Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing
"Word-of-Mouth" is the most cost-effective form of advertising possible. Being a member of Business Network Int'I (BNI) is like having sales people working for you every day who market your product or service. BNI's sole purpose is to provide a structured environment for the development and the exchange of quality business referrals. If referrals are, or should be an important part of your Business, then BNI is the organization for you.
The Mission of BNI is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive, and professional "Word Of Mouth" program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.
Our BNI Hunt Valley, Maryland chapter has passed thousands of referrals which generated more than $500,000 worth of business for our members!
Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.
Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.
Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.
Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.
Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.
Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, "How may I help you?" and no immediate answer comes to mind.
Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.
Tips: by Stephanie Speisman
90% of Salespeople Say, "Twitter is a Waste of Time"
Recently we received the following article in a weekly newsletter and we thought it was interesting enough to pass along.
The number of salespeople and small business owners who are not using Twitter to build customer loyalty and grow profits is shocking! Creating my own poll, I ask this question to almost every salesperson I meet - which is in the thousands. Less than 10% say they are tweeting routinely.
My response to the 90% who don't tweet is always, "You realize it's free, right?"
Their typical answer, "Yeah, but my time isn't."
I then reply, "How do you prefer to spend your time?"
Them, "Helping customers."
Over the past 2 weeks, I've walked through this scenario with salespeople quite a few times. I've responded to this "I'd rather spend my time helping customers" excuse with five points. I kept it to five points so I could either high five them or smack them in the back of the head based on whether they got it or not.
My 5 points are:
1. Customers are on Twitter looking for companies and vendors to follow because they want timely help.
2. If your customers view you as an expert, they'll expect quick tips and ideas from you throughout the week.
3. Tweets are only 140 characters so they don't take long to write. You only need to post a couple a day, so that's less writing than a single email to a customer.
4. Even if you only have 10 customers that follow you, that equals more engagement than you've done in the past 10 years.
5. I ask, "Have you asked your customers if they'd like you to tweet?" These salespeople usually answer "No" or they say "My customers aren't on Twitter." I got this answer recently from a sales guy. I suggested we call one of his customers right then and ask. We did. The customer said, "Yeah. Why? Are you on Twitter now? What's your username? I'll follow you." You better believe that sales guy is tweeting now.
— Andy Horner, Ace of Sales
Address: 11350 McCormick Rd., Hunt Valley 21031
• From 695.
• Take I-83 N.- 5.38 miles.
• Take the SHAWAN ROAD exit number 20 A towards COCKEYSVILLE.
• Keep RIGHT at the fork in the ramp.
• The Executive Plaza III is just after the Marriott Hunt Valley on the right.
• We meet in the lower level Dinning room next to the cafiteria