Welcome to the Champions Chapter of SoCal BNI!

The Champions Chapter of SoCal BNI was founded in April of 2004 and has grown to 32 members! We meet at the Meridian Club in Fullerton, California on Tuesday mornings at 7:30 AM. We would love for you to visit our chapter and consider joining our very diverse and successful group of professionals. For further information, please contact the President, Allen C. Buchanan at 714.564.7104 or email me at abuchanan@lee-associates.com

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Champions Microsoft Tag

Woooooooo, CHAMPIONS!!

OK, this is REALLY cool!! You will need to download the tag reader on your smart phone to read the code to the left. The website is http://gettag.mobi. Once you have the reader, point toward the code and you will be delivered directly to the blog from your mobile device!! More to come on this exciting technology!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Episode 178: “Yeah, But I’m Different”, Official BNI Podcast

In this week's podcast, Dr. Misner talks about the “Yeah, But” syndrome, which is really just an excuse to avoid doing something we don’t want to do. When it comes to ourselves, we’re always the exception. We think rules are for other people. But there’s no good excuse for avoiding personal development. Stop trying to avoid the proven methods. The basics work. No exception. BNI operates in 44 countries. Our chapter, your profession, can succeed if you’re willing to put in the effort. We’ll all be better off if we stop hiding behind our differences and look for the similarities.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chapter Success Forum, Lem Style!!

What do Mimi's in Tustin, Lem Bucago, a room full of motivated energetic people, and Champions have in common??...if you guessed Chapter Success Forum, you are correct!! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!! The first Chapter Success Forum of the new term was held yesterday at the Mimi's on 17th in Tustin. We were fortunate to have at least three chapter presidents in attendance as well as 25 other BNI faithful.
Lem Bucago, SoCal BNI Director of the Champions, Business Connection, and Yorba Linda BNI and a member of Velocity hosted the meeting and kept the content flowing and interactional! Many, many great ideas were discussed including:
How are we doing in our new roles?
Great!! Harold from the Firm, Spectacular!! Dan Canzoni from Orange BNI
What new meeting ideas have emerged?
A vote on the best SMM, from Network Builders, a blog from Champions, and several new Facebook Business and Group pages.
Some issues that have arisen:
Transitions, Rosanne Grigsby, Champions. Harold from the Firm pre-empted the transition by allowing the new L/T to transition 30 days prior to the 1st of October to ease the pain. Bill Edman, from the Champions is getting used to his new role in membership. Bill from Business Connections believes that the Member Minimums have helped.
Networking strategies that work:
Bring enough cards, don't come and sit, check in and move around, stay before and after, have an action strategy, and participate!!
Attracting visitors:
Stack days, the "Kitty" infusion, identifying members within the same company that could join another BNI chapter, intra chapter competitions, turn a "cold call" into a visitor, fortune in the follow up, and visitor days.
Lem closed with a hearty announcement to attend the Member Day at the International conference on November 12th at the Garden Grove Hyatt!!
Forums rock!!

