Tag Archives: referral institute

Learn Somthing New

If you are not growing you are dying! Part of growing is the act of learning something new, consistently.   So, let me ask you, what are you learning that is new right now?

I am an avid seeker of knowledge, I hated school and wasted a scholarship, but I love to learn.  It is my goal to learn something new all the time, this year it is Spanish.

I have decided to learn Spanish,  so I am hosting Spanish Classes in my Referral Institute training center.   I invited several hundred people to join me in learning Spanish.  I figure there is this whole population of people whom I cannot network with effectively and that means I am losing business to people who can connect with them.  I thought other business people would feel the same way, but that has not been the case.  Of the 600 people I invited to participate, only 10 showed up to learn.

What a pity, what an opportunity loss.  It is so vital that we find new markets, new networks, new connectors and influencers and new ways of doing business.  Still no one was interested in this opportunity to expand their knowledge and their businesses.

Those same people who spent so much time telling me they could not afford the time, or the money are the very same people who will tell me six months from now, that they don’t have any business, or business is slow.

If you are going to stay in business, you need to learn something new, like Social Networking, Web 2.0, Spanish, how to get in front of more prospects or how to close more deals.  Because those who are learning will out perform you and your customers might become theirs.

Unfortunately,  many business people spend more time telling me what they can’t do instead of finding ways to figure out what they can do.

Now is not the time to pull back on investing in yourself, your company and your staff.  Now more than ever it is important to learn something new!  Money and time invested in yourself and your team is always money well spent.


Collaboration between Networking Organizations Benefit All


For years many of the Chambers of Commerce have considered BNI their competitor and in Indiana many people believed that Rainmakers and BNI were competitors, yesterday with Rave reviews from vendors, attendees, and speakers alike that myth has been busted.

Yesterday, Feb 5th, 2009 was the very First Int’l Networking Week Event in Indianapolis.  BNI, Rainmakers, Rainmaker University and Referral Institute went together to plan this event and attract other networking organizations to Collaborate with us.

The team of Lorraine Ball, Tony Sandlin, Hazel Walker and Nikki Lewallen whipped this event together like pros recruiting other organizations and getting people in the door. This team put the event together in less than six weeks bring groups together from all over the state.

International Networking Week proves that GIVERS GAIN works not only  individually but with organizations as well.  We had representatives from Confluence, Rainmakers, The Lawrence Chamber, The Bloomington Chamber, Toastmaster, Business Ownership Initiative, BPE and many more.  When organizations compete less and collaborate more the MEMBERS WIN!!!!

Next year the  event will double in size and in the years to come it will continue to grow and collaborate with even more organizations until it becomes the best Networking Event in the State of Indiana.

Get out of Your Comfort Zone

So I am at a Referral Institute/BNI Conference here in Wisconsin,  listening to Coach G’s Program.  He said something that really struck me and caused me to take a look at my activities in the last few months.  He talked about getting out of our comfort zone.  And I thought wow, I have really been in my comfort zone lately. 

How many of you are Networking in your Comfort Zone?  You go to the same meetings, you meet the same people, you collect the same cards, use the same elevator speech, and ask for the same business in the same way.  You are in your comfort zone, not stretching, not growing.

To grow professionally and  to grow your network more effectively you must get uncomfortable. Do those things that make you stretch.

Go to an associations meeting, a training or a networking event that you have never attended before. Learn something new.  Meet new people, meet people who might know something that you do not know, spend money on a training program and meet others who are learning the same thing as you are.  I am amazed how often our students in Referral Institute strike up relationships that turn to great business relationship because they are in the 12 week program and learn together.

Get uncomfortable!  If you are not uncomfortable you are not growing, if you are not growing your are dying.

Your Reputation and Networking

What can/does networking do for your professional reputation?

By “professional reputation”, I mean how people view you as a professional both in the meeting room and outside the office. Your integrity, respect, intelligence, and impact on those around you. When you network through LinkedIn, how can professional networking relate to all these areas?

