Moving From Me To We BlogMoving From Me To We Blog

How Much Can You Rely on Someone’s Recommendation?

In conversation with an acquaintance you mention that your CPA has retired. This semi-stranger suggests a CPA who specializes in your kind of work. Should you follow-up? You’d be more motivated to do so if that acquaintance:

1. Had first-hand knowledge of the quality of the CPA’s work.

2. Would be adversely affected if the CPA didn’t do a great job for you.

In today’s podcast you’ll hear about the only small business alliance model that is built around those two crucial factors. It’s so successful that the organization that created it is now the world’s largest referral group with over 4,200 chapters with 84,000 members in 27 countries. As Scott Allen advises, “get referrals, not just introductions.” (Online social networks could help members by adding this methodology.)

Because of the rules, members become strong business partners, committed to helping each other grow faster. They learn enough about each other’s work to know when and how to make a helpful referral. “Viral”, “contagious” third party endorsements and word of mouth campaigns are a popular topic these days. What makes the approach you’ll hear about today more powerful for me – as a consumer and a small business owner?

Two things. The inherent mutual improvement and mutual reliance upon which it is based. Founder Ivan Misner calls this the “Giver’s Gain.” In effect, he’s designed a profitable “Me2We” networking model that motivates members to recruit other reputable business people as members. Members’ reputations reflect on each other. Thus, as they help each other improve business operations and quality of referrals, they become increasingly visible and valuable for each other. Yet, as Cyndi Wiley mentions, BNI itself could use an image update. The second reason for my interest is the focus on face-to-face relationship building – so the phone, text message and email follow-up feels more personal.

Now we’re not talking about commissions, affiliates or other kinds of kickback arrangements. Is your main market local? Then hear exactly how this alliance model works from Joe McBride the chapter president of BNI in Arkansas. For a hip, looser yet still efficient alternative see Biznik.

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