Good Referrals

This week’s education slot was delivered by Dave Simpson of Granite SEO and was on the subject of good referrals.

Why Are Referrals Important?

Why do we get up in the middle of the night to visit BNI every week? Is it for a good breakfast, a cup of coffee and a chat or even to hook up with like-minded business people and talk about our worldly woes? The answer, of course, is no. We do it to generate business and make money.

That’s why referrals, or to be more precise, quality referrals are so important (as well as being a sign of a healthy and successful Chapter).

Quality referrals translate into good business, increased profits, happier members and, ultimately into a growing and prosperous Chapter.

In fact, in my opinion, good quality referrals are probably the most important part of any BNI Chapters success.

What Makes A Good Referral?

A good referral should be laser targeted. It helps, of course, if you actually know what the person you are giving the referral to does for a living so make sure that you have regular 1-2-1’s with them, get to understand their business and listen when they give their 60 seconds every week.

A good referral should be timely. Don’t pass a referral slip for a job that’s months away. You’re wasting your fellow member’s time, and your client won’t thank you for a call they aren’t expecting yet. Instead, give the referral at the appropriate time. It may be the day, the week or even several weeks before depending on the circumstances.

A good referral should be genuine. Let’s be honest we’ve all thought about passing ‘dodgy’ referrals at some time. But this is a very bad idea. Why? Well, random, un-targeted referrals, speculative referrals or ones based on casual conversations down the pub don’t convert. Your fellow members waste time chasing poor quality leads that end up going nowhere and your clients become upset fending off inquiries from BNI members they haven’t asked to speak to (or don’t know). Ultimately, everyone will lose faith in you and your business as well as your membership will suffer. Its better to pass one quality referral a week than 3 or 4 dodgy ones.

Giving and Receiving Good Referrals

Looking for good referrals? Well, you can help by being specific. One thing I like to do every week before the meeting is to spend a few minutes looking at fellow BNI members Linkedin profiles and identifying specific contacts that I want to put in touch with. Then, during the meeting ask the specific member for the specific contact – being specific works! (Are you getting the message here?). This has worked well for me in the past.

Listen to your clients. Look for opportunities to refer fellow BNI members if they arise and pick the appropriate time to broach the subject with your client.

Seek your client’s permission. This is so important. Ask them if its ok for Bob to phone them about their carpet cleaning and then let them know that you will be getting him to contact them in the next day or 2. When Bob does in touch, the client will recognise him and will immediately be more receptive to his call.

Why Referrals are Better than Leads

For starters a referral has trust built in. I spend most of my working life online so I understand the problems associated with trust and dealing with people or businesses that you have never dealt with, or met before. A referral is given because you trust your fellow member and you may even have used their services yourself. Most clients will choose a business that is recommended to them over one that approaches them cold.

A referral is highly qualified. The member giving the referral has identified a need, has done some groundwork to establish trust and has given the client an implicit recommendation of your quality and reliability. These things alone are normally enough to quickly turn a referral into actual business.

The Mechanics of a Good Referral

  1. Make sure you fill out the referral slip correctly. You would be amazed at how many referral slips are incomplete, have wrong information on them, are too vague or are writing in illegible scrawl. The least you can do is let the person you are giving the referral have the right details
  2. Indicate hot referrals. Getting a hot referral means that the receiver should be on the phone right after the meeting. Business is waiting for them – so they should act fast.
  3. Follow up. We have a referral reality check every week but, if you have given someone a referral ask them how it went. Did they call? Did they have a meeting? Did they get the work? If not, why not? Learn from the process so that you can give better referrals.


Now you know why good referrals are important, how to give them and how to follow them up, think about your performance. Are you passing the right kind of referrals? Do you know how to identify a good referral? Are you doing enough?

Remember the mantra – Givers Gain – give good referrals and you will receive good referrals in return.

Visitors Ahoy!

This week, Bravo are welcoming the following visitors – if you know of anyone who would like to meet them then please invite them along as well.

Geoff Woodger –

Kirsty McWilliam – Langley Apartments

What Can You Do in 60 Seconds (Hint: Its more than you think!)

This weeks Education Slot was delivered by Niall Menzies of Castle Trophies, Stonehaven and delivered  in his own inimitable style. It focused on the importance of the dreaded 60 second slot. Heres what Niall had to say..