President's Weekly Letter, Champions SoCal BNI

Today marked another great meeting with the Champions! We welcomed two visitors, Janell Ruck, an account executive with Merchant Services and Fred Chen, the VP and Manager of Preferred Bank in Anaheim. We were also honored to have Jay Fullman, a business attorney from La Habra and an active member of the Go Getters BNI chapter in La Habra and Marieke Hensel, the owner of Branding Personality, a star from Liaisons BNI and the wife of our very own Rutger Hensel. Rutger had a late night conversing with international clients, so Marieke subbed for him.
New Member:
Today was also highlighted by our first new member induction of the 2010-2011 term, and my first as President of the Champions...Douglas Luchansky of ACI. Doug's induction was enhanced by the presence of Patrick O'Kane who invited Doug to attend and his new mentor (Rutger), Marieke Hensel. Doug sells and services software for the manufacturing industry and should prove to be a great resource for our chapter. Welcome Doug!! Please schedule a on-to-one with Doug and learn about his vast knowledge of the Mass software system!
EC Moment:
Steven Stakley, our Head Mentor delivered the EC moment with a breakdown of the mentors and their mentees. The goal of the mentors this year is to follow a member from "cradle to rocking chair" with the same mentor, build our skills and retain our strong chapter membership!
VP and Membership:
Greg Beck reviewed the chapter's goal progress with one-to-ones, visitors, referrals, and TYFCB. Membership is considering two applications. Victoria, our Collette's Catering server, received the "spark plug" award and is officially the only non BNI member to achieve the honor. Our meetings wouldn't be the same without the diligence of Victoria!!
The Sales Manager Moments were crisp and pointed and the Champions are getting very good with the "ask"...critical in receiving quality referrals. The evidence of training is apparent in our delivery. Of note, Rosanne asked for intros to bankers that originate SBA loans...Chuck Tipton?? Jody Houseman would like introductions to interior designers as the holiday season is approaching and everyone wants to "spruce up" their homes.
We were enlightened by two wonderful keynote speakers...Patrick O'Kane (his maiden voyage) of Turnkey Mortgage and Bo Lowe with Graceful Appreciations...a BNI vet but his first keynote since changing categories. Some irony existed as Patrick is now the home loan specialist of the Champions...Bo's old category. Bo doesn't know home loans anymore but Patrick certainly does!
Patrick explained the difference between a "captive" mortgage lender and a mortgage broker...Patrick's specialty. The primary difference is the fiduciary responsibility of the broker to the borrower in insuring the borrower gets the BEST loan. Patrick skillfully outlined great referrals for his services which include: a borrower that is upside down, your mom or dad or other relative, someone desiring a fix from a variable rate loan, a new home buyer uncertain how much they can afford, or a borrower in a pinch. Please work hard to deliver Patrick those referrals...he won't disappoint!
Bo Lowe eloquently listed the five reasons that clients look elsewhere for services: pricing, competitive offer, an unresolved conflict, a move, or a perceived indifference. Graceful Appreciation, through the Send Out Cards platform allows busy professionals to "thank" their clients for business and keep in touch with them on a personal level that faxes, emails, blog posts, or texts just cannot accomplish. My company, Lee and Associates Commercial Real Estate Services, is a believer and we are a satisfied customer of Graceful Appreciations!
Dr. Hercules Real circulated a phone script which will be used as a follow up to the invitations that SoCal BNI emails. More to come on inviting...Don't forget, Stack Day is November 16th and we want to fill the room with Business Attorneys, Merchant Service providers and Hair Stylists. We grew exponentially last year with Stack Days and this year should be no different if we all invite, invite, invite!!
Rosanne Grigsby covered the monthly fee increase to $75 per month commencing November 1, 2010 and a special assessment for the months of December, January, and February. Members are encouraged to pay monthly, eliminate the quarterly payments to ease the payment vacuums. Thanks to all for your support!!
International Member Day is the 12th of November at the Garden Grove Hyatt! You don't want to miss this event!!
The meeting was adjourned with a quote and several members scurried downstairs for their committee meetings and one-to-one meetings!
Make it a CHAMPION week ya'll!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jim Sando, Our EC on Networking

Jim Sando, from the Strategic Results Group delivers a wonderful EC Moment on that critical first 15 minutes of your BNI meeting. Are you using that time efficiently? Watch here and find out! Thanks to Robert A. Perez for his production of the video!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What is the most effective way for a BNI chapter president to motivate members to bring visitors and grow the chapter?

This question was posed by Pablo Scodellaro. Pablo is a bookkeeper from Sydney, Australia. I believe the subsequent comments from BNI members around the world warranted posting. When you read these comments, you realize how small the world has become and how social media connects us! I hope that you enjoy the comments and learn from the advice.

From Deepak Garg, an ophthalmologist from India:
"I don't know if there is one best way, but i would say that many ways are to be adapted to enable members to get more visitors. We at our chapter give weekly awards to the person who gets the maximum visitors for the previous four weeks. Also we have a hot seat programme, we write down everyone's name on a chits of papers and pick up, lets say five and these five members then have to bring visitors by hook or by crook in the next BNI meeting."

Allen C. Buchanan, a Commercial Real Estate Broker from Orange County, California:

I believe the best way to motivate the group is by example. I just began my president's term last week and have as a personal goal to have at least one visitor per week. Also, if your chapter has an active visitor host and open categories and attends chapter success forums, the region will send visitors to your chapter. We have had great success with Stack Days as a way to invite. Lastly, if I receive a cold call from a vendor, I ask them to attend my BNI meeting. If they are serious about building their business, they will see the benefit.

From Marty Morris, a printer from Ireland:

"Like Allen, i too have just started a term as Chapter Director (President), I believe the most effective way to promote the invitation of visitors is by PERSONAL EXAMPLE. I have seen this work in the past, and it is a great motivator for the chapter members, particularly, when the end of the month stats become available, to all of the chapter members."

