Pass 5 referrals next month, guaranteed, using these simple techniques
Think you can't pass enough referrals to be in BNI®? Think again.
BNI® is based on the notion that Givers Gain; that the best way to get referrals to your business is to build relationships by giving referrals to your BNI® partners.
So, it’s not surprising that many BNI® members worry more about giving enough referrals than getting them. "When it comes to giving referrals, how am I doing?" is a question we often ask ourselves.
Identifying good referrals for your BNI® partners is not easy but there are certain steps you can take to create a sustainable process that will improve over time.
The first is to complete your BNI® bio sheet well ahead of the 121 meeting. Your bio sheet is designed to educate your fellow BNI® members on your products or services and help train them as if they were your sales force.
Another technique to generate referrals is to ask your 121 partner to share their calendar for the week ahead. Once you see who they have appointments with, why they are meeting with that person, and what they hope to achieve at that meeting, you’ll have a better idea of the kind of referrals that will be valuable. When you share your calendar, your BNI® partner will have the same opportunity to become more educated on your behalf.
Learning what your BNI® partner is looking for in a referral requires most of all that you be a good listener, an active listener. Simply put: Do less speaking and more listening, especially if you have extended the invitation for the 121.
Ask your partner about a business challenge they are facing or a problem that needs to be solved, and if the circumstances allow, use phrases like, "I know someone who can get that done" or “I know someone who can solve that problem.” Ask open-ended questions by using phrases like “describe for me,” “tell me about,” and “give me an example of.” Limit questions that lead to “yes” or “no” answers.
One of the best ways to get people to open up is to open up yourself. Share a problem you have had and ask your 121 partners if they have ever had a similar experience.
Always carry at least three business cards of each person in your BNI® network so they are available to pass along if the need arises. Telling someone you know a person who can help them and will get them that information later is not nearly as compelling as providing the information on the spot.
The most successful BNI® members, when it comes to giving referrals, are pro-active. They actively seek out referrals on behalf of fellow members.
Opportunities for passive referrals come up when we hear of someone asking for a service or product and we recommend a fellow member. We hear someone complaining, bragging or planning, and a fellow BNI® member comes to mind.
Pro-Active referring usually involves members who are working with clients who have similar needs. Someone starting a new business or building a house needs a lot of different services represented in a BNI® group. If you have such a client, you can help them and your fellow BNI® members by asking questions that lead to red-hot referrals.