I wanted to do an education slot on one of the fundamental parts of a BNI meeting.

Which is what?

Networking at the beginning is important as is your general manner and enthusiasm throughout a meeting.

But one of  the most important part of a BNI meeting as our CD always says, now comes the most important part of the meeting is our 60 seconds.

It’s only a minute, it’s no time at all people say. But 60 seconds can change your life?

The first aeroplane flight took less than minute. After that travel changed forever.

60 seconds changed the life of Gemma Spofforth in 2009.  when she broke the world record backstroke at the world championships in Rome.

Life was never the same again.

So, it’s only a minute, but lets make the most of it.

A good 60 seconds could mean the difference of making that crucial contact or not.

And it only takes a minute to make that life changing business contact. But only if you do it right.

So, how do make sure we make that good impression and get the most out of our one minute?

The great ones aren’t the entertaining ones that make you laugh more, they are good and I suppose if they are memorable then they are a great one, it’s the ones that give you some return on your investment into BNI.

These BNI people know quite a bit about what makes a good minute presentation so here are the BNI ground rules for that life changing event.


Creating Your 60 Seconds Pitch

Ideally your pitch should be between 150-225 words and include:

  • Your name
  • The name of your company
  • Your role within the company
  • What your products/services are as well as target market
  • What value you can create
  • Ask for a referral (name the organisation, the person and their job title if possible. This is pretty crucial. If we are going to help you find that dream contact you gotta tell us who he or she is?

The referral may not be someone from within the room, it is more likely to be someone they know.– put simply network marketing.

Practice your 60 Seconds Pitch

Practice your pitch, record your pitch and see what you sound like – would you want to refer yourself if you heard you speak?  If the answer is no, then go back to the drawing board – you’re not quite there, but don’t practice too hard as you’ll want to sound sincere.  You want to build relationships with people, you want people to trust you and the more genuine you sound during your pitch, the more people will warm to you and want to refer you.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Get up bright and early and you just want to get the pitch out of the way! Everyone in the room was once in your spot, so try not to be too nervous: don’t rush through it – try to relax and speak slowly and clearly.  Once you’ve delivered your pitch, gauge members’ reactions.  Above all else enjoy your moment to show your fellow chapter members what you’re good at.

One thing I think is also important is a good tag line at the end. Something we can remember you by.

  • Just do it? (Nike)
  • It’s the real thing? (Coke)
  • Painting a brighter future for you? (Gj Findlater ;))
  • Don’t leave home without it? (American Express)
  • Building friendship and installing trust? (Kevin Milne)

Quite a group there.

Best one I think has become part of the national language nowadays is It does exactly what it says on the tin. Who did that.

Ronseal quick drying woodstain, started back in 1994.

A good tag line consists of a few words that summarise your business that just spring to mind whenever a member thinks about you. Make it memorable.

So, to recap the fundamentals.

  1. Your Name.
  2. Your Company
  3. What your business does and how it can add value to your needs
  4. Always include your ideal contact
  5. Give us your tag line.

If you want to change your life.

Either practice your swimming or Deliver  that killer 60 seconds


Great advice Niall!




Education Slots

Please see below the rota for education slots to the end of term.

These have been confirmed with members up to the 13th of Nov – thereafter I have allocated slots and topics. Please put the dates in your diaries and let me know if there are any issues.

23rd Oct – Niall Menzies – What makes a good 60 secs

30th Oct – Dave Simpson – Finding referrals

6th Nov – Gareth Findlater – TBC

13th Nov – Andrew Mein – Preparing for your BNI meeting

20th Nov – Heather Morrison – What makes a great 10 min presentation

27th Nov – Kirsty Watson – Inviting/looking after visitors (assuming you’ve done MSP by then!)

3rd Dec – Kevin Milne – Why it’s important to attend BNI training/events

10th Dec – Pam Cradock – Weekly tasks of a BNI member

17th Dec – Fiona Irvine – How to use your BNI membership to grow your business

Resources for your education slot can be found in the Documents area of BNI Connect, listening to BNI podcasts, searching online, or simply from your own knowledge/experience.

If you need any pointers on what to cover, or where to find information, just let me know.