Marty Morris Chapter Director, Castle Chapter, Dublin, Ireland.

From Frank Roe, a business mentor from Lancaster, UK:

"I took on the Membership Co-ordinator role for my Chapter from last week. We are working on a number of factors, personal example being a very good one. Our active Visitor Hosts and Visitor Orientators have worked closely with the previous Chapter Director and now with his successor in helping to find and bring in visitors. Both Chapters in our town are combining to host a new format "information and recruitment" event next month. We are concentrating on filling the open categories in both Chapters. Our 6 months goals include achieving target membership numbers. This event is being well supported by our Acting Regional Director and Assistant Director."

Frank Roe, Membership Co-ordinator, Redwulf Chapter, Kendal, South Lakeland.

From Dave Clark, a business consultant from Chattanooga, Tennessee:

"I will ask a question for all. How do you attract new customers? For us (A to Z Printing and Marketing), we bring a new visitor about once a month. You market your company, well BNI is "our company, sales team, biz partner, mentors and support network". Please email us at salesa2z@volfirst.net for some marketing Ideas and I will share some of our marketing tips."

From Lisa J. Raymond, a graphic designer from Phoenix, Arizona:

"I agree with Allen, leading by example. As the current VP for our chapter, I've taken postcards provided by BNI and filled out our chapter's information and my name; then, when I meet someone looking for a networking group, I hand them a postcard, inviting them to come join us for breakfast. We also have a regional coordinator helping the chapters fill positions by request of each chapter. For example, if our chapter is looking for a realtor (and ironically, we are), I e-mail a request to this coordinator asking them to send realtors looking for a chapter toward our group. We're just trying this for the first time this week, and we may have a couple of guests this next week! Our Education Coordinator is also challenging us with visitors by scheduling a monthly "visitor day", targeting one industry rather than three.

Remember to cite the number of referrals passed, how many are golden and explain to visitors what a golden referral is, and how much referral dollars your chapter has done thus far.

Last thought: there is no "cost" to joining any networking organization; rather, it is an investment toward the health and well-being of their business. Try breaking down the investment into a daily or weekly number so visitors can easily see how little investment it takes, but the overall impact and ROI for them would be substantial!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

President's Weekly Letter, Champions SoCal BNI

Woooooooo CHAMPIONS!! (watch above for the inspiration for our meeting opener)

Well today, I felt like "flying the plane" (running the BNI meeting) was on auto pilot! For the first time in three weeks, the meeting seemed to flow and the Champions were out in force! The room was filled with visitors, the EC moment was smart and pointed, the 30 second SMMs were timely and contained great asks, the keynote presenters had great content to share! The rain outside cast a gloom and snarled the SoCal freeways but the Champions were radiant inside!


We welcomed five visitors this week: Maurice Herron from Stratus Building solutions returned for his second visit and commented during the Stand and Deliver "our enthusiasm caused him to demand his boss write the check for application". Douglas Luchansky of ACI, visited for the second time and commented that "he had an intro to a company from an ask of two weeks ago!" Jack Charles from Alpha Property Inspectors visited and commented that "the enthusiasm was contagious!" Joseph Davis, an estate attorney, visited for the second time and commented that "he couldn't wait to become a Champion!" David Hibbard from Dialexis had several VERY complimentary things to say about our chapter. WAY TO WELCOME THOSE VISITORS!!!

EC Moment:

Jim Sando delivered a well rehearsed and informational EC moment with conviction on the importance of an agenda when networking. Know the who, what, when , where, and why that you want to accomplish before you network. GREAT JOB JIM!

Spark Plug Award:

To Robert Perez on his tireless efforts in video taping our meetings! Way to Go!!


We have four New Apps and four Renewal Apps!


Clay Colwell spoke on residential appraisals and Aric Gless recapped access issues relating to ADA compliance. Clay's years of experience persuaded him to recant several "war stories" about square footage discrepancies, under and over values, and probate matters. Aric creatively forwarded to all of the chapter members the following reminders about his keynote...a VERY well timed reminder indeed!

1. You don’t need an elevator

· The California Building Code states that the first floor above and below ground level is not required to be accessible by a ramp or elevator.

o But every activity that happens on those levels much be available to be held on the ground level.

2. Retrofitting existing buildings has its limits

· It’s only required when construction happens.

