Hate Making Cold Calls? You Don’t Have To

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Business networking replaces frustrating, low-return method.

And networking groups pay off handsomely in terms of referral business

Cold calling makes you feel pretty lousy, right? You end up with a lump in your stomach, an injured ego, and very little to show for it. You can’t really fault the people you call, either. They don’t know anything about you.

According to Dr. Ivan Misner, a business professor at Cal Poly in Pomona, CA, and CEO of the world’s largest networking firm, it’s what – and who – they don’t know that can hurt you.

How to make sure they know you? The key, says Misner, is diversifying your networking portfolio. “If you’re serious about generating business through referrals, no single group or type of networking organization will serve all your needs. The best strategy is to select a well-rounded mix of organizations and to join or attend no two of the same type.”

Misner, founder of BNI (Business Network International), describes several types of networking groups commonly used to generate business referrals:

  • Casual-contact networks – general business groups such as chambers of commerce
  • Strong-contact networks – groups that allow only one member per profession and meet expressly to exchange leads
  • Community service clubs – like Rotary and Kiwanis
  • Professional associations – groups of people in a single industry or profession who meet to exchange ideas
  • Social/business groups – dual-purpose organizations like the Jaycees that combine business and pleasure
  • Women’s business organizations – groups paralleling the “old-boy networks” that formerly excluded females

For years, BNI has been based on the notion that referrals are the best way to bring in business. “And networking groups pay off handsomely in terms of referral business,” says Misner. “Perhaps the best thing about referrals is that they bring in customers with a positive attitude, customers who trust the business because they believe their friends or associates.”

BNI (http://www.bni.com) is a referral networking organization, which at last count had over 4,000 individual chapters in 25 countries worldwide. BNI’s Founder & CEO, Dr. Ivan Misner is the author of several book’s including the NY Times best-seller, Masters of Networking, (http://www.MastersofNetworking.com) and the recently released #1 best-seller, Masters of Success (http://www.MastersofSucces.biz).


Michael Drew


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