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BNI Chapter Grants Wishes to Needy Children This Holiday Season

This Christmas the Aurora BNI chapter, BNI Team XTreme, took it upon themselves to do something extraordinary for the community in which they work and live.BNI Canada - CAS Basket

The York Region Children’s Aid Society is a non-profit organization that helps children with difficult living circumstances and aims to keep these children safe and whenever possible, with their families. Unfortunately due to a wide variety of circumstances, many of these children are not with family and are alone over the holiday season, so the Children’s Aid Society runs a “Christmas Wish” campaign each year to help add some cheer to these kids’ Christmas.

Many times when the “Wish Lists” come to Children’s Aid, they are asking for things like tooth brushes, deodorant, towels, toys, and yes, even food! Aurora’s Team XTreme was shocked to learn that so many kids desperately want basic necessities and food over the Christmas Season. Team XTreme member Heather Keeling (liaison to Children’s Aid), asked for a vote and the chapter unanimously committed to a $50 donation (minimum) per member to support this cause, however many members went above and beyond!

Team XTreme – having a gift basket specialist in their group – utilized their team talents and had member Trisha Phillips purchase, arrange and wrap individual baskets for the kids. The baskets included a new pillow, towel, laundry detergent, various toiletries, goodies/treats, all inside a laundry basket. Using the power of wholesale purchase, each basket had enough left over to include a $45 gift card to Walmart where the kids can purchase other essentials, food or toys.

This year Team XTreme raised $1,000 for their local Children’s Aid and hope to grow bigger every year! This is the third year the group has been involved with Children’s Aid and some members have family and friends in on it too. This year 100% of the group supported the effort!

Please join us in congratulating Team XTreme for their accomplishment this year and continued support for their initiative in the future.

10 Networking Questions – Part Three

This week we conclude the series of 10 Questions by Bob Burg, intended to help you with your networking. BNI Networking Questions 3

7. What do you see as the coming trends in the widget business?

I call this the speculator question. Aren’t people who are asked to speculate usually important, hot-shot types on television? You are therefore giving them a chance to speculate and share their knowledge with you. You’re making them feel good about themselves.

8. Describe the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your business.

Give people the opportunity to share their war stories. That’s something practically everyone likes to do, isn’t it? Don’t we all have stories we like to share from when we began in business? Something very embarrassing happened that certainly wasn’t funny then but is now? The problem is most people don’t get the chance to share these stories. You, however, are actually volunteering to be that person’s audience.

9 What ways have you found to be most effective for promoting your business?

Again, you are accentuating the positive in this person’s mind, while finding out something about the way they think. However, if you happen to be in the advertising field, absolutely do not ask this question. Why? Because right now, it would be a probing question, and it will be perceived as such by your networking prospect. Eventually you will get to ask that question, but not now.

10. What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?

Almost always, the person will stop and think really hard before answering this question. What a compliment you have paid them. You’ve asked a question that, quite possibly, the people who are closest to them have never thought enough to ask.

10 Networking Questions – Part Two

BNI NetworkingThis week we will be continuing with our theme of 10 Networking Nuggets for use at Networking Functions.

4. What advice would you give someone just starting out in the Widget Business

This is my mentor question. Don’t we all like to feel like a mentor – to feel that our answer matters? Give your new networking prospect a chance to feel like a mentor by asking this question.

5. What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

This is a paraphrase of a question from noted theologian and author Dr. Robert Schuller, who asks, ‘What one thing would you do with your life if you knew you could not fail?’ We all have a dream, don’t we” What is this persons dream? The question gives them a chance to fantasize. They will really appreciate the fact that you cared enough to ask. And you will notice that people always take a few moments to ponder before they answer.

6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?

Asking people who are a little bit more mature in years can be perfect because they love answering the question. They’ve gone through the computer age, the takeover of fax machines, and the transition from a time when service really seemed to matter.

10 Networking Questions – Part One

For the next three weeks we will be looking at Ten Networking Questions for use at Networking Functions. The subject is taken from an article in Masters of Networking by Bob Burg.

