Submitted by Farzana Suri, BNI SOL, Mumbai West, India
A member in my chapter is a printer and kept asking for a company called Sika Chemicals who were located in North West Mumbai. Every Thursday, he’d stand up to give his Weekly Presentation and he’d end with “My ask this week is Sika Chemicals.”
We heard this for 36 weeks. One day, I made it my mission to do something about it. On LinkedIn, I searched for the managing director or anyone with Sika Chemicals among my connects. The result was zilch. Nothing. I searched Facebook and encountered the same result. I looked up the website to understand what business were they really into. It was a Swiss chemical manufacturing company.
I said to myself, “It’s okay, Farzana. You tried.”
A few days later while I was posting an update on LinkedIn, guess who came up in the list of People You May Know? Yes, the managing director of Sika. I penned an email, introducing myself as being a part of a business community called BNI, and said I was writing in for a business associate and member of my group who was asking to meet the relevant person in the company to be considered for their printing work. I asked if I could meet him or the person connected with the printing decisions for their organization.
The next morning, to my surprise and joy, I received a prompt reply. He was in Melbourne and agreed to meet on a specific day and time upon his return.
On the assigned day, I took along the printer in my chapter for a Power Date. I had never met the managing director, and my relationship with him was as good as two formal email interactions can get. He greeted us cordially and introduced the printer to the company’s Administration Team. They exchanged cards and the managing director suggested that the printer be in touch with the Admin Team and would need to begin with a small job to gain trust through his capabilities and credentials. Based on that, he would be considered for future jobs.
Then he turned to me and said, “What do you do?” I smiled and responded, “I’m a Victory Coach and I’m involved in personal coaching and training. However, I’m here today to help promote the printer’s business not mine.” He took my business card, looked at me straight in the eye and said, “Fair enough.”
I kept in touch with the director to see if there was any way in which I could be of help to him. The company manufactures construction chemicals and I thought with my connections perhaps I could patch him to a real estate developer. I wanted to give back in some way as well.
For the next few weeks, I also kept checking with the printer on any updates with Sika. However, his response was, “I’m connecting with them regularly and I’m in touch.”
A few weeks later I received a call from the managing director’s office checking if I could meet the HR Head for a Training assignment for me with their Sales Team. I was honoured and delighted and facilitated the training a few weeks ago.
I learned a few things from this episode of my life in BNI.
It’s what Dr. Ivan Misner keeps reiterating and what makes BNI the world’s largest referral and networking organization.
- Cold mail can bear results if one reaches out with the intention to help another.
- Ask and thou shalt receive.
- Specific is terrific.
- Follow up incessantly on referrals.
- Importantly, build relationships.
- Givers Gain.
I have so much to be thankful for, as BNI has taught me the way entrepreneurship is done and most importantly, to give, because the by-product of building relationships is business, not the other way around.