· Only the path of travel from the street to the area of work has to be upgraded for accessibility.

o Spaces outside of this path & area, even if in the same suite don’t have to be touched.

· The Building Code “cost threshold” determines the amount of retrofit.

o If total construction cost is below this threshold, only 20% of that cost must be used for accessibility.

3. There is a total exemption for certain scopes of work

· The California Building Code states that certain limited scopes of work do not trigger accessibility work.

o Projects limited to painting, flooring, doors, windows, electrical, air-conditioning do not require accessibility retrofit to be done.

o But each of these installations much be fully code compliant in themselves (e.g. doors must be right size with right hardware)

Next week, Bo Lowe and Patrick O'Kane will be speaking. This is Patrick's first keynote as a Champion! Good luck Patrick!

Growth and Retention:

Our GRC committee reviewed the process of entering visitors on the SoCal BNI website. Remember, Stack Day is November 16th and we are trying to fill three important categories...Business Attorney, Merchant Services, and Hair Stylist!

The meeting was adjourned with an action quote: "Our mistakes will not irreparably damage our lives, unless we let them." by James E. Sweeney The action is to forgive your self for a mistake that you have made!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Evening Among the Stars, Images Available!!


For those who attended (and even those that didn't) the "Evening Among the Stars" Gala a couple of weeks ago, the images are now available for purchase at Ivan Vejar Photography. You can visit the website by clicking here. These images make great Christmas gifts for those "hard to buy for" family members! Or, they just make a great keepsake from a fantastic evening...Plus, Ivan is a BNI member sooo your order counts as a BNI referral and a TYFCB.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

BNIs International Conference in SoCal!!

From Jenni Nering, our Executive Director:

BNI's Int'l Conference is soon approaching and I'm excited to share that registration is now open for the once-a-year Members' Session Day.

Members' Session Day

At the BNI Int'l Conference

With Harvey Mackay

November 12th, 2010

Join us at BNI's 25th Anniversary Celebration! Network with over 600 hundred Directors and members from around the world!

Our keynote speaker is Harvey Mackay, syndicated columnist, and author of the #1 bestseller Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. His newest book Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You, was released this year. Toastmasters International named him one of the top five speakers in the world!

The cost for this event is only $45.00 per person, including a continental breakfast, event manual, and BNI gifts. In addition to our keynote speaker, there will be numerous educational and informative breakout sessions.

The event will be held on Friday, November 12th, 2010.

Check-in & networking at 7:00am and program begins promptly 8am & concluding by 1:30pm.

It will be held at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, 11999 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, CA 92840, (714) 750-1234. Seating is limited! Tickets will NOT be sold at the door: you must pre-register!

Please note: Self-parking is $15.00 and valet parking is $19.00 at the Hyatt.

Important Registration Details:

Reservations can only be made online at www.bnievents.com.

Credit card payment required at the time of registration. Please print your confirmation receipt for your records.

No registrations will be accepted after 5:00pm on Friday, Nov. 5th.

If you have any questions, please contact Lonie Misner-Feigerle at Lonie@bni.com; 909.608.7575 ext. 129.

I will see you there!!!!

Jenni Nering

Executive Director



888-476-5350 ext 3 (office)


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

President's Weekly Update

Wooooooo, Champions!!!

The meeting today was enthusiastic, fast paced and fun filled! We welcomed four visitors today; Maurice Herron from Stratus Building Solutions, Joseph Davis from the law firm of Joseph Davis, Paula E. Meyer from the law firm of Paula E. Meyer, and Marc Berg from the RSH Group. Additionally Desiree Stimson from DSYL visited from the Velocity Chapter and Ed Johnson from the Prosperity chapter subbed for Jody Houseman. The Champions SoCal BNI chapter was honored to have its Director, Lem Bucago and a former Champion and Executive Director of SoCal BNI, Jenni Nering in attendance. Thanks to Lem and Jenni for making the day a special one!

Jim Sando delivered a noteworthy Educational Moment on the importance of categories and the various categories within a category that may exist.
The spark plug award this week was awarded to Jenni Nering for her tireless efforts in the Evening Among the Stars Gala on October 1, 2010. Thanks for a memorable evening, Jenni!!

Lem Bucago and Jenni Nering were the week's key note speakers and delivered the Champion's category awards for the BNI year of 2009-2010. Leaders in Trainings, 1-2-1 Meetings, Referrals, Visitors, Attendance, and Longevity were awarded and are outlined below. Recognition was also given to the outgoing Leadership Team...Cathy Nanadiego, President, Emily Davidson, Vice President, and Chris Vasquez, Secretary/Treasurer...GREAT JOB!! Let's make 2010-2011 even better!!!