I have ten questions in my personal arsenal. They are absolutely not designed to be probing or sales orientated in any way. You’ll notice that they are all friendly and fun to answer and will tell you something about the way the person you are talking to thinks. You are unlikely to need or to have the time to ask all ten questions in one conversation. Know them well enough that you are able to ask the ones you deem appropriate for the particular conversation and time frame.

Here are the first three questions.

1. How did you get started in the widget business?

People like to be Movie of the Week in someone else’s mind. ‘I worked my way through college, then started in the mail room, then blah blah blah, and finally began the fascinating career of selling widgets’.

Let them share their story with you while you actively listen.

2.What do you enjoy most about your profession?

Again, it’s a question that elicits a good, positive feeling. And it should get you the positive response you are seeking.

3. What separates you and your company from the competition?

I call this the permission to brag question. All our lives we are taught not to brag about ourselves and our accomplishments, yet you have just given this person permission to let it all hang out!

Next week we will cover the next three questions from Bob Burg’s 10 Networking Questions.

Givers Gain & Collaborators too


BNI, as we all know, is about building relationships, Givers Gain, Power Teams, referrals and so much more.

Now a couple of members of the BNI Excellence chapter in Boisbriand, north of Montreal, are showing us all that collaboration can be a key part of the successful business mix as well.

Brigitte St-Germain - Benoit LegaultThe two members, Web Developer Benoit Legault and Professional Coach Brigitte St-Germain, joined BNI around the same time in the winter of 2012. They had a One-to-One early on, partly because of their similar timing.

As Brigitte explained the goals, clientele and methods of her company, Virage Coaching, Benoit saw some potential for collaboration. When Benoit described the philosophy of his Web development company, Tactik 13, which is that an effective Web site is one that is always being refined, Brigitte saw some of the same potential.

Virage Coaching is a Montreal firm that provides hybrid coaching for both professional and personal needs, tailored for groups of Advisors, Entrepreneurs and Managers, as well as individual coaching for most people.

How It Works

Virage Coaching, the majority of whose customers are Financial Advisors, had already developed an Excel program that helped their clients segment their clienteles using six specific criteria: assets, annual revenue generated, future potential, referral potential, sustainability of assets and the level of pleasure working with each client. Each of the criteria carries a calculated weighting formula that reflects its overall importance to the segmentation exercise.

The entire process gives a score for each client.

“With the scores, individual Financial Advisors are able to slot each of their clients as an A, B, C, D or E-type client,” says Brigitte. “Some prefer to slot their clients as 1 – star, 2 – star, 3 – star, 4 – star and 5 – star. It’s not our goal to do the slotting. That’s for the individual Financial Advisors to decide, but our point score makes it easy for them to do the slotting.”

While the needs differ with each of the client levels, the point and slotting exercises lead the Financial Advisors to focus more of their time and energy on the clients who generate and have the potential to generate the most revenue, have the longest earning horizons, are the most agreeable with whom to work and so on.

“Another benefit of the system is readily evident when Financial Advisors want to sell their practices,” adds Brigitte. “A segmented business is usually valued 2 to 3 times higher than a practice that is not segmented.”

From Excel to The Web

“We sat down with Brigitte and learned that she needed a Web application that ensured her unique program was secure and could not be copied when it was sold online,” says Benoit. “After analysing most of the possibilities, we made a proposal that Virage Coaching accepted. It took two-to-three months to build the application. Clients are now able to subscribe online and settle the account using a Payment Gateway that was built as part of the application. And there’s no danger of copying.”

“A project like this one was the farthest thing from something off the shelf,” adds Benoit. Using questions, tests and Web creativity, Tactik 13 has brought Virage Coaching from a leading coach and trainer of Financial Advisors, managers and entrepreneurs to a much wider Web audience/clientele.

 The segmentation program is an additional tool that Virage Coaching offers and something that every Financial Advisor needs. “Once the clientele is segmented, the advisors still have to deal with each of the groups,” says Brigitte. “We teach them how to communicate with their clienteles and our coaching helps Financial Advisors get the most out of each of their groups.”

The segmentation is just one part of the Virage Coaching three-year program to help clients achieve success and the desired balance in their personal and professional lives.

