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If you have ever heard a presentation from BNI Regional Director Steve Gambino, you already know that there is one promise in BNI:

If You Don't do One-to-Ones You Will FAIL

One of the first questions a new or prospective member asks when coming to BNI for the first time is “How am I going to give referrals to people whom I don’t know or trust yet? And why would they refer me?” The easy answer is, they wouldn’t and you probably won’t either – at least, if you don’t do one to ones.

The secret behind BNI is that our membership has developed a unique and powerful structured environment for developing positive business relationships.  Every rule – from the format- to the attendance policy was developed by BNI Chapters that proved their methods’ successes. The result? Billions of Dollars in referrals world-wide.

Why are one-to-ones so important in BNI?

“So Why are One-to-Ones so Important?”

I’m so glad you asked. BNI is not a quick fix or diet pill for business relationships. Like anywhere else – strong, positive relationships matter if you want to do well in business and create evangelists for your brand. We might improve our visibility to members by speaking for 45-60 seconds each morning about our ideal referrals… or even develop the beginnings of a friendship through open networking during the beginning of the meeting – but a One-to-One is where the true referral relationships begin.

“Do I really have to do One-to-Ones? Like- really? I am pretty busy…”
“Do I really have to do One-to-Ones? Like- really? I am pretty busy…”

Yes. When you join a BNI Chapter, you are making a commitment to work the BNI system to grow your business, and simultaneously, develop a stronger chapter for the rest of the membership.  What this means is that each of the members present are ready, willing, and able to take time out of their schedule to meet with you and learn more about your Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks & Skills. (or G.A.I.N.S as we call it in BNI)

"What if I only do one-to-ones with my Power-Team? That’s cool, right?"

"What if I only do one-to-ones with my Power-Team? That’s cool, right?"

Your power team is possibly the single most important asset you will have in BNI- but it is only one of many. There will inevitably be a few members whose target markets match your own so precisely that you will do more business with them than anyone in the group. That being said- it is important to realize that no matter the size of the chapter you have joined- your chapter is truly only as large as the number of members you have done one-to-ones with. Our stats have shown us time and time again that when a chapter doubles in size -  the number of referrals in the chapter quadruple. Would you be willing to trade a few extra hours over a cup of coffee each week to quadruple your number of referrals? By doing One-to-ones, with as many members as possible, you are growing the size of your personal chapter.

"Okay, I get it. If I don’t do one to ones – I will fail. But how can I make sure it’s worth my time?"

"Okay, I get it. If I don’t do one to ones – I will fail. But how can I make sure it’s worth my time?"

There are a lot of dos and don’ts for a productive one-to-one. Many of these are outlined in the MSP (Member Success Program) Manual, and many more resources are available. I suggest reaching out to your mentor, mentor coordinator, or educational coordinator for tips. For more great tips on productive one-to-ones, read : “Kicking Ass and Taking GAINS: How to do a One to One in BNI”

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