There are only two types of referrals: reactive and proactive referrals. As a BNI member, you want to ensure you plan to capture your fair share of both.
Reactive referrals are those that are generated as a result of hearing a need for a product and service. For example, if I am at a BBQ and hear that a friend is thinking of selling a home, I can bring up the fact I have a Real Estate Agent I know, like and trust that could help them. The vast majority of referrals volume wise in a BNI chapter will come from a reactive referral.
A proactive referral is a planned introduction to a person in your network. For example, if I have a signwriter in my network and this is an ideal referral partner for you, the shop fitter, we can work together to establish a plan for me to introduce you the way in which you want to be introduced. The vast majority of dollar value will come from proactive referrals.
Neither referral is better or worse, you can make a lot of money from reactive referrals and as a new member, most of your referrals will be reactive. However, both have different strategies for success.
Reactive referrals are generally derived from your weekly referral request, this is why it is vital that you craft clear concise and specific weekly referral requests to maximize your chances of teaching your chapter members and visitors who you want as a customer.
Smart members will realise that having a room full of visitors each week to listen to your weekly referral request greatly increase the chances that these visitors will do business with you. As a BNI member, one of the greatest gifts you can bring to your chapter are people from your network as visitors and this is where the power of equality weekly referral request will manifest
To generate the best kind of proactive referrals you need to be engaging in high quality regular One-to-One sessions. During these One-to-One’s, you’ll want to be teaching your chapter mates the kind of referrals that you are looking for and give them the tools to ensure that they are able to introduce you to these potential clients. It is imperative that you plan the best way that you can be introduced to these people, they simply won’t get you the kind of business that you deserve without a plan.
Either way, you’ll want to ensure that you have a very clear plan for success and this starts by knowing who you want to do business with. Without knowing your dream client and what problem you will solve for them, how can you chapter mates ever connect you to that client?
One of the things that I find interesting when I’m training new members, is their resistance to being specific. I have been to many chapter meetings where members have asked to speak to an individual at a specific company and somebody in the room that day usually a visitor knows that person and has been able to connect them to their dream client. One member in Geelong was specifically wanting to meet one individual and asked to connect to that person for 10 weeks and eventually a visitor was able to do that. Along the way she was introduced to other business people who were similar to her targeted client, clearly, this was a bonus and ensure that she was able to build a portfolio of work around her specific target market
Planning for success in BNI is twofold – delivering excellent weekly referral requests and planning professional, outcomes-focused One-to-Ones. Be careful what you ask for thought because, in BNI, you often get what you ask for.