does Business”.

Network Powerfully,
David Alexander

 

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler (Let the good times roll!)

I had the great opportunity this summer to speak at the French National BNI Conference in June 2013.  No, I don’t speak French, well, not yet at least.  They were kind enough to host an English only session.  While there, I was asked a few times how BNI has changed over the years.  I have been involved in BNI for 18 years, but BNI started in France only 8 years ago.  This really got me to thinking about the opportunities BNI provides now versus 28 years ago or even 18 years ago.  So, I have created a list and checked it twice.

In the first 10 years, members had the following opportunities:

  • A Weekly Meeting
  • Referrals
  • 60 Second Presentations
  • 10 Minute Presentations
  • A Local Network

 

This is a pretty short list, right?  However, this basic program allowed for incredible success and thousands of people plugged in.

Now, let’s look at what BNI has to offer today:  over 6,000 chapters and over 150,000 members later.

  • A Weekly Meeting
  • One to One Meeting Planner
  • Referrals
  • Member Goal Program
  • 60 Second Presentations
  • Chapter Goal Program
  • 10 Minute Presentations
  • TYFCB Program
  • Member Success Program Basic
  • Member Success Program Advanced
  • BNI Connect
  • Regional Websites
  • BNI.com
  • BNI.org, Our Foundation
  • Chapter Websites
  • Powerteam Program
  • Fast Track Program
  • SuccessNet Online Magazine
  • Global Network
  • Local Network
  • Networking Cafe
  • Chapter Traffic Lights
  • Member Webinars
  • Leadership Training
  • Chapter Educational Units
  • Weekly Podcast
  • Educational Coordinator
  • Mentoring Coordinator
  • 16 Books on Networking
  • Networking Like a Pro—my favorite book

All this is to say that BNI is truly second to none, not only here, but around the world. Members can plug into everything listed above and experience unparalleled success.   This is one of the many reasons that BNI members Make More Money, Realize Quicker Sales, and have Amazing ROI in BNI as compared to other networking groups.  Remember, the secret to success is not a secret. It is hard work. If you want to truly take your business to the next level and have a dynamite referral marketing plan, plug in a little deeper to BNI.

By the way, if there are some items on this list that you are interested in learning more about, connect with your Director. They are a valuable resource.  Life is good and full of opportunities.  If you want to increase your referrals and get more business, get plugged into more of what is available to you.  BNI does more training on Referral Marketing than any other organization in the world and it is all available to you through your membership.  I challenge you to become one of the many members making over $100,000 a year in BNI.

Let the good times roll,

David Alexander

Executive Director

ROI for BNI Members

In our two previous newsletters, we discussed studies and surveys that confirm what we already know about the first 2 of  3 points.

1.Members get more referrals in BNI.

2.Members realize quicker sales in BNI.

3.Members receive an amazing ROI in BNI.

Now, let’s talk about the third point:  Members receive an amazing ROI in BNI.

According to a European survey done by the Murray Consultancy, the average amount of closed business from direct referrals and including 2nd and 3rd generation referrals equaled $54,720.00 a year.  Importantly, the survey also found that the longer someone was a member, the more substantial (on average) was the ROI for his or her participation. On average, members who were involved in BNI for 7 years generated $383,038.00 since they joined thereby underpinning the lifetime value of BNI.

So what is the ROI for our local chapters in Georgia and North Carolina for 2012?  The results are impressive.  Our members averaged $29,822.00 in closed business which is $855.00 per referral and our members received an average of 35 referrals each!  WOW!  Note: this is only first generation referrals!

Beginning in 2012, we set a goal to have 20 chapters reach over one million in closed business in 2012.  We were real close.  My personal congratulations goes out to the following million dollar chapters with special recognition going to the Ballantine Business Network that broke $5 million in business for their members.  AMAZING!

  • Athens Referral Factory
  • Macon’s 1st
  • Catawba Valley Business Builders
  • Ballantine Business Network
  • Mint Hill Breakfast Champions
  • Old English Networkers
  • Southpark Producers
  • Lexington Founders
  • Moore County Business
  • Top Producers
  • Clarity Corporate Connections

We have 11 more chapters that generated over $750,000 and 6 of those were over $900,000.  WOW, what a year!  Let’s blow the 2012 goal of  20 chapters with a million dollars closed business out of the water for 2013!

What’s your ROI!  I would like to know.

 

Opportunity abounds,

David Alexander

Executive Director

 

BNI Members Get More Referrals

I was at a recent BNI National Conference and one of the studies I heard about confirmed what I already knew. People in BNI get more referrals, quicker sales, and amazing ROI (Return on Investment) in BNI!

In a recent survey of BNI members in one region of Europe, we discovered that six millionaires were created from the referrals they received through BNI. WOW! At Leadership Training in North Carolina, a member told me about one referral that was over one million dollars in value. I believe BNI has made millionaires everywhere.

