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Monday, April 04, 2011

“Networking is Child’s Play” – Networking Tips for Parents Everywhere | BNI

As a parent you are in one of the best positions to grow your business and increase sales. How? Your children, have one of the most fantastic networks, which is largely untapped by even the best networker out there!

Your son or daughter’s network consists of the parents of every child with whom they attend a crèche, nursery, kindergarten or school with. For the average class size, that would be 30 children and a network of 60 parents. If you work on the basis that these parents in turn know 500+ people each then your child has a network of 30,000+ contacts. And that’s just for one child!

Many of these parents are working in companies and quite possibly are in your target market. But how many other parents do you really know? How many of them do you really have a deep relationship with, to the point where they would refer business to you? For most busy parents, it’s a quick hello or goodbye at the school gates at home time or a fleeting wave as you pass by dashing to collect your kids.

But imagine as a business owner, that you took time to really work this network. I am a mother of 2 gorgeous children, Oscar who is 4 and Maya who is nearly 2. Both of them attend a crèche 4 days per week. I recently attended the 4th birthday party of a little boy called Senan, one of Oscar’s friends. Senan’s parents chose a large activity centre to host the event, which was fantastic. As a result, most parents dropped off their kids and disappeared for a couple of hours of well-earned peace!

As a well trained networker, I decided to stay, and build relationships with the parents of Senan and a couple of other parents at the party. Within 2 hours I had established that Senan’s Dad was potentially one of the best sources of referrals for my business and I also discovered that I could really help him too. The following week he came as my guest to my BNI chapter, and we have arranged a follow up meeting. He identified that he could help me with 4 out of my top 20 dream client list. He has since done business with 4 people in my local BNI chapter, and I now have some business for him. All this from a children’s birthday party!

Your children, as well as giving you massive joy and pleasure, are also a wealth of contacts, opportunities and huge networks. I only recently started to think about other parents in this way, as Oscar is fast approaching his 1st day of school this September. From now on I will really work his network, as well as my own and look forward to seeing how this progresses with Maya too in the years to come.

Networking is child’s play if:

· You attend children Birthday Parties and stay to build relationships

· You host children’s parties at your house

· You get involved in School Committees and Parent/Teacher Associations

· You get to know the Teachers and decision makers in the School

· You arrange play dates for your children with others

It is worth the time investment in building relationships with other parents, whether they are working or not. After all, you already have common ground... your children.

We already know all of the people we need to know to help us get more business. Without realizing it your children could be the source of new referrals that you had never even thought of before. Networking is child’s play. Play with your children more and get to know who they know.

About Samantha Rathling:

Samantha Rathling, is an inspirational and dynamic entrepreneur, who has built her recruitment business by building relationships and learning the art of networking. Considered an expert in networking and word of mouth marketing, Samantha now speaks on the topic internationally, sharing her success story which has motivated and inspired many business owners to follow in her footsteps.

As a key member of the BNI European Training Team and as an Area Director for BNI in Ireland South & West, she is responsible for the helping business owners to become more successful through referral marketing. Samantha lives and breathes “Givers Gain” in every aspect of life and work.

Since arriving in Ireland in 2005, Samantha has taken her business, from start-up in a home office, to become one of the fastest growing recruitment companies in Ireland. Expect Talent generated sales in excess of €1.8million in 2010, and the company is set to double sales and profits again in 2011. Samantha now employs 10 permanent staff, and over 300 contract staff annually. When she arrived in Ireland 6 years ago she knew one person – her husband.

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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