The wisdom behind laser specific referral requests is common knowledge amongst BNI members globally. When we ask for a specific person by name, stating their company name and industry as well, we have much more success in getting worthwhile introductions to people who can help us grow our businesses. Even if we don’t get an introduction to the exact person we’ve asked for, being specific can concisely outline what kind of people are great introductions for us. Our fellow Chapter members might not know exactly the person we asked for an introduction to, but they might know someone in a similar industry, role, or company. Once they know that people like that are potentially valuable introductions for us, they can connect the dots and put us in touch.
But with the festive season fast approaching, it’s worth discussing the potential benefits of loosening up the laser-specific approach to referral requests. Most of us are going to find ourselves at events over the next few months where referral opportunities abound. The same goes for our fellow Chapter members. So, it’s in our best interests to educate our fellow Chapter members on what to listen out for at these engagements, sometimes called a “BBQ conversation”.
Give some thought to the kind of things that people might say at a gathering. What kind of statements might you hear that would make you think that they could be a good introduction or referral to you if you heard them say it? Once you’ve identified some of these, they then become the sentences or phrases you can ask your fellow Chapter members to listen out for. Often, the conversation will fall into one of three categories, either planning, bragging, or complaining.
A common example of complaining could be “I’m not looking forward to January’s credit card bill”.
Lots of people experience large credit card bills in January due to the increased costs in December associated with Christmas presents and holiday expenses. This can be more so for business owners, who often “close the doors” for several weeks at the same time, meaning no revenue is coming in. They know from previous years that January’s credit card bill could be quite painful, and it often comes up in conversation.
When I hear someone dreading their upcoming credit card bill, I immediately think of Mortgage Brokers. Mortgage Brokers can consolidate debts such as credit cards for their clients, into their mortgage with a much lower interest rate. So if I were a Mortgage Broker in BNI, I would absolutely give a referral request in the next few weeks that asks the members to listen out for anyone who says ”I’m not looking forward to January’s credit card bill” or anything similar.