Hearing these stories got me thinking about the ROI members can get when they commit to participate. Commit to participate being the key.

1. Members get more referrals in BNI.
2. Members realize quicker sales in BNI.
3. Members receive an amazing ROI in BNI.

I’m going to talk about each point over the next few newsletters. Let’s explore the first point.

Members get more referrals in BNI:

Last year BNI members passed 6.9 million referrals. This is an amazing number and it really makes me feel that we are achieving our vision of “changing the way the world does business.” That’s an average of over 45 referrals per member per year. I don’t know of any other system that costs as little as BNI that has a “ROI” that large. I believe there are some big reasons for this and it comes down to some of BNI’s core philosophies and the amazing business people who are members. One of these philosophies is training. BNI is the only networking organization that I am aware of that offers a very in-depth educational program as a part of the membership. Below is a partial list of programs available to members: Leadership Training, Member Success Program, Advanced Training, Webinars, Podcast, Newsletters, Blogs, CD’s, Books etc. I believe that this educational system is second to none and this is one of many reasons BNI members get more referrals than members of other organizations. As our year is winding down, make a commitment to plug into more of the educational programs BNI offers. This simple choice will help you get more referrals.

Happy Networking,
David Alexander

September Networking Times by David Alexander

I was sitting on my porch this morning, enjoying the nip in the air, and I was reminded that Fall is getting near. This has been a terrific year. I’m hearing great stories of people hitting their goals and of businesses improving. This is wonderful news. One of my goals this year is to have 20 of our local chapters break the $1,000,000 in referred business mark.

It’s the beginning of August as I write this letter, and we already have eight chapters that have reached this milestone and several more that are close. Join me in recognizing these awesome chapters:

With an average membership of 35 members, these eight chapters have generated close to $15,000,000 in referred business. Those members, on average, are making $52,000 each so far this year! Wow, what a “return on investment!” The key to this success is great leadership.

We are in the middle of one of the most important things we do in the Fall of every year. That vital activity is Basic Leadership Training for our new chapter leadership teams. BNI worldwide provides over 300,000 person hours of leadership training for over 6,000 chapters. This training happens in September each year and is a catalyst for chapter and member success. The chapters above are so successful because they have a vision; they have goals and a roadmap to hit those goals. Leadership Training helps put all this in place.

Effective leadership is key to a successful chapter. If you want your chapter to be on this list, then make sure to really embrace your new leadership team, and even jump on a committee to help out. This will really take your BNI experience to the next level.

Here’s to our success,
David Alexander—BNI Executive Director

July Networking Times by David Alexander

Discipline: 4: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character—Webster Dictionary

Summer is here and I have a quick question. Do you have the discipline to make 2012 your best year ever? Fortunately, you have your BNI team to make it happen.

I recently received a letter from a former member complaining about his experience in BNI and how the organization did not work for him. He was not renewing his membership. In my 15 years in BNI I have not received very many of these so I had my Support Services Director check it out. Guess what we found, poor attendance, few one to ones, unprepared 60 second and 10-minute presentations. The chapter’s membership committee and leadership team had repeatedly reached out to this individual to help him to no avail.

So what was the problem? He did not have the discipline to commit to BNI. Were he still a member, my question to him would be, “What changed since you made the commitment to be a part of BNI?” There is no other organization that has the structure, commitment or educational programming that BNI does. If you have the discipline to commit BNI, you can generate a six-figure income as a result like thousands of members do. Start by making your presentations amazing, doing more one to ones focused on the other person and aggressively looking for referrals for one another. You have a built-in sales team of 20, 30, or even 70 people. Let’s train our sales team to be the best in town.

Last issue I shared one of our regional goals, which is having 20 chapters out of the 100 or so we manage break the million-dollar mark this year. I’m happy to report as I’m writing this we are well on our way with seven chapters already accomplishing this. WOW!! The really impressive part is we are almost half way there in the first 5 months. I am going to publish the names of all the million-dollar chapters next issue. It will be a pretty big list I’m sure.

Here’s to our success,
David Alexander—BNI Executive Director

March Networking Times article by David Gray Alexander

We are well on our way into the New Year! Congratulations are in order because we are all way ahead of our goals, right? I have a question for you. How’s it going? Well actually a few questions. Are you hitting your goals? Did you stick with your resolutions? Do you have the DISCIPLINE to implement your marketing plan or did you listen to that little voice inside of you head that let’s you off the hook.

Discipline is an interesting concept. I recently did a 30-day exercise challenge that was inspired by a great friend and business associate of mine, Doug Grady the President of High Achievers Network. I quit on day three; actually I gave myself an out of doing two workouts the next day. I shared this with Doug and it led to a two-hour conversation about me not having the discipline to follow through with my commitments. This was a very painful, yet very powerful conversation. He helped me develop an awareness of when I might not follow through with something and “Do It Anyway”.

