All BNI Members are asked to have at least one 1-2-1 per week. As a new Member, you should do as many as possible. Productive 1-2-1s give you the insight needed to refer fellow Members while building a strong relationship with them. We often hear that more quality referrals come from 1-2-1s than in the weekly meeting.
Here are 10 steps for a productive 1-2-1 that will grow your business:
Schedule the meeting in advance, allowing both parties ample time to prepare. Set a clear agenda outlining the topics to be covered and share any relevant background information. In addition, fill out and email a GAINS Exchange a few days before you meet. As a courtesy, attach a blank one along with yours, in case your referral partner doesn’t have the form handy.
Arrive on time to show respect for the other person’s schedule and to maximize the meeting’s productivity. Showing up on time tells the other person that you’re taking this meeting seriously and that you’re ready to talk business.
Practice active listening by giving the other person your full attention, maintaining eye contact, and resisting the urge to interrupt. Take notes as needed.
Encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions that allow the other person to share more about their business, experiences, and goals. This is especially important when you’re meeting with new or shy Members.
Build rapport by sharing personal stories and experiences, which can help create a deeper connection and understanding between both parties. Stories about your business are also important. They are easy to remember as opposed to stats and figures.
It’s an important part of the GAINS Exchange. Talking about your goals makes your referral partner want to help you achieve them.
Take time to discuss potential referrals, focusing on the types of clients or businesses each person is seeking and how to identify those opportunities. In addition, think of specific people you’d like to meet. You never know who people know, so be sure to name them.
Offer helpful advice, resources, or connections to support your referral partner’s business growth and development.
Here’s the most important part of the meeting — one that is often left out and could cost you some business. At the end of the 1-2-1, set a time for a follow-up on your commitments.
For example, you could say: “During our meeting, we agreed that I would introduce you to [person’s name] who could be a valuable connection for your business. I will reach out to them by [specific date] and keep you updated on the progress. In return, you agreed to ask your friend if I could contact him about a potential collaboration. Let’s touch base again on [specific date] to discuss the outcomes and explore further opportunities to support each other’s businesses.”
Before you leave, be sure to open the BNI Connect app and log your 1-2-1 as completed.
Following these 10 steps will give you the best chance for business success and a bigger ROI from your BNI membership!