Insights on BNI

Specific is Terrific

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Business professionals who want to do business by referral are often far too general in their requests of other people. In referral marketing, it’s crucial to teach others how to refer you. This is why you need to be specific to be terrific. Why? Because sometimes, you get exactly what you ask for.

The Human Brain has something called the Reticular Activating System, or RAS. The RAS is responsible for filtering out all of the inputs from our senses except for those it thinks are important for us to know. If we didn’t have a RAS, we wouldn’t concentrate on what is important. It is powerful, and it can be trained to help our lives way beyond how it impacts BNI Referrals!

A simple RAS exercise

  • Close your eyes for 5 seconds and try to remember all the BROWN things in the room
  • Open your eyes…
  • How many brown things did you remember?
  • Now count how many brown things there actually are

Were there more brown things in the room than you could remember? Your brain saw them all before you actively looked for them; it just didn’t think they were important to you. When you buy a new car, do you suddenly start seeing a lot more of the same type of car on the road? Your brain is now trained to look for the same kind of car because it now believes this type of car is important to you.

How does RAS relate to BNI?

If our weekly presentation includes a very specific referral request, we will activate your fellow members’ RAS. If we don’t prepare a very specific referral request, we may not get anything or, worse, leads that aren’t really what we want.

For example, we only asked you to remember brown items. If we had asked for you to remember brown chairs instead, do you think it would have been easier to recall if there were any in the room?

An example of a specific referral request in BNI would be “I would like to be introduced to Mark Bondurant, who is the Marketing Manager at Pfizer Chemicals”. There is a possibility that someone in the room knows Mark, and if you are visible and credible, they may be happy to introduce you to him.

The ten critical components of a successful weekly presentation

  • Preparation
  • Practice
  • Passion
  • Energy
  • Name and company name
  • Your position in the company
  • Your BNI category
  • A statement about your experience
  • A singular client type/service or product (Include stories and humor if possible)
  • Your SPECIFIC REFERRAL REQUEST


A challenge for you all this week

Prepare a specific referral request as part of your pitch to take you to your dream clients or referral sources. Remember, you might not strike gold each week, but consistency beats brilliance – so keep trying!

If you are specific, it will help each member to activate their RAS and think about who you are asking for, and identify if they know them or someone similar to them.

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