My request of you is to find the discipline, the drive, and the determination to hit your goals and follow through on your commitments. Getting more referrals is all about the amount of high trust relationships you have in place. Every positive action you take and every ball you drop has an impact on rather or not people will be willing to refer business to you. Lets all have the discipline and focus to create more business opportunities for each other.

If you are struggling with making your goals and resolutions happen, and we all do, I have a few ideas. Form an accountability group within your chapter. Hire a business coach (if you don’t have one in your chapter call me and I will refer you to Russ Young an awesome coach). Find a mentor. Plug into more opportunities with BNI. Check out our strategic alliance partner www.HighAchievers.com.

Remember to visit www.BNISoutheast.com for upcoming events and also to connect to other BNI members around your city and the world. Be sure and register for our Networking Redefined Advanced Training/Networking events. They will be amazing.

By the way, are you interested in Doug’s Blog discussing that little voice that lets us off the hook, you can find it here? http://highachieversnetwork.com/high-achievers-network/voice

Here’s to our success,
David Alexander—BNI Executive Director

P.S. My 30 day challenge update. I restarted it and completed it. It took a lot of discipline, several midnight workouts and even making time on a business trip that took me to another country. The results are incredible.

New BNI Social Media Tool Works!

If you are a BNI member, have you registered and logged into the new BNIConnect Global system? If you ask Terri Bianchini of the Loganville Referral Pros if it’s worth your time or not, her answer will be a resounding yes! Terri is a real estate agent with Chapman Hall Realtors. A BNI member in Indiana found her through our new system that allows members to connect with every other BNI member worldwide. The Indiana member referred to her a couple that plans to move to Atlanta, and wala! Terri has a new client.

In addition to allowing BNI members to network via social media features such as friend connections, recommendations and groups, BNIConnect Global also powers our website viewed by visitors, www.BNISoutheast.com as well as individual chapter websites. To view a great example of how a completed profile is viewed by a visitor, click here and check out Glen Coleman’s page.

If you are a BNI member and have already logged in, that’s great! Please go online and complete your profile as fully as possible, including your GAINs and TOPs info. If you have had trouble logging in or have not received your registration email, please contact your chapter director as soon as possible for assistance.

BNIConnect Global is a powerful social media networking tool and an awesome benefit of your membership. Please take advantage of this opportunity starting today!

Bonus Learning Event Added to IND

We are excited to see you at the upcoming BNI International Networking Day March 24! It promises to be an extraordinary day. We hope you will join us after IND for Superior Selling with Doug Grady, brought to you by BNI.

BNI and High Achievers Network are offering an exclusive opportunity for you to attend Doug Grady’s Superior Selling seminar for just $69! (tickets are normally $199).  This seminar will be offered at the Gwinnett Civic Center, following International Networking Day.  IND lasts most of the day on Thursday and the Superior Selling event will begin with networking and refreshments at 5:30, followed by the presentation from 6:30 – 9:30 pm.

If you haven’t yet purchased your International Networking Day ticket, you can save on both events by registering through High Achievers Network and get admission to both for only $99.  Remember, your IND ticket includes lunch!

Doug Grady is President of High Achievers Network. For over 16 years, Doug has been engaging audiences from coast to coast with his wit and wisdom. Exciting, entertaining and enlightening are words invariably used to describe his unique seminars and workshops.

“Business development can be boiled down into two critical components. How do we find bigger and better prospects and what do we do with them when we find them? This program will provide you solid, proven yet innovative strategies to turn your best prospects into your best clients. You will learn to augment standard selling strategies with non-traditional personal marketing and creative communication.”

You will learn how to:

• Avoid the SALES KILLERS
• READ people
• Book yourself solid
• Triple your referrals
• Increase your closing ratio by 38%

Here are your ticket options:

Option 1: $69 for The Superior Selling seminar with Doug Grady register now!

Option 2: $99 for IND+ The Superior Selling Seminar register now!

Option 3: $36 for IND only register now!

Option 4: Do absolutely nothing (not recommended)

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, March 24th for a jam packed day full of education and networking that  will help put more profit in your pocket in 2011!

Three Way Tie Again

The Winston Salem BNI Top Producers are again our top chapter in North Carolina for the month of December. How do they do it? One factor is that they are averaging slight more than one referral per week, per member. With 45 members in their chapter, that is a lot of referrals!

In Charlotte, the BNI Referral Champions moved up into 2nd place and prove that you don’t have to be a huge chapter to have success. Their secret? Lots of visitors, averaging 4 per week!

Third place is a three-way tie between Lexington Founders, North Charlotte Cornelius Action Alliance and Charlotte Mint Hill Breakfast Champions.

Thanks to all of these chapters for their outstanding performance and also to the Directors who support them: Diane Michael and Sybil Melton!