Home » BNI Core Values Video #3 – Building Relationships

BNI Core Values Video #3 – Building Relationships

by Ivan Misner

Building Relationships – Core Values Video #3 Transcript – By Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI

Hi, I’m Dr Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI and today I want to talk about: building relationships.

This is the second core value for BNI. Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.  Effective networking is all about cultivating good relationships. Make it your goal to conduct one to ones, with as many members of your group as you can. This will enable you to get to know them and develop a professional relationship with them quicker. Relationships in BNI, while based on shared business interests often turn into friendships. Members maintain these relationships over many years.


This is a core value that makes BNI such a strong, effective network. The combination of doing business and building professional relationships makes that work. I’ve done a lot of research over the years on the subject of networking and I’ve discovered that those people who are more relational in there networking, versus transactional in there networking, tend to do much better. Networking is not a face to face cold calling opportunity. Instead it’s about a process of getting to know, like, and trust someone. You know the old adage it’s not what you know it’s who you know. Well I believe that it’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s how well you know each other that counts.

Relationships are part of the fabric of the development of your social capital. Social capital is similar to financial capital in a very important respect. To amass financial capital you have to invest and grow your assets. You have to have money in the bank before you make a withdrawal. Referral relationships are very much the same you must really invest in the relationship if you ever expect to make a withdrawal. When you give a referral, you give a little bit of your reputation away. If you give a good referral, you can enhance your reputation, but if you give a bad referral, you can hurt your reputation.

People want to give referrals to people they trust. Therefore it takes time to build credibility with people for them to feel comfortable referring you to their best clients. Networking is not a get rich quick scheme. It is however a fantastic way to build long term relationships that lead to ongoing referrals and increased business. I have seen this for decades now, the longer you stay in BNI, the stronger the relationships and most importantly the more likely you are to generate more and more referrals.

An important element of this core value, is to understand that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When you show people in BNI that you care about their success and you’re there to help them this cements the relationship. When you have strong relationships you are much more likely to get ongoing referrals. I had a long discussion with a networking expert a few years ago and we had a fundamental disagreement about this concept. He argued that networking was all about the numbers. The more connections you had the better the networker you were. I don’t really agree with that, yes the number of people in your network is important but in the bigger scheme of things, I don’t think networking is as much a numbers game as it is a people puzzle. It’s about people having the trust to connect others effectively.

Here’s another way to look at it, it’s not about contacts, it’s about connections. I may have thousands of names in my data base, but the real question is, how many can I reach and ask for a favour where they would say yes. That’s a core value in BNI. Building connections and relationships. Knowing that you have built a strong enough relationship with your fellow members that your confident that they will want to help you.

This has been the Building Relationships video in the BNI core value series. Please take a few minutes to hear about the next core value for BNI: Lifelong Learning.

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