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Remember – you could be sitting next to a champion of business

by Graham Southwell

We don’t blow our trumpets a lot, but with the Rugby World Cup victory it’s important to recognise that New Zealanders are champions in many different fields. In sports of course, but also in science, the arts and business. Here at BNI it’s vital to remember that you could be sitting next to a champion of business.

A champion of business may be an expert in their field or have in-depth knowledge and experience in their area of industry. And they could be sitting next to you – or be presenting at your weekly meetings. Tapping into their knowledge by actively listening and engaging with them is a key benefit of belonging to BNI that all members need to keep front of mind.

BNI isn’t just about referrals; it’s also about Givers Gain and sharing knowledge. Be proactive in meetings and take the opportunity to engage with your fellow members – learning about what is happening in their world means that you can share this knowledge with your clients. This can directly benefit your business by adding value to interactions with customers.

So how can you do this?

  • Use breaks to chat with members that perhaps you don’t know so well. Find out what’s happening in their industry and if they have any information that might relate to your business.
  • Schedule one to ones regularly. Make sure that you are developing deeper networks in your chapter by taking the time to tap into members’ expertise during longer one to one sessions.
  • Plan to do someone else’s 60 seconds (some chapters already do this). Put everyone’s name into a hat and then pick a name randomly. Next week do their 60 seconds. This may require a little more preparation and discussion with the member but it’s a fantastic way to gain a deeper knowledge of the businesses in your chapter – improving your network significantly.

One of our members who knows the value of engagement and who is seeing the results of this is Judy Steiner from BNI Hawkes Bay. Judy was recently recognised with multiple awards including Individual Adviser of the Year at Mortgage Link’s 21st Annual Conference in Queenstown. Judy puts much of her success down to the relationships she has developed at BNI.

Judy’s high CATS score indicates her commitment to BNI and what she has given to her chapter. From 90 members in the Hawkes Bay she has the highest CATS score of 209, best in the area. This score takes into account everything we do at BNI; one to ones, visitors, thank you for closed business, attendance and referrals. It’s clear that Judy’s engagement at BNI has led to great things for her business – givers really do gain. Up your engagement with your own business champions at BNI and success will follow.

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