Tactik 13, for its part, is continuing to provide small- to medium-sized businesses with its Web Design, E-Commerce Design, Application Development and Marketing services. “The challenge for Tactik 13 is not the new technology but the challenge of addressing specific business needs by developing specific solutions using new technology,” says Benoit Legault. “Most of the people on our team got into this business for the challenges. We are proud of doing things that no one has done before!”

Google+ Hangouts: Great Networking Tool for BNI!

Charles SandorOK, as I write this we are in the middle of a major snow storm here in Oakville, Ontario. I guess being stuck indoors means no face to face networking or business meetings, right?


As the blizzard raged and the roads were impassable, I decided to hold a face to face meeting with 4 of my fellow members from my BNI chapter – The Business Builders of Brampton, Ontario.

I just logged into my Google+ account and started a “Hangout” and invited them to join me. We had a terrific meeting and accomplished a lot.

We were able to network face to face during a blizzard while separated by many miles. It was so easy and you, my fellow BNI’er will love this tool which allowed us to do this.

So what is a Hangout and why would it be a great tool for any BNI chapter? It is the ability to meet, network and dialogue online via video. Oh, and its free!

How can it be used by your chapter?

  • You can hold public or private meetings online with up to 10 people. Great for Power Team meetings when everyone can’t get together physically at one location.
  • In a public hangout, any number of people can “drop in” and watch. Great for BNI presentations if you want to expand the presentation beyond just your chapter members.
  • Public hangouts can be broadcast live on YouTube and also saved for future use as well. Also great for presentations if you want to record and save them for distribution online on your website or blog and other social media platforms.
  • A chapter could conduct their meetings “live” for anyone to drop in and view. Make your Visitor’s day more exciting and a “Must See” event by making it a live broadcast.
  • Create a chapter / BNI testimonials video to showcase just how beneficial your chapter is to business owners.
  • Online BBI’s, another great option. Email each other your BBI worksheets ahead of time and then just “Hangout” and conduct a BBI as if you were actually face to face………which in a sense you are!
  • You can also educate / mentor / tutor new and existing members with the screenshot feature. This turns the video view from you to your desktop view. You can create tutorial videos, hold webinars and even collaborate and edit documents or build presentations together online with Google Drive.
  • BNI members can hold online panel discussions on any topical business subject and have any number of viewers watching. A great way to market yourself and your business knowledge or as a panel, discuss the benefits each panelist has received as a BNI member. Broadcast the discussion live and save it on YouTube. Great promo video for your chapter that you can email to prospective visitors / members.

HangoutPanelI would urge BNI’ers to check out this great feature of Google+. With my own chapter, we have continuously expanded our networking horizons by being the leading chapter in our region in terms of online networking and this attitude has reaped our chapter many benefits.

In 2012 my chapter received the BNI Chapter of the Year Award for our region – The Golden Horseshoe in Ontario Canada.

A large amount of credit goes to our chapter members who embrace technology and expand networking beyond just a weekly BNI meeting and into cyberspace itself.

Our chapter is heavily involved in social media. We have a chapter website and blog. The chapter is featured with each member’s business profile on Facebook and on LinkedIn Company pages. We have a chapter YouTube Channel to feature video playlists for our various members.

My Power Team – The Compass Business Group also has a websiteFacebook site and LinkedIn Company page.

In this day and age a great recruiting tool to expand your chapter is how you use and embrace technology. The traditional methodology and ideals of BNI networking and “Givers Gain” continue to serve BNI members extremely well and this new technology can never replace face to face networking, but it certainly makes for an incredible and robust tool in support of all the best that BNI has always traditionally offered.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about online networking. As an 8 year dedicated networker, I am always happy to help out a fellow BNI’er.

All the best 

Charles Sandor is a web designer and social media developer living in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. He is a long standing member of the BNI Business Builders Referral Networking Chapter Source: http://businessbuildersnetwork.ca/google-hangouts-great-networking-tool-for-bni/

A BNI Welcome Halfway Around the Globe

Members at BNI Gateway in Singapore take turns to list the generated business opportunities or referrals, as well as the value of each concluded contract.

Members at BNI Gateway in Singapore take turns to list the generated business opportunities or referrals, as well as the value of each concluded contract.

