The word network means: connections, veins, web and I like to say it means pipes. What do I mean by pipes? I am in the water restoration business; pipes to me mean water pipes. Picture a big hot water heater connected to a supply of fresh water. The pipes go through-out the building, they are connecting all the sinks, toilets, bathtubs, water softeners, refrigerator, and icemaker, all connected to the supply pipe from the city and finally going into a hot water heater. If I asked you what was in the pipes, I hope you would say water!
What is in your network? Do you have a social network? Do you have a political network? Do you have a religious network? Do you have a philanthropic network? I think all these networks are awesome. We should be involved with all of these. Do you have a network with your industry, that would be a knowledge based network, as business owners we should be involved in our industry network.
BNI is a referral network. Referrals are in the pipes! You could call it referral marketing. I like to say it like this: I use referrals as a tool to market my business. I think for a business owner referral marketing is the best network. I believe that BNI is the best referral marketing organization. I call it the five connections of referrals.
Connection 1: I want to help my customer or contact by giving them a referral. Referral means to introduce someone to an expert in their field. When I give a referral to my customers or my contact, I help them meet their needs in a way I could not do except through a referral.
Connection 2: When I give a referral to my customer or contact to my referral partner, I help my referral partner receive a new client that they would not have received except through a referral. This is what BNI calls “Givers Gain!” “Givers gain” to me, means; creating a three way win. My customer or contact wins because they have their needs met through the power of a referral. My referral partner wins because they have a new customer that they would not have had except through the power of a referral. I win because I have two people that absolutely love me and want to give me referrals! The more experts I meet and trust, the more I can help my customers and contacts.
Connection 3: When I meet a business, in whose category I do not already have as a referral partner, I can refer my customers and contacts to them. I refer to them to help my customers and contacts and I also help my business because my customers and contacts are happy and I now have a new referral partner. I use referrals as a recruiting tool to attract new referral partners.
Connection 4: I refer my referral partners to my new referral partners or the professions I am recruiting. My referral partners need stuff, so if I meet someone new that can meet their needs, it makes my referral partners happy plus it allows me to recruit new referral partners.
Connection 5: I refer my new recruitment referral partners to my seasoned referral partners. I ask my new recruitment referral partners, what it is that they need? Then I refer them to my seasoned referral partners.
Connection 6 out of 5: I have customers and contacts that are always thinking of me to help them and I have seasoned referral partners that love me for sending them new clients and I have new referral partners that appreciate my new business and referrals. I become a resource for people. The more experts in their field that I meet, the more people I can help. The more people I help, the more people think of me and help my business. Zig Ziglar said “You can have everything you want if you help enough people get what they want.” I do not give referrals because I am in a referral group called BNI. I am in a referral group because I want to give referrals.