Most of us are familiar with the BNI expression ‘people do business with people they know, like and trust’… what few people realize, however, is that trust takes a combination of factors to develop. Still, it may be short-circuited with “liking.”
A study by Stetson and Clarkson Universities concludes that “liking” plays a vital role in influencing the development of trust, more so than other necessary ingredients like common interests, shared outlook, and demographics. According to the study, the emotional bond can become the driving force in the relationship and nurturer trust.
In other words, several elements are needed for trust, but ‘liking’ is the magical shortcut to that privileged status of being trusted.
As a member of a BNI chapter, you are already in some way sharing common interests and a common outlook, but that does not automatically mean that your fellow BNI members will “like you” and eventually trust you.
It is not uncommon for BNI members to expect referrals based solely on being a member of the chapter, especially if the sum of their efforts is the occasional “hello” once a week, coffee meeting once or twice a year, 60-second presentation, and bi-annual ten-minute presentation. These aren’t quite enough to build an emotional bond that is the basis of trust. These mandatory activities of BNI provide the foundation for a relationship, but the relationship itself must still be built and maintained, and only you can do that.
It also doesn’t help to go through the motions. Even worse (when we go back to in-person meetings) is to sit in the same place week in and week out and interact mainly with the same people you feel comfortable with. In other words, even within your BNI weekly meeting, you must guard against complacency and against slipping into a comfort zone.
The three steps to getting to “trust” are relatively simple:
1. Get to know your BNI members. Demonstrate a genuine interest in them as people – how many children do they have? What are their dreams, hopes, and fears? Do you know these things about everybody? Getting to know your fellow members, or anyone in your network, can be very rewarding and easily achieved because most of us are instinctively drawn to form bonds. By getting to know somebody better, you find it easier to discover ways to help them get ahead.
2. Spend time with your BNI Members. When you show a genuine interest in people, and when you spend time with them and demonstrate the desire to help them (referrals, advice, a listening ear), “liking” automatically develops more quickly than it might if you do the minimum mandatory BNI activities.
3. Trust. As BNI Chairman Dr. Ivan Misner maintains, “trust” is the key to a profitable relationship – but we’re not just talking money and referrals. Those things follow, but you will find the interpersonal bonds you develop with your fellow BNI members to be far more enjoyable and rewarding.
So there you have it: 3 easy steps to “liking” as a shortcut to ‘trust,’ which will make it easier to pass referrals.