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You can never look inside enough

Networking Expert, Networking Questions, On my mind now

26 January 2011 | 5 Comments

This morning I had a BNI member who inquired from me on how he can visit other BNI Chapters (other than the Chapter he belongs to).

Supposedly for the purpose of getting more business exposure and possibly more referrals.

At a glance you’ll agree, however, I invited this person to have a conversation. It was indeed an inspiring one!

Here are the pointers from our conversation:

I explained that by visiting other Chapters, and giving out business cards may yield to a ‘feel good factor’ where you feel that you have ‘networked’ with the members of that Chapter, which means business referrals must come your way?

On paper it could appear so. But is it?

However, nothing is further from the truth. Let me explain.

The entire process of generating quality referrals is derived from the quality of relationship among the members in a particular group. Yes, you can receive a referral out of luck, if indeed your services were required, from members of other BNI Chapters.

Therefore, a suggestion was made to this person, that he needs to explore, and keep on exploring, and then explore again, and then explore again, and yet again from the people within his Chapter.

It’s a never ending process. Because in one month’s time, both you and me are different people from what we are today. Our social capital of new contacts, ideas and maturity and awareness would have increased for sure. So, the Riyaz that you have met today will be different from the Riyaz that you have met last month, and would possibly be different yet again when we meet next month. And likewise any other person.

Hence, I explained to him, have you explored with your colleagues who they have met this past month? Who are their new contacts? Who have they come across?

For example, during networking conversations, we can ask, ‘Hey Gracie, so who have you met this past one month?’, to which Gracie would possibly answer, ‘Oh, I am in the process of speaking to a college to install solar powered water heaters for their student hostel house.’

How many people explore, and keep exploring, and then some, with the same person, to see how has their social capital increased from time to time?

So, unless you have completely exhausted this avenue, should you be asking if you can visit other Chapters to ‘network’? Me thinks, it will be unnecessary. Afterall, by this definition, one can never completely exhaust this process, even in a lifetime.

I hope this will keep to ease, your anxiety if indeed you were thinking that your business referrals lies in another Chapter. The answer is a sound No.

Look in, it’s not necessary to look out, and you can never look inside enough.


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5 Responses on “You can never look inside enough”

  1. Prudence says:

    Go deep not broad….

  2. riyazadmin says:

    Agree totally, Prudence.

  3. Great article! Herein lies the meaning of BUILDING strong relationships and ‘farming not hunting’ – being focused instead of sporadic.

  4. Thank you for your contribution Riyaz. Joining BNI has a purpose and serves a purpose. How one wants to play the game is entirely within the conscience of that person. Building relationships is the key here, as you succinctly put, Riyaz. In any social, business, political or economic setting, it always boils down to how one can build trust and understanding with the people you are with.

    It’s like planting a bamboo tree. For the first 3 years after continuous watering you may not see much growth. You may even give up but if you just persisted a little bit longer, you will suddenly find that it grows and grows and grows.

    Likewise the same principal applies to BNI. If by chance we happen to meet other BNI members outside our chapter and they give us referrals, why then be grateful that you are such an attractive person!! Plus, remember to pay back.

  5. Hayaaty says:

    Wouldn’t anyone want to have 20 or 30 people marketing your business? Work with your colleagues in the chapter, whom you see on weekly basis. Make them understand your business. Improve on your relationship with them and they will be more than happy to promote your business. None but not least, the philosophy of BNI is GIVERS GAIN, if I give you business; you would want to reciprocate and give me business.

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