This is my favorite line to use in a 1-2-1 after the initial period of chatter in the meeting. I like to ask this question and often times people respond by saying wow what a great question! Think about how that would make you feel if the business person across from you asked “How Can I Help you Grow Your Business?” That person you are meeting with is a true giver and not a taker.
Let me tell you the power of BNI and what we do here. About 5 years ago I was having coffee with Bryan one of my sister’s friends from college who is a mortgage broker. At the time, I had a mortgage broker in my chapter and did not have enough business to give to any more people, but truly believe in Givers Gain so I happy to meet with him. We were sitting down and I asked him “How Can I Help You Grow Your Business?” and his response was that he really wanted to get into a BNI chapter. At the time, I was working for BNI as an Assistant Director and often had access to inside information of openings. Now had I gone into the meeting with the assumption that all Bryan wanted was referrals from me or that I was wasting my time since I had no direct referrals I would have missed an amazing opportunity to help Bryan grow his business. About six months later I heard about an opening in a Chapter with 50 members and I immediately called and took Bryan to the meeting! He has been a member ever since and still we don’t do direct business, but have maintained a wonderful relationship. He called me the other day with an opportunity to join him and an attorney to do a speaking engagement at Boston College! He said that getting into his BNI chapter has contributed year over year 30% to his yearly revenue and that he was so grateful that I had asked “How Can I Help Grow his Business?” Now that one question is coming back to me and giving me an opportunity to grow my personal business.
So next time your on a 1-2-1 regardless of whether you are with a fellow BNI member or a business professional in your sphere that you are trying to make relationships with remember this important phrase. If you truly believe in Givers Gain this will be another important tool in your face to face networking arsenal.
Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty