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Presentation: Content Shock and the Power of BNI

There is a new and controversial term in the web/marketing/advertising/social media industries: Content Shock. What does it mean? (more…)

Presentation: Testimonials and Reviews

Providing testimonials for fellow chapter members and colleagues is an extension of generating referrals. I will use the terms Reviews and Testimonials interchangeably. For search engines, Reviews is a better term to use on a website. People search for reviews, not testimonials. This is from a BNI article: The Art of an Excellent Testimonial.

  1. Testimonials must be given from a position of knowledge; you need to have used the goods or services before you can give a testimonial.
  2. Specificity is the key, how and why you used the product and how it performed. Include some basic details about your age and demographics.
  3. Honesty is the best policy. If there were glitches in performance but you were overall satisfied, include that information so that others can make an informed decision.  Be sure to acknowledge your own role in any shortcomings.
  4. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all—at least in public.  If you truly had a poor experience, take it directly to the company or person to correct the situation.
  5. Short is sweet. You can give a great testimonial without giving two paragraphs of back story about why you decided to use the service.
  6. Put it in writing.  The very best gift you can give a company or person is your testimonial in writing.  Whether you write an online review or speak up in a meeting, putting it on paper gives them something tangible that they can use to market themselves even better.

In our chapter, we give a copy to the member, on paper, and we put a copy in the book. But that is ineffective. This is the first half of the 2nd decade of 21st century. We have to get with the times! Business owners can display it in their shops or on their websites, but there is lots of cynicism about reviews on websites.

If we want to truly help our fellow members: Put it online.

Reviews are strong links that show trust. Reviews are important to rank well in Google as well as propelling the Google Places listing. Get as many reviews as you possibly can on as many different sites as you can, this will help a lot in improving your ranking.

Review sites include Yelp, Urban Spoon, Trip Advisor. Google Places through Google+. There is a review site for just about every industry. Google goes through review sites. It helps drive traffic to websites. Post your review to social media. Facebook & Twitter. The reviews go out to your followers/friends. It is much more powerful if a friend sees that you used a particular service.

You should ask your clients for reviews, all the time, so there is steady stream, looks genuine. People are going to review you anyway. Since our natural tendency is to complain rather than praise, encourage people to review, so the good ones outweigh the bad. If you get a bad review, it can tell you where to improve. You can respond to turn the issue around. It makes it all look genuine.

How can we help each other?

With 30 members, if we put testimonials online for even half our number, each, we’d all have 15 positive online reviews. My goal: review all BNI testimonials and put them online.



Presentation: Category Cowboys

I’ve been reading articles and listening to BNI podcasts about how to grow our chapter, how to get more members. Why should we grow? With more members, the energy level increases. The bigger the group, the more positive energy we would have, and a higher energy level attracts more people. Most importantly, we want to grow for the main the reason we are all here: more business, more money.

BNI head office tracks all this and they find that a group’s referrals and overall revenue grows as the membership increases. As the number of connections grow, the number of referrals grows, both internal and external. So as we grow, more visitors get to hear our infomercials and see our presentations. And do business with us. We are around the 30-member mark today. There is more growth after 30 members, and exponential growth after 50. Some chapters have 80 members.

How do we get there? We have to invite more people, more quality guests, as potential members, but we have to be careful with Category Cowboys. Here is a link to a slideshow done by a BNI member in the UK, Dan Fletcher: Cartoon Box: Classification Cowboy.

We have to be aware of Category Cowboys. The classification you joined under is your classification. But you know your profession, and what your core business is. Ask yourself ho can you invite or have join us that complements you? That you refer business to? Be wary of pre-judging guests.

In my case, we are in the Web design and hosting category. Some of you think we do social media, that it is grouped together. We are not a social media company. We do set up social media accounts, and we do help our clients with their social media strategy, but it is not our core. If a social media strategist wanted to join, I should not be a category cowboy and block the application, even if that strategist claims to do websites. If the person did join, I should stick to infomercials about websites, and the social media strategist should stick to infomercials about social media.

