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SBR044: How to Master Face-to-Face Networking, with BNI Founder Dr. Ivan Misner

Smart Business Revolution podcast artwork redIn this episode, I talk with Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of the world’s largest business networking organization, BNI (Business Network International).

I know a lot of people who have participated in local BNI chapters, and many of them swear by it.  BNI has chapters which only take 1 or 2 professionals from a particular vocation (i.e. 1 masseuse, 1 realtor, 1 accountant, etc.) and then the group meets weekly, gets to know one another, and refers business around.

BNI boasts that it generated 5.4 million referrals representing $6.5 billion in business amongst its members last year alone. Not too bad, huh?

Ivan MisnerDr. Misner has written 18 books on the importance of face to face referrals and other subjects, including Networking Like a Pro, Business Networking and Sex, and Masters of Networking (referral links).

In this interview, we discuss:

  • the difference between face-to-face networking and online networking
  • why face-to-face networking still matters in a social media world.
  • how to use networking to establish credibility
  • how to avoid “premature solicitation” when meeting and getting to know people
  • how to be create credibility by increasing your visibility online.


Resources from this Episode:

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How I Ended Up On A Billionaire’s Yacht this Weekend (plus course update)

2014-03-29 18.24.26

(I know you’re all jealous of my deep auburn tan.)

In this post, I want to give you an update on the course I am developing, with your help, on how to connect with influencers and VIPs.

At the bottom of this email, I included a video I shot for you revealing the unexpected response I got from last week’s survey.

But first, I want to tell you a quick story about how I ended up hanging out on billionaire Barron Hilton’s yacht in Cabo San Lucas this weekend.

You read that right.

You know, heir to the Hilton Hotel chain, Mega-billionaire and grandfather to a shy socialite you may have heard of named Paris.

Yeah, that Hilton.

It’s not every day you end up on a billionaire’s yacht, and I thought there were some valuable lessons in how it happened, so I figured I should share it with you.

Here’s the backstory: I was in Cabo this weekend for a little weekend getaway with some friends.

It was one part vacation, one part joint bachelor party for my brother and another of his friends who are both getting married later this year.

So one of the guys (I’ll call him Mike) had a family friend who happened to be on a fishing trip on the Hilton yacht with a bunch of high-rollers.

Mike was in touch with this family friend during the weekend, and arranged for a small group of us to go visit the family friend and the other high-rollers and hang out on the boat for a few hours.

They didn’t want all of our group to come, only a small number of us.

Now before I even knew all of this I had sat next to Mike at dinner one night. He and I started talking about his family business. I’ve had a number of family businesses as clients, so I know the dynamic.

I ended up giving Mike a bunch of advice and tips on his business.

Did I require him to hire me before I would share my advice? No.

Did I keep score, expecting that I could turn around and require Mike to do something for me like a quid pro quo? No.

Did I send him a bill? Well, yes, of course. What do you think I am, an animal?

(Just kidding! I didn’t send him a bill. Yet. ; )

Anyways, when it came time to decide who got to go hang on the bazillionaire’s bizoat, what do you know, I was included among the small group who got to go.

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When I got on the boat, I had the sudden urge to do what most people would do if put in that situation: to start shouting I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat, everybody look at me ’cause I’m sailin on a boat!

Somehow, I repressed that little instinct.

Now, what I really did once I was on the boat is a story for another time. But suffice it to say there were a number of very impressive guys who were successful in their own right on the boat.

What’s the point of all this ? It goes back to what I always talk about: being helpful and of service. It’s about what Keith Ferrazzi, author of the excellent book Never Eat Alone (referral link), calls “real” networking – providing help to others long before you need anything in return.

It’s about not keeping score, but paying it forward and trusting that spirit of generosity will pay off.

Help others, and you will not just make the world a better place, but you’ll also help yourself.

If you do that, you may just find yourself on a billionaire’s boat one day.

Or better yet, owning the boat.

Thank You for Your Survey Responses

Finally, I want to thank you all for your awesome feedback to my survey last week about what you want to see in the course I am developing on how to connect with influencers and VIPs.

The responses were amazing and very insightful.

I shot a very quick video sharing the surprise responses I got.

I am still developing this course curriculum so I need your help.

After you watch the video, leave a comment listing what specific outcome you would want to achieve if you had the skills and the tools to connect with influencers.

Be as specific as possible, such as: “I want to have the confidence to talk to people who are really successful,” or “I want to be able to make small talk with influencers,” or “I want to have a disciplined plan that shows me how to reach out and connect with influencers.”

How to Grow Your Network and Your Income by Creating Your Own Blog, in Under 10 Minutes [with 3 videos]


In this post, I explain about getting started with wordpress blogs. I show you how to set up and install a new wordpress blog.

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SBR043: How to Work a Room with bestselling author and keynote speaker Susan RoAne


Have you ever seen a master mingler work a room? Someone who is really good at diving into a roomful of strangers, making friends and having a blast at the same time? My guest on episode 43 of the Smart Business Revolution podcast is a true master mingler. (I worked for another.) 25 years ago, [...]

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The Formula for Getting More Clients for Your Freelancing Business

I can be difficult to do freelancing and to find clients and customers and new business.

An earlier version of this post appeared at WritetoDone.com. Let’s say you work for yourself. It doesn’t matter what you do. You could be a coach, a consultant, a photographer, or a pet therapist for neurotic cats for that matter. For the sake of argument, let’s just pretend you’re a freelance writer. You’re self-employed. Question: [...]

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SBR042: Gary Vaynerchuk on Why Good Manners are a “Tangible Asset to Your Success”


Gary Vaynerchuk’s first words on this episode of the Smart Business Revolution podcast were: “That’s a really good question. I already like the tone of this interview, and I’ve been doing a lot of these.” What prompted Gary to say that? Find out in today’s episode. The founder of Vaynermedia, vigorous social media advocate, and [...]

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