Networking creates visibility for you, people know who you are and have a face to put with a name.  Quality networking can indeed enhance your reputation and create credibility for you.  Poor networking can create a different reputation.  People who drink to much, people who pitch and pressure others about their product or service and people who show up in person with a very poor professional image, create a whole different reputation, not the one they may have wanted. 


There is a person on Linkedin who consistently puts stupid, trying to be funny,  answers to peoples questions, he thinks he is cute, many others think very differently, so he has a reputation, it just may not be the one he wants. 


Online or in person, it is very important to mind your manners, behave professionally, don’t be a know it all, participate, answer questions intelligently, follow up with people, become known as someone who does what they say and always Give before asking to Get.  You will be well respected, thought of as someone who is intelligent and connected.  You will be someone that others want to be linked to. 


My friend Scott Allen wrote a book called “The Virtual Handshake”  it is a great resource for people who want to network online.  Dr Ivan Misner founder of BNI and the Referral Institue has written many great books on Networking and how to build credibility with your network. 

Contacts, Referral Sources, and Referral Partners

What is the difference between a contact, a referral source, and a referral partner?  Do you know?  What is not knowing costing you?

There is a clear distinction between the three and most of the people out there networking today are working with contacts and referral sources, few have referral partners.  What would you business look like today if you had 5 people completely trained to send you level 14 referrals and up? It is possible.

Dan, Craig, Lloyd, and Aaron started out as contacts in each others database, then they became referral sources and happily began working with one each other.  Craig decided to take it up a notch, he convinced each of the others to attended a Referral Institute Program where they were trained to be referral partners for each other.  What is the big difference, referral partners are trained to generate pro-active referrals for their partners.  The Referral Institute, taught them to be partners and took them up a level.  Today, they work for each other in a pro-active manner!

Mine is bigger than yours……..

There is a great deal of pride in the size of a man’s, er, uhm well, you know, their network or at least the number of people in their database.  But, isn’t there an old saying about it’s not about how big it is but more about how…….um, well how well you know the people in your network?

Quality not quantity, visibility networking over credibility networking.  When you work in your network, building relationships, following up with people finding ways that you can help them and connect them you are building a stronger, more credible network.

Recently, I wanted to meet a certain person who’s name will not be mentioned.  I began to ask my network, who had this person in their network and could they connect me.  Keep in mind, for me a connection is either a face to face introduction or a conference phone call where all three parties are on the call.  More than half my network had his name and number in their network, but only 2 people were able to pick up the phone and arrange a meeting and introduction and both of those people were willing to make that happen for me.    Only 2 people really knew the person I was looking for………so what good were the others?  What value is there in having a name and phone number in your network if you have not done anything to turn it into a relationship.

Take time to develop your network, not just grow your network.  Take the time to build Credibility, in so doing, it will lead to Profitability!

I had taken the time to build strong relationships with the 2 people who were willing to connect me, they were in my highly credible network and I was in theirs, so they did not hesitate to make the connection for me.   By the way, the 2 people who were able to connect me, theirs were not the biggest.

Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places

 Do you remember the old country western song about the guy going from place to place lookin for love? “I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, lookin’ for love in too many places.”

Frankly, this should be the theme song for many of the business professionals running from networking event to networking event. Unfortunately, it is a poor way to find love and an even worse way to find good referral partners.

 Many business people spend their time attending one networking event after another, looking for leads, prospects and connections. Collecting cards, adding names to their Rolodex, their mailing list and their email list. They repeat this activity over and over again because it’s the best plan they have.

 Before you go to your next networking event, make a plan. Here are a few things you may want to think about before you head out the door:

  • Set 3 Goals you want to achieve at this networking event?
  • Who is your target market and will they be at this event?

  • Who are your best referral sources and how will attending this event help them?

  • What is your follow up system after the event?

  • What activities will you use to build trust with your network?

  • What activities will you use to give to your network?

Instead of looking for new people to build referral relationships with, take a look at who you already network with. Maybe your time would be better spent digging deeper into your existing network and building stronger relationships instead of adding additional people to your network.

Love takes time, so does building a strong network of people who will refer business to you regularly. Before you walk out the door to do more networking make a plan, you may find that the love your lookin for is already in your network.