We had a former member who only dealt with clients that had over a certain dollar amount in assets. In hindsight, we should have had a spot for someone who dealt with those who had less than that dollar amount. That person could have been from his firm, or from another. Some BNI chapters have five lawyers, or two real estate agents, for residential and commercial.

To sum up, you know your core/classification, so stick to it, and encourage guests and membership from those you can refer business to, even if other members think you are both in the same profession, so our chapter can grow and prosper.


Presentation: Did Woody Allen Get it Right?

Did Woody Allen get it right with his saying “80% of success is showing up?” Is that accurate for BNI? According to the BNI official podcast from last October, answer is: Not really, not enough, it is only the beginning.

Sure you get some referrals for showing up, but if you truly want to attract more business, part of attraction is Action. Here are 6 things to do, and why:

  1. Create a 60-second introduction that changes each time.
  2. Schedule a one-to-one meeting with someone from your group every week.
  3. Take on a leadership role in your group.
  4. Bring legitimate referrals for other members.
  5. Immerse yourself in referral education.
  6. Use the services of other members.

Here they are in detail:

  1. Create an introduction that changes every single time and that’s focused on a small element of your business. It is important to train a sales force, not try to make sales. Don’t say the same thing over and over again. Memory hooks don’t really teach anybody anything.
  2. Schedule one to one meetings (BBIs) with a different person from your group each week to build deeper connections and learn more about your fellow members- as well as them learning about you. I have my assistant trying… very little result. Is lucky to get an email reply back.
  3. Take a leadership role of some kind within the group. This helps people stand out in the crowd. When they see someone take on a leadership role and do a good job. It rubs off on their credibility. When people see you as a leader of other people, they think of you as a successful business person and from VCP:  visibility, credibility, profitability – it raises you above visibility and helps you get to credibility through some kind of leadership role. That is one of the best reasons to be on the leadership team, in the membership committee or a visitor host. It gives you much more exposure and that leads to credibility’.
  4. Bring referrals, legitimate ones, for other members. If you want to get referrals, you have to be able to give referrals.
  5. Immerse yourself in referral education. Read books, blogs such as, BNI newsletter, BNI Success Net.  Anything to help learn how to engage the networking process more effectively.
  6. Use the services of the other members of the group so that you can experience what they have to offer because that helps you in being able to refer them. If they do a good job, and you are enthusiastic about it, then it is so easy to refer somebody when you have experienced what they have to offer.

Do these 6 things to get more out of your BNI experience:

  1. Create a 60-second introduction that changes each time.
  2. Schedule a one-to-one meeting with someone from your group every week.
  3. Take on a leadership role in your group.
  4. Bring legitimate referrals for other members.
  5. Immerse yourself in referral education.
  6. Use the services of other members.


BNI: President

Today at my BNI Valley Voices meeting Doreen announced that the new roles need to be filled for next year, that Jennifer Hannah, who oversees our group, picks the president, and that will be me. There was applause and congratulations.

I am looking forward to next year. Now to see who will come forward to fill various rolls. Exciting times.

Presentation: Social Media part three: Social Media Business Equation

Rough notes for a speech on the Social Media Business Equation.

  1. Picture this:
  2. At a party, step in door. Tall, good looking stranger smiles, comes over & says:
  3. (Shouting) Do you want to buy any stocks? Do you have an RRSP? I’m a financial Planner. Do you have a retirement plan?
  4. Sadly, that is how too many businesses do their social media: the wrong way.
  5. SM is not broadcasting. It isn’t like radio or TV advertising. It isn’t shouting out the message.
  6. SM: Is a conversation. Talking w/, not at.
  7. Me broadcast now. Us around a table over tea: conversation.
  8. So why do so many do it wrong? Ignorance.
  9. They don’t know how to use social media as a tool, and they don’t know what to say. They don’t know how to engage.
  10. There is a solution, a formula, about what to do in social media. It doesn’t matter if you use FB, or Tw, Lnk, or any, the formula is the same.
  11. It is the SM business Equation, courtesy of “The Social Media Business Equation by Eve Mayer Orsburn.
  • 20% Information
  • 20% Entertainment
  • 40% Interaction
  • 20% Business

What’s that mean?