Geneviève Langlais, President of BNI Express, was visiting family in Southeast Asia in late-June and early-July which meant she would miss weekly meetings at her chapter in downtown Montreal. Using the Internet she contacted BNI Gateway in Singapore and that chapter’s President, Desmond Seah, quickly got back to her with an invitation for Geneviève to attend their July 3rd breakfast meeting.

“I was curious to see if the Canadian and Asian BNI formulas for meetings were the same and they were,” said Geneviève. “BNI Gateway has 21 active and committed members who take their meetings very seriously and get a lot of business done.”

The business cards of members were presented on a display holder as opposed to in a box. Geneviève found the 60-second presentations followed the BNI structure and that every second was used to the utmost. People’s requests were clear and specific and gave responses during the period for distribution of referrals.

Everything took place in English so it gave Geneviève a chance to practice hers. The people were very warm and welcoming. “They were really surprised and flattered that someone from as far away was there to take part in one of their meetings,” observed Geneviève.

While the format was the same there were some unique aspects. On the tables were plastic clappers to make the applause much louder. Something that struck Geneviève was that late in the meeting there was a coordinator who assigned people to take care of the One-on-Ones. There were people who did it naturally, but others were dispatched by the coordinator.

Geneviève was quite impressed that in the period when concluded business was announced that each person stated the amount of money involved. For example, ’This week I landed a contract worth $10,000 thanks to Mr. X.’  “I found it very stimulating and the numbers that were reported had a lot of zeroes after them,” said Geneviève. “It was a chapter where the exchanges were big. We have since discussed the idea of using this feature at BNI Express in Montreal.”

The plastic clappers used by members at BNI Gateway in Singapore

The plastic clappers used by members at BNI Gateway in Singapore

Summing it all up, Geneviève found the experience was interesting and confirmed that wherever you are or whatever language you speak, the BNI formula is effective. “I found it very enriching to compare the way things are done and to find that what makes a chapter unique is the people who make it up,” concluded the President of BNI Express.

Geneviève Langlais and Annie Collette operate Passerelle Bleue, a creative and dynamic Montreal graphic design firm which is a blue bridge between the imaginative ideas of clients and their concrete realizations.  The realizations have included activity reports, annual reports, brochures, corporate images, directories, folders, graphic signatures, guides, magazines, posters, programs, visual campaigns for events and much more.

Congratulations BNI Members! You Passed 7.1 Million Referrals in 2012!

Hot off the presses, the official statistics for BNI referrals passed worldwide last year have just been released! – Thursday, January 24, 2013

  • In 2012, BNI members passed 7.1 million referrals
  • These referrals generated over $3.3 billion (USD) worth in business for BNI members
  • Since 1985, BNI has generated over $27.7 billion (USD) in business for BNI members (!!!)

Congratulations to BNI members around the world on playing such a huge part in helping the businesses of your fellow members thrive in 2012!  Your dedication to the Givers Gain® philosophy is the reason this organization continues to grow and impact businesses and lives in a phenomenally positive way.

Please feel free to share BNI’s 2012 referral statistics during your International Networking Week® events.  We can’t think of a better way to demonstrate that networking is a truly powerful and life changing tool and that BNI really isChanging the Way the World Does Business®!

*Statistics are calculated based on two doctoral studies–the first done by Dr. Ivan Misner, BNI’s Founder & Chairman, and the second done by Julien Sharp, a business consultant and BNI member based in Colorado.

BNI Agora – Golfing for Breakfast $22,750

Golf is one of life’s true pleasures. At times a guilty pleasure when we should be doing something else. At times a frustrating pleasure when we can’t quite hit the drive, the approach or the putt the way Bubba, Phil or Tiger would, depending on what the shot is. At the very best of times, though, golf can feel like a deed well done.

Frédéric Bédard, BNI Agora and Account Manager at Groupe Domco, Annick Lebourhis, BNI Agora and President of Hémoglobine inc, Michel Cyr, President of Le Berlingot Foundation, Marcel Landry, tournament volunteer and President of Médifice inc, Sébastien Gariépy, President of BNI Agora and Partner with DEVIMO Inc. Evaluators, Suzanne Gobeille, BNI Agora and Yoga professor at Énergie Zen Santé, Gina Petraccone, tournament volunteer, Ms. Isabelle Couturier, V-P of BNI Agora and Notary at Couturier Notaire inc.