· Hercules – 7 · Jody – 7 · Aric – 8
· Allen – 13

· Bill – 13


· Emily – 52 · Steve Barnett – 58 · Jim Sando – 62 · Jim Salem - 64 · Stakley – 71

· Rutger – 73 · Bill – 83 · Aric – 95 · Brett – 97 · Cathy – 99 · Greg – 106

· Allen – 262


· Emily – 51 · Bill – 52 · Stakley – 53 · Hercules – 55 · Bo – 56 · Cathy – 69

· Brett – 116

· Allen – 424


· Cathy – 10 · Rutger – 10 · Brett – 14

· Allen – 19


· Allen – 1 year (no subs)

· Greg – 2 years (no subs)


· Jim Sales – 3 years

· Cathy – 3 years

· Clay – 4 years

· Brett – 4 years

· James Kashi – 5 years

· Bo – 6 years

· Hercules – 6 years

· Steven Stakley – 6 years

· Greg – 6 years

TYFCB ($):

· Greg – 20,928 · Cathy – 21,260 · Stakley – 23,101 · Hercules – 23,991

· Allen – 87,357

Emily Davidson and Dr. Real presented the Stack Day Teams, Captains and Rules:

The Stack Day is scheduled for November 16th. We are asking for a minimum of 10 invitees from each member from any of these three categories:

Business Attorney

Hair Dresser

Merchant Services

We have split the chapter into teams and you will receive points based on the number of visitors invited, visitors attending, and visitors joining! The team with the most points will win a prize. Here is the list of Teams, with the captains listed first in Bold letters:

Red Team:Tom Roberts, Emily Davidson, Hercules Real, Aric Gless, Bill Edman, Jim Salem, Chris, Vasquez

Blue Team: Angelo Dionisiou, Steve Barnett, Jody Houseman, Rosanne Grigsby, Steven Stakley, Clay Colwell, Richard Lane

Yellow Team: Ela Corcoran, Robert Perez, Rutger Hensel, Brett Adolf, Jim Sando, James Kashi, Bo Lowe

Green Team: Paul Kwik, Greg Beck, Allen Buchanan, Gary Lorge, Chuck Tipton, Patrick O’Kane, Michael Figueroa

In order to receive points for inviting, names need to be submitted to your team captain, on the attached spreadsheet, by Friday, October 15th at 5:00 p.m.

(Remember - More invitees equals more points so feel free to invite beyond 10 people!)

You may continue to invite visitors on your own after this deadline, and will receive points for the visitors that attend.

(Since we have no way of tracking visitors invited individually and/or through the BNI website, we cannot grant points for those invitations. Sorry L)

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or any member of the GRC team!

The meeting was closed with a quote by Benjamin Franklin..."Well done is better than well said!"

Please make it a Champion's Week!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Commercial Real Estate Power Team

Aric Gless, Chuck Tipton and I have formed a Commercial Real Estate Power Team (CREPT) and we conducted our first meeting on Friday October 8 at JT Schmid's in Anaheim.
The topics discussed were: meeting frequency, additional members that could benefit, referrals and introductions that we could make to each other and marketing ideas.

Meeting Frequency:

We decided to meet every other week for breakfast or lunch. Our next meeting will be held at Mimis Restaurant at 17th and the 55 Freeway at 7:00 AM on the October 20th.

Additional Members and Visitors:

As a commercial general contractor is a pivotal position for our practices and in the top ten "most wanted" list for the Champions SoCal BNI chapter, we are on red alert to locate the right general contractor that can receive our referrals and participate in our power team. Aric has extensive contacts in the area and has invited Kirk Christensen of Suncoast Builders to visit our nest PT meeting. We also discussed inviting Raymond Handling Solutions. Raymond provides warehouse racking, conveyor systems, and forklifts to industrial building owners and occupants.

Referrals and Introductions:

Introduced to the group were Thierry Montoya of Adorno Yoss who is an environmental attorney, Dave Hibbard who trains companies and individuals on prospecting, Scott Jones who is the BDO for White Nelson, and Ryan Swanson who is selling a building in Corona to a company that will need commercial building financing. We spoke about our roles as "creators" and how each of us can engage numerous members of the chapter through our business generation.

