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Thursday, September 23, 2010

BNI: TRUST is the Key to Referrals

Being a successful businessperson today requires trust. It’s vital that your business partners, those whom you work with the most, (and the best sources for referrals for you) trust you so as to refer you when the opportunity arises.

Trust is built through relationships and relationships are built through trust. There is no magic formula for building trust, but there are ways to practice the art of networking to build your relationships and hence trust among your business partners. It’s hard work being an honest sincere networker, but the benefits are tremendous. Networking builds trust and with trust comes referrals but you have to be willing to promote others to have them appreciate you, trust you and refer you.

Remember giving a referral is to always put your reputation on the line when you recommend someone.

If the transaction from a referral you’ve given goes south those two may never do business again nor even speak to each other again, but you may hear about the bad experience, and perhaps damage a personal or business relationship you may have worked hard to build.

One business organization that practices referral business is Business Network International. With over 125, 000 members worldwide in over 5800 chapters in over 43 different countries, BNI is the fastest growing networking organization in the world. 6.2 million referrals in 2009 totaling 2.6 billion dollars U.S.

BNI’s motto is “Giver’s Gain”, which simply means if you give of your time, talent and energies, it will be returned to you. This process is done through BNI chapters in local communities. Each chapter meets once a week and is composed of like minded business people only allows one person per professional specialty. a potential member is screened before joining with an emphasis on ethical business practices and personal conduct.

Each member becomes an expert on every member’s business, essentially becoming part of there sales force. An average BNI chapter is @ 30 people. Who can afford a 30 man sales force?

Every week each member is allowed a 1 minute infomercial or training session in which a member can train their “sales force” on how to look for referrals for their business and what a good referral would be for them.

Meeting as a chapter once a week, and meeting with other chapter members throughout the week helps build relationships and trust which increase the likelihood of giving and receiving referrals.

Trust is the key, If they don’t trust you they won’t introduce you, or recommend you, or even think of you.

Alan Seaton is a consultant in Northern California for CPR, First Aid, AED,Forklift and Defensive Driving training. He has been an Area Director for Business Network International (BNI) for 4 years in the BNI Central Valley region of California.

With over 5,500 active chapters, and over 100,000 members throughout every populated continent worldwide, BNI is the largest and most successful business referral organization in the world. BNI was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner and the organization, which allows only one person from each profession to join a chapter, offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts, and most importantly, referrals. Last year alone, members of BNI passed 6.2 million referrals, generating 2.6 billion dollars’ worth of business.

For more information on BNI, please visit or call BNI Headquarters at 909.608.7575.

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