BNI Pre-Season Training

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I took an unusual path to get to BNI. I arrived here after a career in sports, playing football in the CFL, sailing in the Olympics, and being part of the crew that won the America’s Cup. One particular lesson I took from my years as an athlete has suddenly become relevant to business right now: the value of preparing for the game. If your business is one of many that are currently affected by Covid-19, there are major changes ahead and you need to be ready to respond. In professional sports, nobody jumps into the game cold. Before the season starts, teams spend weeks drilling plays and learning systems to ensure that we’re strong, prepared, and pumped for the opening game. It would be unthinkable for a team to skip pre-season training because every coach and player knows going through that process is essential if we expect to think, move, and react at an elite level.
Of course, for business, there is no ‘off-season’ so we don’t get to experience those training benefits. Who has the luxury of spending their workweek focusing on strengthening, strategizing, and learning? Well, until further notice, you do right now. This global lockdown may be the off-season we never asked for, but it can also be the opportunity to use BNI as your training facility to get your business in game-shape before your season re-starts.

Never thought of BNI as a sport? Time to start. You’ve got a chapter of teammates, weekly ‘game time’ meetings, 1-to-1 scrimmages, Mentor coaching, and lots of available training, all of it designed around the theme of scoring referral points. When it comes to business networking, BNI is the Major Leagues.

The only thing it’s been missing was a pre-season period to hone your skills. Until now. Your business might re-open in two weeks or two months; until then, here are some BNI training tips to help you get in peak condition while you’re waiting for the opening faceoff/pitch/kickoff:

Become a Student of the Game

Before you make a move, you need to study your teammates, know what they do and how they do it. That means getting to know members in your chapter and learning their strengths. Set up as many 1-to-1 Zoom meetings as possible to discuss where you and your businesses are at present, what changes may occur in the near future, and how you can help each other move towards your goals.

Organize a Power Team of members in related businesses and schedule regular Zoom meetings. Having ongoing brainstorming scrimmages in a small group is a great way to discover fresh ideas and keep each other on track.

Practice Your Shooting

You can’t score if you don’t shoot. In business, you take a shot whenever you approach a client. Do you have something to say that’s new or important? Work on aiming your message through your marketing material, so that when it’s game-time your shot will be hitting nothing but net results. 

Don’t let your shot get blocked. A friendly email to a client asking how they’re doing will help you sneak past the tightest defense. Never underestimate the personal touch.

Mention that you’re part of a team of great shooters. Your fellow BNI members might be the answer for a client who’s stuck at home and needs help. A leaky pipe, an electrical short, connection issues, even online counseling – now as always, let them know you can recommend someone.

Strengthen Those Weak Muscles

Identify your weak spots and work on them. Do you need to become better organized? Is there a project you’ve been putting off? Can you become better at a particular service? Now is the perfect time to take advantage of BNI’s vast educational resources at http://www.bnilearningcanada.com/, or take an online course in your professional field.

Sports and BNI have a lot in common when it comes to playing as a team to rack up winning goals. But BNI is not like sports in one fundamental way: you’re not playing against other chapters. In fact, every chapter is playing on the same side, happy to pass the ball to anyone wearing the BNI team jersey, because they know that helping you score motivates you to help them score as well. Tapping into the expertise and goodwill of your fellow members might be the best workout you can give your business during this ‘off-season’. Now get out there and Play Ball!

BNI ’s mission is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referral marketing program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.

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