Marketing Ideas:

1. Distributing the "new listings" that I receive weekly in anticipation of architectural needs and providing the introductions.

2. Distributing the new "purchase requirements" that I receive weekly in anticipation of financing needs and providing the introductions.

3. Sending Chuck's young guys to a prospecting class to enable them to "prospect" for requirements in the market.

4. Having each member of the PT send me a paragraph on an industry "hot topic" for the week to be incorporated into my Location Advice blog.

5. Refining each of our 30 second commercials to make them more impactful...Chuck will ask for attorney introductions and Aric will "go green"!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Do You Do?

This article recently appeared in the Orange County Register and was penned by Robert Pagliarini and is titled "How to Answer “What Do You Do?”I believe that we can all benefit from the tips contained here. Enjoy!

By Robert Pagliarini Oct 4, 2010

Have you ever noticed how even the most introverted guests on talk shows always have such great stories? Is it because they have more charisma or can think better on their feet? No. These “impromptu” stories are well rehearsed. In fact, your favorite stars craft these stories days or even weeks in advance and then tell the show’s producers so the host can ask the right questions. Is this cheating? Not at all. When you only have a few minutes on TV, you want to make sure you pack as much punch into the limited time you have. If this strategy can work for Brad Pitt and Jessica Alba on the Tonight Show, it can certainly work for you in job interviews and at cocktail parties.

If you’re like the rest of us, there are two questions that you get asked daily that you completely blow: “What do you do?” and “How have you been?” These questions provide you with great opportunities to make meaningful connections and grow relationships.

This week, we’ll tackle the ubiquitous “What do you do?” question that causes even the best of us to stumble. Rather than continue to muff this question, I’m going to show you how to make it TV worthy by helping you prepare a scripted, yet compelling response you can use over and over again. Keep these six tips in mind:

  1. Aim for 15 to 25 seconds. The typical response is less than two seconds (e.g., “I’m in insurance” or “I’m an executive assistant”), but you want your response to be 15 to 25 seconds in length. That’s considerably longer than you’re probably used to, and it may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but anything shorter than 15 seconds won’t give you enough time to share everything you need.

  2. Focus on what, not where. It’s okay to mention the company you work for, but you then have to follow it up with what you do there. Instead of saying “I work at IBM” or “I work for a real estate company,” focus on what you do there. According to Dan Abelon, co-founder and president of SpeedDate.com (who better to ask about how to quickly make a great first impression?), he suggests describing what you do in terms of why it is important. For example, instead of “I’m an accountant at a hotel chain,” say “As an accountant at a hotel chain I look for opportunities to save the company money and to make sure we manage our assets so we can continue to grow.”

  3. Ditch titles. So you’re the assistant vice president of operations? Sounds impressive, but nobody knows what that means. If you have an impressive title, feel free to share it, but immediately follow it up with a simple explanation.

  4. Keep it simple. In the 1993 film, Philadelphia, Denzel Washington’s character asks throughout the film, “Explain it to me like I’m a six-year old.” If you want to communicate effectively, pretend you’re talking to a child. If you’re worried you’ll come across as insulting, you won’t. You’ll come across as refreshing and engaging.

  5. Get personal. Be sure to mention any hobbies you have, non-work projects in which you are involved, and/or charities where you volunteer. Also, don’t be shy about briefly mentioning your family.

  6. Leave ‘em hanging. The best responses are those that pique the listener’s interest and that lead to more questions.

If you’re struggling a bit, use this template to get started:

“I am a [job title] at [company name]. What this means is that I [describe what you do and why it is important]. When I’m not helping [reiterate who you serve], I love to [insert hobbies, passions, and/or information about your family].”

Here’s an example of a good response:

“I am an executive assistant at ABC Company. What this means is that I make my boss look great by managing her calendar, keeping her organized, and helping her focus on the bigger goals. When I’m not helping my company grow, I love to go to the park with my three children, cook fancy French cuisine, and volunteer at Saddleback Church.”

By answering the “What do you do?” question like this, you are giving the listener many more options to connect with you. Imagine you are casting a fishing line into the water. Think of each bit of information you provide as an extra hook. The more hooks your line has the more opportunities your listener can connect with you.

