Don’t sell anything
Julian (Jules) Robins is a successful entrepreneur who runs , a leading virtual office provider in Adelaide, South Australia.
Trust is at a gut level
When asked which BNI core values he associates with best, Jules immediately points to Building Relationships. He believes that building relationships is the key to gaining trust, which is essential in any pursuit we undertake; that business is ultimately built on relationships, and that it’s not enough to have a great product or service; you also need to develop a connection with your customers and colleagues. He believes, “Trust is at a gut level, and relationships help us develop and create it.”
Jules joined BNI to reconnect with the Adelaide business market when he started a new role in 2014 after previously working nationally and internationally. “A colleague pointed out that I naturally networked and helped others to connect; they thought BNI would be good for myself and my business at the time.” Jules attended his first BNI meeting and was struck by the structured approach to networking, which allowed him to build meaningful relationships with other business owners and entrepreneurs.
According to Jules, one of the key benefits of attending BNI is the opportunity to meet people and form relationships. “Most other networking events are a mass; you’re lucky to get to know one or two people, but BNI helps you be part of a network of people and utilises a simple structure of how to engage with them.” Accordingly, Jules believes the structured approach to networking helps business owners and entrepreneurs to build trust and rapport, which is essential for success in any business.
When asked about his best business networking tip, Jules immediately responds with, “Don’t Sell Anything. Not even yourself.” Instead, he recommends asking questions and being genuinely curious about the other person to learn how you can help them. Jules believes that business networking is about building relationships. “You can’t build a relationship by trying to sell someone something.” Instead, he recommends focusing on the other person and learning how you can help them.
The Nike approach to networking
For anyone thinking of taking their networking to the next level by joining a BNI group, Jules advises them to take the Nike approach. “Just do it; join a group. Go into it looking at what you can give to others or how you can help them. Look to help others first before looking for business for yourself.”
Jules maintains that helping others by building a trusting relationship ultimately leads to more business for you. He also emphasises the importance of being professional, staying positive, and having fun. “In my experience, a positive attitude and having fun are essential for not only building meaningful relationships with business colleagues but also growing your chapter.”
As a Regional Winner of BNI’s Adelaide CBD & South Givers Gain Award, Jules firmly believes in the power of contribution. He applies the Givers Gain principle throughout his business by focusing on how he can help others first. He points out that continual contribution leads to growth in himself, his business, and others. “As humans, one of the things that make us happy is when we contribute to others; it makes us feel good when we help someone, and I don’t just mean business referrals.”
Jules’ membership in BNI has been instrumental in his success. It has provided him with a structured approach to networking and opportunities to meet other like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs.