After an almost two-year interruption in my normal networking activities, I am proud to say I just made a big decision to join a referral network and shake off these introverted tendencies I developed during the pandemic. I am officially a founding member of the new BNI National Harbor chapter!
I first attended a BNI meeting in Bethesda about four years ago, and I was impressed with the structure and support among its members. When my friends and colleagues Patricia Watts and Brian Loebig recently told me of the new chapter forming at the National Harbor, I was excited to go to a meeting to learn more. At the meeting, I was happy to see the familiar face of Sarit Arbell, and Nancy Alert who was instrumental in the creation of this new chapter. Brandi Bridgette, Marie Wolfe, Sean Andrews, Christopher Logan, and Winfield Clark are just a few of the professionals I have met so far.
Being in sales most of my life, I am no stranger to public speaking. I recently learned that many people find BNI is a great place to work on honing this valuable skill. In our meetings, we give brief introductions, so others know our area of specialty. These 60-second intros are a great way to inform new acquaintances of the who, what, where, when, and how they need to know about your business. Many people have short attention spans. This activity encourages more conciseness.
I meet clients at coffee shops, bars, and restaurants all over the DMV. As mask mandates return, some people are uncomfortable being in confined spaces.
Our BNI meetings have been 100% virtual, so it is always safe, and during these winter months, I appreciate not having to go out to connect. We can always meet in person whenever we choose. The givers gain philosophy the group promotes is one of the best parts of the BNI. We live in a transactional world where people expect you to reciprocate their good deeds. I like the idea of helping others without the expectation of something in return. Of course, it is great when the favor is reciprocal, but that should not be the main reason for making a referral. I believe this promotes the concept of only referring to a business that you believe in. And your referral serves as an endorsement.
The founding members of this new BNI National Harbor group are all well-established business owners and professionals. Their qualifications and backgrounds make them the perfect focus group for evaluating new ideas and strategies. Having several entrepreneurs who represent a wide variety of industries also paves the way for creating joint ventures for larger projects.
For example, my marketing agency can partner with two to three others in our group to offer an existing or new potential client a full-service solution rather than assembling a team of unfamiliar businesses.
Of course, there are many more benefits to being part of a referral network with such a rich history as BNI. These are just a few that immediately came to mind. I welcome any BNI members to chime in and add their thoughts. If you are looking to take your business to the next level in 2022, perhaps a network, willing to refer your business to qualified prospects, could be a positive next step. I would love to invite you to join me at one of our upcoming meetings. Please connect with me if you would like to learn more.