Mark Twain is quoted with saying, “I never could make a good impromptu speech without several hours to prepare it.” Now it’s your turn. What do you do?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Champions SoCal BNI President's Weekly Letter

Woooooooooo, CHAMPIONS!!!
The New leadership year was embraced by all who attended the meeting this week. Allen Buchanan opened the meeting with a new Champions SoCal BNI greeting, Wooooooooo, CHAMPIONS! This is reminiscent of "calling the hogs" in Allen's native Arkansas.
We welcomed three visitors and one substitute and the room was full of Champions enthusiasm.
Jim Sando, Education Coordinator, delivered his first EC Moment and based his presentation on "How to Improve Your BNI ROI". Jim's presentation encompassed four key points: use your open networking time more effectively, use your Sales Manager Moment more effectively, use the speaker's presentation time more effectively, and finally use your "Stand and Deliver" time more effectively. Great Job, Jim and we are eager to hear more education messages from you!
Allen Buchanan was the leader in one-to-one meetings and referrals for the month of September and Rosanne Grigsby invited the most visitors. Emily Davidson won the spark plug award for her diligent efforts on membership issues for the past two weeks and her skillful execution of the BNI Family Feud last week.
Greg Beck reported that the chapter participated in 209 one-to-one meetings, exchanged 112 referrals, and welcomed 10 visitors for the month of September. Additionally the Champions thanked others for $49,533 in closed business raising the BNI yearly total to $638,531! Tremendous effort Champions!!
Rosanne Grigsby introduced the speakers for this week. Dr. Hercules Real spoke about Snap on Smile and his special promotional price of $999 for cash payment or $99 per month for 12 months. Dr. Real also reviewed several images of dental issues to note when we are conducting our weekly activities. Allen Buchanan spoke about his "Spheres of Influence" and the five professionals that most small businesses rely upon for advice, CPAs, business attorneys, commercial bankers, commercial insurance brokers, and wealth advisors. Allen also demonstrated the new blog site and facebook page for the Champions SoCal BNI Chapter.
Dues for October are now due and payable. A late charge of $5 per week will be assessed on all late payments.
Emily Davisdson outlined our "Top Ten" list. They are:

1. Business Attorney

2. Hair Dresser

3. Merchant Services

4. General Contractor

5. Electrician

6. Roofer

7. Estate Attorney

8. HR Consultant

9. Personal Fitness Trainer

10. Heating & Air Conditioning Company

Emily also reserved four Stack Days for the upcoming year...November 16, February 15, May 17th, and August 16th.
Allen adjourned the meeting with a quote and asked that all of the Champions make it a Champion Week!

Monday, October 4, 2010

6 Tips to Make Networking Events More Beneficial

Bryan Elliott of Linked OC.com recently penned this article that I believe can be helpful in our networking efforts. You can email Bryan at Bryan@linkedoc.com.

"With all the great events coming up I thought I'd put together a list that might be helpful:

Top 6 Tips To Make Attending Events Worth It:

If you're like me you've been to a bunch of networking events, seminars and business conferences. Some are good and some have been really bad, right? I'm not going to focus on the bad stuff, but suffice to say I created Linked Orange County because I couldn't find what I was looking for out there. Now, we're far from perfect and there's lots of room for improvement, but we are trying to do things differently and have great events that actually mean something to you and produce the results you're looking for. Here are 6 tips that might make the difference:

1. Do-- Attend the Event. I know this sounds silly, but actually showing up is important. I'm know success has never been determined by "best intentions." Remember Wayne Gretzky: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Keep in mind attending is only about 50% of the equation. But do save event dates in advance and make attending a priority.

a. Because successful people do what others are not willing to do. If you have a product or service, your competition is probably at our events and making the most of it. Looking for a job? You have competition too--just saying...
b. Because meeting someone at one of our events can help you accomplish your business goals like: getting new customers, finding a new job, finding a supplier/vendor etc. This probably far outweighs the investment of time and money you spend to attend an event. "Be there before the sale."

2. Do-- Have a Goal. Having a goal is the same as having a strategy. It answers the question: Why-- What's the point of this? Ex. Do you want to find 1 new client? Do you want to be a sponsor to reach our members and get the word out about your product or service? Is there 1 person on your must-meet list who you know will attend that could help you find a new job? Once you know WHY, you can start planning WHAT--the tactics or what you'll do to accomplish your goal when you're at the event.

3. Do-- Your Homework. Also common sense, but how many of you are really using our group on Linkedin to its full potential? My guess is almost none of you... And BTW, this has nothing to do with continual useless promotional posts on our Discussion Board. How is asking me to buy your stuff a discussion?

