In preparation to attending a BNI event we strongly advise you to bring along plenty of business cards to give out to fellow members. You never know what opportunities arise and what new faces will walk through the door. However you have to remember the point of networking is not to hand out as many business cards as you can. You need invest time into build a relationship with members and not only introduce yourself, but also listen to what they do, after all if they are going to refer you they will be looking for you to reciprocate the gesture. The idea of providing business prospects with business cards is merely a way to give them a way of contacting you. It is also a more personable approach that is more helpful for them to remember your name and business
It is fundamental to ensure you prepare how you want to deliver yourself and your business to others at the event after all you are looking to leave a great lasting impression. You will want to be able to describe your business as an exciting prospect, but in a succinct way so members are able to refer your business with ease. Go in with a decisive mindset knowing what referral you want and who you would like to meet.
Appearance can help members perceive the kind of individual you are so it is always good practice to ensure you dress in a professional way showing you mean business and are ready to network. It can also be a good idea to add something to your outfit that makes you stand out such as an statement tie or carry a nice folder or notebook. Doing this can give members something to remember you by and might also be a trigger to start a conversation.
Being part of a power team means you are part of a group of related professionals that work with the same clients but do not take business away from each other. In a successful BNI chapter you find six or more power team with around seven members per team.
The key to success is to surround yourself with circles who talk regularly about the type of clients you are looking to have on board as clients, but one thing you need to remember is that givers gain is pivotal to networking. You can’t expect others in your chapter to always refer business to you if you can’t reciprocate the any referrals back to them.
For this reason it’s important to get to know your chapter members as it allows you to start finding business for your members. The more they know you as a person, the more likely they are to refer business to you and have trust in both you and your business. Don’t stop there go that extra mile to find ways to help your fellow members outside of your business setting you never know who could be a potential referral for your chapter members if they express interest in their business.
When you attend a networking event introducing yourself and your business to everyone you speak to can be the key to your success. As the saying goes it's not what you know, but who you know’ therefore you never know who they might know and what opportunities they may bring your way. Whilst doing this make sure you are emotive, passionate and express your personality, after all your passion will connote motivation and drive to do well.
Don’t forget not only is it a great way to chat about your own business and who you are, but it is also a approach which allows you to listen to your other members, getting to know what they like and who they are. This will help build a good working relationships, but also a good sense of trust as they will only be comfortable sending referrals your way if they can rely on you.
Now you have spread the word about yourself and your business it is important to continue leveraging relationships to ensure you stay in touch and follow up, if you don’t someone else will. Find out how people found the event, whether they want to visit again or if they require any more information.