BNI Networking Lessons to Land a US Client
Posted On: February 17, 2020
As a start up selling your company’s products or services to potential and ongoing clients, it can be argued, is the responsibility of everyone working in the start up. Being able to do so is a crucial element to being able to not only get projects, but in getting better projects. The more team members in your start up that can communicate this effectively, the better.
This was perfectly summed up by a CEO of an IT startup we coached who said,
We must always sell ourselves, even after we got the assignment. That’s why it’s important for our developers to know how to communicate, convince, negotiate and build effective relationships.
How to Introduce Your Business In Networking Events
Getting [Better] Projects
The infographic, above, used courtesy BNI Middle Tennessee, Kentucky and Southern Indiana sums up a formula to create the perfect USP – Unique Selling Point introduction. While this infographic is meant to help entrepreneurs introduce themselves at networking meetings, very similar formulas can be used by you and your employees to represent your company and unique offerings in the community.
In training and corporate coaching sessions with IT professionals in small start ups (10-200 employees) in India, I stress that every single employee is a brand ambassador of the company. Startups aspire to be the next Microsoft or Apple, but until they get that status, they aren’t there yet. They need to find a way to introduce themselves to the world and make their mark. Employees are start up’s brand ambassadors in the community, on LinkedIn (some may argue, on Facebook as well) and for sure at networking events, trade shows and professional conferences. Employees and team member should know how to represent the company and communicate its USP (unique selling proposition) with confidence and ease in a conversational way.
When coaching team members on this exercise, I stress to them NOT to copy these words off of the company website, but craft it from their own perspective. This exercise takes time to be able to create the proper flow in words as well as how to say it confidently in a very natural way so it doesn’t sound rehearsed. This is why I also emphasize the importance of having more than one introduction or versions of the same introduction so you don’t sound like a broken record. You don’t want to get bored when saying it. If you sound bored, your listener will also feel that and lose interest in your discussion. Yes, while, sometimes introductions could sound more like a sales pitch than normal conversation, the essential element here is to be able to creatively weave these introductions into our natural small talk conversations while meeting and greeting in professional environments. Not an easy task for anyone, but able to be done by anyone with a bit of coaching and practice.
For English As Second Language Speakers
American English Idiom Meaning: Broken Record
See video on YouTube
Project Maintenance and Negotiation
During project deployment, employees and team members have to speak on an ongoing basis with clients and stakeholders. Having a good understanding of the company’s successes, abilities and limitations and how to communicate these effectively helps in ordinary, daily status update meetings [stand ups] and other project deliverable discussions. Why? When team members know more about the abilities and limitations and how to communicate these to the client or stakeholders in an effective manner it can help with tricky situations like when new features are requested, time lines need to be crunched, or other project changes that require projects to take different directions that may not be 100% doable. While this area of communication is what I would consider to be the next step to the introduction process, as it encompasses more of a business approach, these conversational tactics are critical for employees and team members to know how to handle effectively across cultural contexts, to be able to do business and work effectively over a long term.
To get your team on board and ready to represent your up-and-coming brand, contact Authentic Journeys for more information. We provide thorough programs to ramp you up to work on virtual, global IT teams.
BNI is the largest business networking organization in the world. They provide a positive, supportive, and structured environment to exchange quality business referrals. Visit their Facebook page to keep in touch and learn more.
Pictures of Jennifer Kumar showcased in this article from a BNI event in Kochi, India in 2019.
Original Post Date: Feb 2016
Update: Feb 2020