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

 

Learn More to Earn More!

DollarsWhat do the most successful people you know have in common?  Probably this: They have built a network of contacts that provides support, information, and business referrals. They have mastered the art and science of networking, and business flows their way almost as a matter of course.

Don’t be misled by all the networking hype: It’s not the number of contacts you make that’s important—it’s the ones you turn into lasting relationships. There’s quite a difference. Try making ten cold calls and introducing yourself. Okay, how well did that go?  Didn’t go well?  Then try my simple plan for networking success in 2014.

To get started: Create a list of 25 new clients you are targeting for 2014.  I’m in the process of doing this myself.

Now, call ten people you already know and trust.  Tell them you’re implementing a marketing plan for the coming year, and that you would appreciate any help they could provide in the form of either a referral or new business.  Share with them the top 25 list you created.  They will likely know someone on the list or they will know a related business. Better results than the ten cold calls, right? Of course! You already have a relationship with these folks, and depending upon how deep it is, most of them should be glad to help you.

So here’s the question: How can you deepen the relationships with people you already know to the point where they might be willing to help you out in the future?  Here are three quick steps to get you moving in the right direction.

1.     Give your clients a personal call. Find out how things went with the project you were involved in. Ask if there’s anything else you can do to help.

2.     Make personal calls to all the people who have helped you or referred business to you in the past year.  Ask them how things are going. Try to learn more about their current activities so you can refer business to them.  Remember “Givers Gain.”

3.     Put together a hit list of 50 people you’d like to stay in touch with this year. Include anyone who has given you business in the last 12 months (from steps 1 and 2) as well as any other prospects you’ve connected with recently.  Make it a goal to reach out to one or two of these people each week.   If they’re past clients or people you’ve talked to before, let them know you are actively growing your business and could use their help.  How can they help?  Ask them for a referral.  If they’re prospects, perhaps you can set up an appointment to have coffee and find out if their plans might include using your services. See how easy that was. After a few weeks, you’ll have more than enough social capital and business to tap into for the rest of the year.

This is one simple idea that can have a huge impact.

BIG Announcement!  We are launching Networking Like a Pro All Stars as a advanced training program for BNI members!

Have you had the following questions?

  • How do I get more referrals?
  • How do I become more connected in the BNI community?
  • How do I move to green on the Member Traffic Lights?
  • How do I make more money using the BNI system?
  • How do I work less, make more and have fun doing it?
  • How do I become a well connected business person and never make another cold call?

Announcing our new and improved Advanced Training based on my bestselling book, Networking Like a Pro!  We are providing this to members with a discount of more than 50% off.  The members only price is $45.00 per module.  Register now, we are limiting registrations to 25 students so we can have plenty of personal interaction.  To sign up visit www.nlpallstars.com. You can also go to the regional event calender on www.bnisoutheast.com/events.php and search for Advanced Training in March.  All participants will get a complimentary autographed copy of the book!

These are a few testimonials from past students of our  training programs:

“The results have been fantastic. The year after I completed that program my BNI generated business more than doubled from $15,000 to $36,000. Please bear in mind our average sale is $300. Last year the total was $67,000. Through September of this year my total BNI business is over $67,000 and we still have the last quarter to go. BNI supplies over 60% of my business.”

Walter Willson, Charlotte NC

“I have increased my networking to the point where my revenue has gone up at least 50% while completing this course. It was amazing to uncover the simple steps which helped increase my business and my bottom line tremendously.”

          Derek Sutton, Atlanta, Georgia

“David Alexander has changed my life.  David proceeded to lead a lively discussion about the goose and the golden eggs.  It was a turning point in the way I market my business and ask for referrals.  The very next day, I got three referrals, and one of them was the person I had named!  I could not believe it.  Since then, I continue to ask for, and receive, referrals to my referral sources.  That has helped me build relationships with several realtors who continue to refer their clients to me.  Talk about a recession buster!  Those referrals are golden!”

Patty Chakales, Asheville, NC

 

“I found myself attending any number of networking events and a large stack of business cards with little prospect value. The past 7 weeks participating in the “Networking Like A Pro” training class has been a game changer for my business and as a result, my life…….I have participated in several training sessions during my 30 year career covering a myriad of topics. I cannot think of one which will have a greater, positive impact upon my future than this session.”

Jim Clark, Atlanta, GA

 

Choose powerfully, join us for this training.  I believe in the power of this program so much that I will personally guarantee it.  If you register for the full program and attend all the classes, you can receive your money back if you do not grow your business as a result.

See you in class,

David Alexander–Executive Director

 

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

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