October 3, 2008
Yesterday I visited a Business Networking International (BNI) group in Del Mar. BNI is a group of business professionals who meet weekly to exchange business referrals. I was asked to come and fill in for one of their members Rick Itzkowich owner of Productive Learning and Leisure and writer for the Xtraordinary Living Blog. BNI requests members to have a substitute when they are not able to attend the meeting.
It was a lively group at 6:45 a.m. and they were very welcoming. As the meeting progressed we arrived to the presentation portion. BNI typically has a few members speak more in depth about their business and the type of referrals they are looking for. At this meeting Riley Cardwell, a business coach and BNI Director for San Diego was attending so the leadership skipped the member presentations. Riley did however do an amazing presentation on creating your successful Sales Manager Minute (SMM), or what to say when you are at a networking event in 30 to 60 seconds. Here is what Riley discussed:
Your Company Name
What you do
Briefly describe ONE of the products/services you offer
BNI calls this your LCD or Lowest Common Denominator. What you want to do is break down your service or product into its most basic from (LCD).
A plumber might talk about replacing old piping in the house, a financial planner could discus the value of an IRA, Real Estate Agents may talk about how they work with first time home buyers.
What will your product or service do for the referral you’re looking for? Why do they buy this from you?
What you really want to describe here is the benefit of your product or service. Telling a brief story is often very helpful. Riley asked a few of the BNI members what their benefits were.
- Suzanne Rhodes with Proforma Pepper Promotions offered employee retention as a benefit.
- Bob Johnson with Coronado Catering talked about the joy of experiencing your party by allowing Coronado Catering to handle all the work.
Do the Ask!: “The referral/introduction I’m looking for today is…” What to look for (WTLF); be extra-specific.
Tell your sales force what action to take for you. Give them a “conversation starter” What to say for you (WTS).
The idea here is to ask for the contact at a specific company you are trying to meet or when someone is at a party with friends you want them to know what to listen for which may lead to the referral.
- Cal Campbell owner of Cal’s Plumbing, Inc. said to listen for people complaining about lack of hot water.
- Gretchen Seitz, L.Ac. owner of Seitz Acupuncture told the group to listen for people who are suffering from migraines.
- Dr. Rhonda Lilien a Chiropractor with La Jolla Integrative Health asked the group to look for people who had difficulty turning their head.
- John Naviaux, Registered Investment Advisor Representative with Western Financial Advisors offered the group a (WTS), “I know a financial advisor that has access to a lot of investment options”.
Your Company Name
“And Remember… (memory hook)
A memory hook is something you say at the end of your SMM that helps people remember who you are. Most times these are catchy phrases that relate to what you do. Here are some examples:
- Promotional Products: If you want them to remember you, then remember me!
- Plumber: If your pipes don’t flow you know where to go
- Caterer: Little or small we cater them all
- Chiropractor: When your spine s in line, you will feel fine!
- Financial Planner: Doctors save lives, I save lifestyles
Why not take a moment and review your 60 second commercial to insure you are covering all these parts. A successful Sales Manager Minute or 60 second commercial can easily double your referrals in your networking group. This process will increase the number of referrals you are receiving as well as make your networking group far more dynamic.