Networking Tips

Interaction Versus Transaction

By Kerry Lehmann, Business By Referral BNI Chapter, Ottawa Canada & BNI Ambassador

Are you familiar with the networking scenario where someone approaches you ready to throw their business card at you like a Ninja throwing star before you even have a chance to say hi?

Have you ever utilized someone’s products and/or services, then never again heard from them?

Yes, we have all encountered that ‘Transaction’ minded business person – someone who is running around with a singular goal of filling a quota or hitting a benchmark  just trying to make more money.

However, in this day and age consumers are all looking for that personal touch. Everyone has the ability to choose who he/she will do business with or won’t. Customers truly want to know that they matter and that we value them. I challenge you to consider whether you are a ‘Transaction’ or an ‘Interaction’ Mindset/Business Person:

Transaction Mindset:

  1. Goals (tends to think in terms of ‘my’ benefit)
  2. What do I Need (Shorter term & focus on ‘self’)
  3. Survival (focused on my needs, discourages Relationships/Trust)
  4. Using Head (logical approach, products/services = sales)
  5. Convince (hunter/prey approach)
  6. Perceived as Cooler Approach
  7. Cost (Sentence may sound like ‘The COST is…’)
  8. ‘$’ (Dollar) Sign (see others with a ‘$’ on their forehead)

Interaction Mindset:
1) Goals (tends to think in terms of ‘our’ benefit)
2) What do we want (Longer term vision & Collaborative)
3) Thriving (focused on OUR needs/fosters strong Relationships/Trust)
4) Following heart (emotions, caring = customer loyalty)
5) Share (emphasis on the mutual Benefit and Value)
6) Perceived as a warmer approach
7) Invest (Sentence may sound like ‘The investment is..’)
8) ‘V’ (Value) Sign (see others with a ‘V’ on their forehead)

Of course, with different mindsets come different approaches to networking. Which of these approaches most closely fits you?

Transaction Approach:

  1. Give A Business Card – Approaching others and being the first to GIVE your CARD as you introduce your business
  2. Sell a product/service and move on to next client
  3. Customer Care – Once sale is made no further transaction
  4. Mission, Vision, Values Statement – based on company’s business/financial goals
  5. Expect Referrals

Interaction Approach:

  1. Get a Business Card – Approaching others asking for their business card and asking them questions about their business (only offering information about yours when asked)
  2. Share a product/Service..(which results in a sale) follow up with the client within two business days
  3. Client Care – Keep a log of interactions, know their Spouse/Children Names, Birthdays, if they mention their off on a vacation make note of that and ask about it on your next interaction/call
  4. Mission, Vision, Values Statement – based on both company’s business/financial goals and servitude/commitment to Clients, Employees, Managers for common interests and benefits
  5. Give Referrals

By focusing on an interactive Mindset and Approach, you can see customer loyalty for life and referrals when you make the emphasis on others first.

A final thought … Approach each BNI Meeting with the following additional mindset, and in this order:

  1. Learn – What can I learn from each of my fellow Chapter members, what are the obstacles and challenges they have overcome in their respective journeys that I can reflect upon to make ME a better person and leader?
  2. Serve Others – How can I SERVE my fellow Chapter members, how can I support their respective business offerings/needs, how can I increase the referrals to them?
  3. Referrals/Revenue for me – (truly if we focus ONLY on the first two steps.. the third will be abundant in nature back to us)

Richard Branson said- “If you aren’t in the business of helping others, you shouldn’t be in business, its that simple.”



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