That was the case last June 19th when 128 individuals got together at Le Boisé Golf Club in Terrebonne, Qc., to play a round of golf, have a delicious supper and raise money for a really good cause. The event was the second annual BNI Agora Golf Tournament at Terrebonne, northeast of Montreal, this year in support of Le Berlingot Foundation. Berlingot, which is also the word for a single portion carton of milk, is a Montreal charitable organization that provides breakfasts and snacks to some of the youth of south-central Montreal. Without these breakfasts, many would go to school on an empty stomach.

“We really wanted to help needy young people,” said Sébastien Gariépy, President of BNI Agora. “There’s nothing more difficult for a child than starting the day at school on an empty stomach, and there are plenty of kids who do just that in that area of Montreal.” For the purposes of this charity, south-central Montreal stretches from the Jacques Cartier Bridge west to St. Lawrence Boulevard and from Sherbrooke St. south to the Radio-Canada building on René-Lévesque Boulevard.

“This was an extraordinary gift,” said Marcel Landry, who founded Le Berlingot 21 years ago. “We collect between $50,000 and $75,000 each year and that allows us to supply between 20 and 30 thousand meals and snacks. There are no administration costs,” adds Landry, proudly. The food assistance for children is provided at four elementary schools and four or five youth organizations in the neighbourhood.

Gariepy, the President of BNI Agora, is a Partner, Real Estate Appraiser and Specialized Real Estate Consultant with Devimo Inc. in Terrebonne. The BNI Agora Chapter in Terrebonne was started in 2009 and Gariepy joined a short time later.

So who won the tournament? Most people would say the youth of south-central Montreal. Since there wasn’t any official tally, however, the winners were the individuals who left the golf club with a 52” Flat Screen TV, the Breville Cappuccino Coffee Maker, the BBQ, the Ipad, the Ipod, the wine cellar and much much more.

Among the highlights of the day were the draws for helicopter rides, which took place right at the golf course, as well as the presentation of the huge cheque for $22,750 to Michel Cyr, President of Le Berlingot Foundation.

What about next year? “We hope to raise even more money for the youth of south-central Montreal,” said Sébastien Gariépy.

Frédéric Bédard, BNI Agora and Account Manager at Groupe Domco, Annick Lebourhis, BNI Agora and President of Hémoglobine inc, Michel Cyr, President of Le Berlingot Foundation, Marcel Landry, tournament volunteer and President of Médifice inc, Sébastien Gariépy, President of BNI Agora and Partner with DEVIMO Inc. Evaluators, Suzanne Gobeille, BNI Agora and Yoga professor at Énergie Zen Santé, Gina Petraccone, tournament volunteer, Ms. Isabelle Couturier, V-P of BNI Agora and Notary at Couturier Notaire inc.

How to Generate Visitors – BNI Canada Podcast

Today’s podcast focuses on the theme ”How to Generate Visitors”

The following suggestion will assist Chapters to always have a steady stream of visitors (potential customers!) attending their business breakfast. Try it!  It works!

Listen here : How to Generate Visitors – BNI Canada Podcast English

Suggestion One: Every time you have a new member, make sure the New Member Orientation is done properly right after they have been inducted.  This step is crucial, and is the one opportunity that most Chapters miss!

During the orientation, explain that all the existing members have contributed to the Chapter’s growth, usually by sending out 30 letters and or emails of invitation.

(Often the new member will say, “Well, that’s how I came, so-and-so sent me a letter / or email!”)

Then explain that during their orientation they will be given a Contact Sphere and a copy of the invitation letter.  Tell them they will be put on the Speaker’s Showcase list for six weeks out (give them the date).   Ask them to send out 30 letters and or emails  of  invitation  to  business  people  they  know,  or  who  they  would  like  to  make  a presentation  to,  and  invite  them  for  the  day  of  their  presentation!

WHAT  A  GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM TO MARKET THEIR BUSINESS!  And the existing members get to network with their Contact Sphere as well.

Until then ‘’Givers Gain’’

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