A great contact sphere can help your business grow beyond expectation. But on the flip side, avoiding one or not being a part of one at all, could cost you time, effort, and profit. BNI founder Ivan Misner describes contact spheres as “a group of business professionals who have a symbiotic relationship.” These professionals are both compatible, yet noncompetitive. The Partners in Profit chapter knows a thing or two about the effectiveness of contact spheres. Last week, I was able to sit down and talk to member Mark Werle about the recent introduction of contact spheres. And how the concept is already adding to the success of their members.
Take a real estate agent, mortgage group, title insurance rep, and appraiser for example. These four people are bound to both do business and refer business to each other. This is normally done through the “know, like, and trust” methodology. Each one is working with clients that have similar needs. But at the same time, require different services. This is how those professionals can have a seamless symbiotic relationship.
Partners in Profit
Take the Partners in Profit BNI chapter for example. This chapter is still relatively new, as they became an official BNI chapter in March of 2017. There are roughly 21 members comprising the chapter. Like many BNI members, Mark was first introduced to BNI through a friend. Although in this case, he was invited to meetings before the official launch of the chapter. Luckily for Mark, he began regularly attending these “business meetings” and was able to get in on the ground floor as the chapter began to blossom.
Why Did He Attend?
But why did he attend in the first place? Well, Mark is the principal owner of his company, Werle Creative. At the time, he was looking to grow his business and needed to find new clients on a regular basis. He wanted to build a business network and referral system. And that’s how BNI so easily fit into his business plan. BNI is an existing system and is easy to fit into your business. In Mark’s words, “It gives you regular and consistent opportunities to talk about business and show the scope of your capabilities and work. It’s a great outlet for my agency.”
Mark specifically wanted to meet business to business minded individuals. Business to business is a huge asset of this chapter.
The “Business Services” Contact Sphere
The Business Services contact sphere is comprised of professionals offering specific services for businesses that need out-sourced help or strategic partnerships. These services range from branding & creative design, website design, and marketing. It also includes accounting & tax services, business consulting, and the many other needs that businesses have. Mark uses it as a way to build up specific resources. He says that members of this sphere want to understand the details of their colleagues’ businesses. Especially in regards to effectively helping and referring them.
Ironically enough, members of the chapter were working in this manner before they even realized what a contact sphere was. Mark says, “The chapter has technically always been using them in an informal way. But now we are focusing in on details and procedures with the specific intention of building each others’ businesses. We use our own personal networks of clients, friends, and family. Not to mention LinkedIn and other social contacts. We make are making a consistent and conscious effort to list out our ideal clients and what we need as a business. This helps to increase the chances of an effective referral. And also helps us to take care of our existing clients through trusted professionals.”
They are still working out the kinks. But so far, the contact spheres have been an incredible tool for professional introductions.
Making the Most of Contact Spheres
There are a few things you can do to get the most out of your contact sphere:
Identify Your Team:
Identify as many professionals as possible that fit within your specific contact sphere. Take a look at what professions your industry tends to work with. This will get you an idea of repetitive and reciprocal referrals.
Identify the Specifics:
Apart from industry, go through your network and find specific individuals fitting into your contact sphere. If you have none, branch out. Go to various networking groups and ask your trusted colleagues.
Invite these people to a chapter meeting. This way you can begin the “know, like, and trust” process. This will begin to form and maintain a potential relationship.
Evaluate the current relationships you already have within the sphere. Do they reciprocate the help you give? Or are you yourself lacking in that area? Ask yourself the harder questions. And make new efforts to grow the contact sphere.
And yes, a developed contact sphere will increase your business. But that alone isn’t enough. You have to work on your small contact sphere as well as developing your overall network. It’s a difficult balance, but with time and practice, you’ll be able to navigate it. Click here to listen to the official BNI Contact Spheres Podcast!
How Contact Spheres Affect Business
For Mark, he describes the effect in three words: major stress relief. He told me, “It’s wonderful to know there are others in your corner ready to help you find new business. And those you trust trying to find you referrals.” The contact sphere also allows him to get out and meet with others he may not necessarily get in front of. This helps him establish both professional and even personal relationships.
So, Go Check Out The Chapter!
When I asked Mark about their weekly chapter meetings, his words were laced with positivity and gratitude. “We are energetic and fun loving. We know and respect the rules and guidelines of BNI, but we make sure to still keep it light!” Giver’s Gain is a core value the group truly takes to heart. And they make sure to do all they can to help their other members. Not to mention, they make sure to welcome new members with open arms.
For more information on the Partners in Profit group, visit their chapter website. Here you can check out chapter statistics, BNI blogs, videos, learn about events, and more! For more information about BNI and to find a chapter to visit, simply click here.