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Sunday, January 23, 2011

BNI: In the Details

A friend complained that his employee turnover was too high for his liking. He felt he ran a fair business, treated people well and paid them competitively. So why couldn’t he keep his workers for the long term? After a lunch visit, his wife actually made the suggestion to spruce up the place. He had a small manufacturing plant which he had started over 25 years ago; he still had the original canary wall paint with matted and worn industrial carpet which showed the cement floor in several places. The fact was his business was drab looking and depressing and it needed a change. He decided to invest in a light makeover; added fresh bright paint, new carpet and a few fixtures to bring things to the current decade. The result? He hasn’t had anyone quit in 9 months and he has actually noticed his salaried employees working an average of 3.2 hours more per week.

Why such a change? Because the success of a business, project or even a relationship is often dependent on the little things you do that can seem unimportant at the time. Why is a loving note on your wife’s dresser considered so thoughtful? Why does the furniture where you work affect your work ethic? Why is a simple follow-up call to a new contact so impactful? Because all these “touches” and seemingly insignificant nuances make a statement about how much you care. How much you care, cherish or esteem the other person or people around you establishes the relationship or rapport you will have with them. Dress sloppy at your next business meeting and you are sending a clear message that you don’t care much about them or yourself. In the long term, they are not going to care about you or support you in any way.

You have taken the time, made the effort and carefully planned your endeavor. You run around meeting clients, networking with like-minded professionals and making decisions on product line, marketing and operations. The big chunks of effort are there, you’re doing them but what about the details that really make the difference. After all, in business, we try to do everything possible to make a positive impact.

Here are a few things to consider:

- Does your dress impress? Do other similar professions have a code you follow or do you set the standard? Be well groomed, modest and current with your clothing.

- Do you personally follow-up call your best clients and referral partners? People forget easily and to stay top of mind you have to show you care.

- When someone refers you or a client gives you a big project; do you say ‘thank you’ in a thoughtful and memorable way? Thank you emails don’t quite make the cut here. Sending a note, gift card, an engraved token or even movie tickets will help you be remembered when you are showing your appreciation. Be creative yet sincere.

- Keep your office tidy and wash your car. What impression were you left with when you visited someone’s office and it was a shambles or had a sales rep take you for lunch and the car had pet hair and gum wrappers scattered around? Your environment tells a story about you and people love telling stories – make sure they retell yours in the most positive light possible.

Lester Salvatierra is a Finance Broker and Director of First U.S. Finance ( He helps small to mid-size companies get the money they need to lease or finance new equipment and special projects. He is also a BNI Area Director in Ventura County, CA. Ph: 805-217-9896

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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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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