I have today returned from an incredible few days in Newcastle in the United Kingdom, where I was attending a conference for Business Networking International (BNI) Directors 2017. So, I thought it was appropriate to share some of the knowledge, tips and quotes that I took away to apply for my businesses.
Before setting of last Thursday, as we should al do prior to attending any event, I had set my objectives for attending as a BNI Director Consultant in the Hertfordshire West Central Region. These were:
- Learn new processes and initiatives that other leaders have tried and tested, that help professionals make more money
- Network with over 250 other attendees, both those that I have now know for over 8 years as well as meeting new likeminded professionals
- Share my knowledge and experience to hopefully add value to others.
- Have some fun.
I am delighted to say I well and truly achieved all the above and a lot more and if I were to summarise my takeaways in just words they would be:
SUCCESS | RELATIONSHIPS | SMALL GAINS | CELEBRATE
Following some early morning business networking our event started on Friday with our great host for the 3 days Greg Davies introducing our guest speaker Martine Wright MBE.
A truly inspirational person that shared with us her “Power of 7” following her amazing journey since being injured in the 7/7 bombings in London. A great story to show that “Anything is Possible” and how that event changed her life forever but only through making Choices, Maximising Every Opportunity, Embracing Change, Teamwork, Marginal Gain, My Team Me and the Principal of Belief! WOW what a story and thank you for sharing this with us and I can’t wait to read her new book due out in July. You can actually pre order now on amazon too.
The importance of building strong business relationships came through from several speakers including BNI UK National Directors, Charlie Lawson and Tim Cook as well as Phil Berg, Mike Holman and Ewan Sturman on “The Referral Process”. Do you know your staff, your team and what about your customers? Or should we say, “How well do you know them?” Do you really know what they enjoy doing out of work, what makes them tick, do they have any specific goals?
You need to be making time to ask and discover more about them so you can get to know them, help them achieve success too and to be able to also say “Thank You” to them appropriately – by giving them gifts that they like!! And guess what? During the process, they will also start learning more about you too and get to know “why” you do what you do! Put all this together and people will be happier to use and even promote your business to others for you.
We all know that having goals and objectives are vital in business but how many of us have a process to help us achieve them?
Dan Kelly introduced us to his OST approach – Objectives, Strategy and Tactics which he has applied to his business. Your strategy and tactics must be kept simple and realistic and could be based on regular monthly campaigns, each delivering a small increase in results. Similarly, Julian Lewis as part of his “Do you Zig or Do you Zag” session highlighted how you could set challenges for your team over a period of time but with regularly weekly milestones. He also reminded us that as leaders our role is like a coach and how we can inspire people to achieve. This was brilliantly demonstrated through the short video clip of the “Death Crawl scene form Facing the Giants” I totally recommend you watch it.
Many speakers talked about how they congratulated and awarded their teams on achieving results and ensured they celebrate their success. And of course, not to forget thanking clients for using our products or services. Why? Because it shows appreciation and motivates people and helps with retaining your clients. People love recognition when they have achieved something.
From a simple phone call or thank you card – of course relevant to something they are interested in through having built your relationship! Invitation to exclusive events to feel like they belong to an elite group because of their achievements, such as Dan Kelly’s Pareto Club in Norfolk and The Green Club of Brian Gates and Kathryn Saggers. Or it could be a financial contribution, small or large, to an external social event or simple gift.
If I were to summarise my takeaway in one phrase it would be:
“Success in business is all about building strong relationships, achieving growth through bite size gains and celebrating every time.”
This is what BNI helps you achieve! As a member for 12 years, I am truly passionate about the organisation and the way we help other professional businesses make more money as it has done for my mc square marketing business. To find out more about how your business can benefit from the ethos of “Givers Gain” please do get in touch. Wherever you are around the world I can help introduce you to possibly your next biggest client!
And finally …
I couldn’t end my article without including some inspirational messages from some of the other top speakers I was privileged to listen to. A big thank you to you all for planting that important nugget in my mind to now act on.
“My knowledge is irrelevant without the ability to empower others to take action from it” – Phil Berg
“Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice” – Kathryn Saggers
“The Upward Spiral – A positive ATTITUDE leads to Positive BEHAVIOUR which leads to Positive RESULTS!” – Niri Patel
“81% of employees are motivated to work harder through APPRECIATION” – Peter Higgs
“Get more deeper relationships, not just meet lots more people” – Ewan Sturman
“Leaders do things that followers are not expecting” – Julian Lewis