20% Information – valuable nuggets, educate them, make it worth their while.

  1. Show that you are the expert in your field.
  2. Talk about things related to your differentiator, what sets you apart, what they should know about your industry.
  3. Could be: own original content; others’ content with commentary.
  4. Example: Real estate – life in the Cowichan. Bookkeeping/accounting – Return to GST and annual filing.

20% Entertainment – humour, news, WOW them.

  • Make them look forward to your posts.
  • Example: Chris, your ongoing dog saga with Terry.

40% Interaction

  1. Don’t ignore the people you connect to, respond to them.
  2. If they comment on your content, respond.
  3. Go through your timelines or social media streams and comment on their posts, retweet, repin
  4. If they blog, if a major or potentially major customer blogs, comment on their blog posts
  5. Stay in touch with them.
  6. Deal with them as people.

20% Business – When you ask for the business.

Success is when ppl do action you want. Could be:

  1. Register for your event (workshop, seminar)
  2. Fill out a form (Request a quote)
  3. Call or email you
  4. Book a showing
  5. Review your portfolio
  6. Attend your open house
  7. Share your content
  8. Check out your restaurant menu or specials
  9. Book your services
  10. ‘Like’ you or Follow you
  11. Spread the word about you

All good stuff. You can track ROI.

Example: Organizing a trip, a European River Cruise, or the West Coast Trail.

Give a teaser, outline. Full info avail on website, after registering.

If you follow SMBE, they:

– know you authority, (20% info)

– fun to be around (20% humour/entertain)

– are for real, have an interest in them (40% interact)

Some will go to website, register to receive full itinerary.

Track who registers… ROI.

Conclude: for biz success with SM, follow SMBE:

If you do

  • 20% Information
  • 20% Entertainment
  • 40% Interaction
    Then when you ask for the
  • 20% Business
    you’ll have success.

Any questions?

Thank you.

BNI Chilliwack part two

I went to the first information meeting for a new BNI session, 7:00 am at IHOP. There were six other people, including one organizer, my nephew and his business partner, and the BNI coordinator for this area.

My concerns, from yesterday, were unfounded. The BNI Managing Director, Laura Leoni, did an excellent job: enthusiastic, good presentation, knowledgeable, positive. i was there for colour commentary.

I hope the group does well, and I’ll come back as a visitor if i find myself in Chilliwack on a Tuesday morning.

BNI Chilliwack part one

Last April, when my nephew told me what his new business was, I told him he had to seek out and join a local BNI group. When I went looking for one, through the BNIBC website, I found out there were none in the area. I left it at that.

Yesterday, at a Japanese restaurant with my father, he picked up a Coffee News. I looked through it and there was an ad for an information session to start a BNI chapter in Chilliwack. I got excited! I called the number on the ad, introduced myself, and invited myself to the meeting.

Then I called my nephew and invited him.

Then I made notes, because I recalled my very first BNI meeting, around the turn of the century. It was also an informational meeting. The presenter was very poor, unexciting, and unenthusiastic. I did not come away with a warm feeling. The feeling I came away with was that I had escaped a shark tank.

I vowed this meeting would be different. If there was a poor presenter, a dull, unreceptive crowd, I would do my best to get them excited an motivated, because I am a convert, I see the power of BNI.

Let’s see how it goes.

I sent a text home. Elizabeth responded. I put my BlackBerry in my pocket, and it pocket-texted a smiley emoticon.

Cute. It read my mind.