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Kicking Ass & Taking GAINS

Why is BNI the largest and most successful referral organization in the world, anyway? Well, it certainly isn’t the continental breakfast (though some of our chapters enjoy a really nice spread.) It’s not because everyone who joins BNI just happens to be a natural-born networker. BNI has something that no other organization offers- an environment for building trust.

You will find there are many useful acronyms in BNI - but there is one that absolutely has to go in chronological order. This is the process of VCP or Visbility → Credibility → Profitability.  Those who try to skip over the steps in this process often find another initial in VCP. In the words of BNI founder Ivan Misner - there is in fact an I that comes into the VCP process when you do this known as Irritability.  No one wants to be asked for favors or be sold to in a networking meeting.

So How do I Reach Profitability with My BNI Members?

So How do I Reach “Profitability” with my fellow BNI Members?

By Kicking Ass and Taking G.A.I.N.S, of course. New around here? GAINS stands for Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks and Skills – and BNI’s GAINS Exchanges are vital to the development of strong and effective, referral partner relationships. You can find the GAINS Sheet in your MSP manual – I suggest printing a ton of copies and keeping them with you for filling out during your one to ones – and you can keep your own GAINS profile filled out at BNI Connect.

A One-to-One helps to build your visibility with the members (They know who you are and what you do.) A truly productive One-to-One improves your credibility. (They know who you are, what you do, and that you're good at it.) Finally, often over periods of time and through consistent effort, you build rapport, trust, and ultimately, profitability - the point at which people are willing to take action in order to help you.

Why Are GAINS Profiles Effective in Networking

“Because I said so.” –No? Okay. I can do better than that. Let’s break it down:

GOALS - BNI GAINS Exchange

One of the most important aspects of the GAINS profile is the list of Goals. BNI brings business people together  to form mutually beneficial relationships that help us reach our goals. It makes sense, really that the individuals in those referral relationships know just what those goals are. Unlike dreams and aspirations, goals are measurable. When setting goals and sharing them with your referral partners, be sure to include the date by which you wish to achieve this goal in order to separate it from a dream.

These goals can be financial, business, educational, and personal objectives you want or need to meet for yourself and for people who are important to you – But more importantly, as you learn about the goals of your referral partners, you will better be able to help those people reach their goals. Givers Gain in BNI and knowing how to be of benefit to your fellow members will always benefit you in the end.

Accomplishments - BNI GAINS Profile

Knowing the accomplishments of your referral partners is very important in being able to get those individuals referrals – and having a list of our accomplishments offers the same benefit. One of the main objectives of a productive BNI One-to-One is to move from visibility toward credibility. Providing our referral partners with a list of our accomplishments not only serves as another opportunity to connect with or improve credibility with that referral partner, but gives them something they can relate to those they might refer to you.

Interests- BNI GAINS Profile

I suspect that the acronym might’ve read “IGANS” but for its pleasant ring. Remember – the GAINS exchange does not have to be a transactional process dictated by the spreadsheet. The natural flow of conversation can cover all of these topics, and interests tend to be the easiest to begin with. Moreover, sharing our interests often has the most profound effect on your one-to-ones. People build rapport based on their overlapping interests, and are more able to introduce you to others if they know the areas where you might relate to them.

Networks- BNI GAINS Profile

“Someone you know knows someone you need,” and it is important to know who knows whom. All of our networks may be important to our fellow members – whether formal or informal. Are you involved in; community programs, Chamber of commerce, rotary, school board, church group, book club? Make a thorough list of the groups you come in contact with regularly and with whom you have connections and be sure to share these contacts with your referral partners in order to identify potential referrals.

Skills - BNI GAINS Profile

Take stock of your referral partners’ assets. What are their greatest talents and abilities? Are they a master in some area? Knowing these aspects of your fellow BNI members is a key in being able to identify referrals.  But here’s a tip- Your professional skills are not the only assets you might share with your fellow members. Important introductions can be made based on any number of synchronicities. The better you know your fellow members- the better you can identify opportunities for a referral.

How Often Should I do a GAINS Exchange?
How Often Should I do a GAINS Exchange?

Given that your referral partners have a pulse, there’s a good chance that some things have changed since your last GAINS exchange. Whether we have reached our goals and developed new ones, experienced family or lifestyle changes, found new networks, acquired new skills, awards or recognition of some kind or joined new organizations - chances are - your referral partners can help you a great deal more if they have current information to work with. Not every One-to-One has to be a formal GAINS exchange - but at least one O-2-O every 6 months with each member should consist of a thorough overview of each of these key items.

We'd love to showcase you, your business, and your experience with the GAINS Exchange.

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