How about this...How many of you have taken me up on my offer to publish your blog on our group website www.LinkedOC.com? Could you use an addition 8-10k unique visitors a month to your website or blog? This is for you, not me.

a. Being part of Linked Orange County's Linkedin group let's you view member profiles, work history, recommendations and more. You can do keyword searches based on any criteria you want. For example, if you're looking to connect with someone who has "digital media" experience or is "VP of Marketing" at an upcoming event, all you have to do is put in the keywords and see who comes up. Make a list of people you'd like to meet at the event and seek them out when you get there.

b.Linkedin gives you a limited amount of free "In Mail" to make connections. After you exhaust those you have to pay. But members who belong to the same group can send as many messages to each other free of charge. So what if you made a list of group members you wanted to meet based on your biz goals? Before an upcoming event you could send them a message like, "Hi Julie, we're both members of Linked Orange County and I see you're in commercial real estate. I have a friend who's looking for some office space.. If you're attending the next meet up on Oct. 12th it would be great to meet you..." or something like that. Do your homework and come prepared to the event with a plan.

c. Come prepared to ask questions. You've got expert Chris Brogan here for 1 night only next week. There will be a Q&A after his presentation or you'll get some personal time with him if you get a VIP ticket...

4. Do-- Bring a Camera, Video and Take Notes Do you write a blog? Need content that will drive visitors to your site? Content and context is king. Our events are filled with some of the best talent in Orange County from whom you could get great stuff to write about. And what about our speakers and or expert panelists? On Oct. 12th we'll have bestselling author Chris Brogan who also happens to have the #2 ranked marketing blog in the world. This could be an opportunity for content that would fuel several future blog posts and spur visitor traffic. Post pics or a write-up to your blog, Facebook, Twitter to get a conversation going or whatever.

5. Don't-- Pass Out Business Cards To Every Person. It's generally not a good idea to measure the success of an event by the number of business cards you collect by the end of the night. What would you do with all of these anyway, wall paper your bathroom? If you get someone's card and send them a blind email, or worse your Newsletter, they will usually delete it. You should get to know someone a little and IF there's a match, exchange cards. A match could include people in one of 3 categories: 1.) I can help this person. 2.) This person can help me. 3). I know someone who can help this person.

6. Do-- Break Out of Your Comfort Zone. It's fun to be social and talk with the people you know and like--and if they are part of your plan to be successful, then keep it up. Just remember the reason you're attending. Don't you hate that awkward feeling of wanting to break into what looks like an interesting group--but you don't because they obviously ALL know each other? Or you're just too shy to try and meet anyone? Being quiet and introverted limits your opportunities. You might consider bringing a friend or two of your own to events to be your wing man. But in either case, remember your goal and get it done! Seize the day. Make it happen! "

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Visitor's Day!

Welcome New Leadership Team!

The Champions Chapter of SoCal BNI began its 2010-2011 leadership year on October 1, 2010 with a new leadership team. Allen Buchanan will serve as President. Allen provides location advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California. Gregory Beck, CPA will serve as Vice President. Greg provides accounting, part time CFO, consulting, and forecasting services for closely held businesses that generate revenues of $1,000,000 to $10,000,000 annually. Rosanne Grigsby, Bookkeeper, will serve as Secretary Treasurer. Rosanne provides bookkeeping services to small and medium sized businesses and has extensive experience with non-profit organizations. Jim Sando will serve as our Education Coordinator, Aric Gless will head our Membership Committee, Steven Stakley will Mentor the Mentors, Emily Davidson (2009-2010) VP will coordinate Growth and Retention, and Tom Roberts will manage the Visitor Host Team. The Champions has a long history of success and I am confident that this year's leadership team will make it another Champion year!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

BNI Bowling

An Evening with the Stars! What an Event!!

The Champions chapter of SoCal BNI attended the first annual gala, "An Evening with the Stars" October 1, 2010 in Irvine California. In attendance were approximately 650 representatives from 26 chapters spanning Southern California. The founder and CEO of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner attended as well along with his lovely wife and Bill and Sue Mills. The evening was a beautiful celebration of the organization's 25th year anniversary! Dr. Misner delivered the welcome address and explained that the key to BNI's success is the culture in which we operate. The motto of "givers gain" is universally known and the way in which our culture has allowed such exponential growth to include over 6500 chapters in 44 countries. Dr. Misner noted that an organization which possesses culture without strategy has a better chance of survival than an organization with a strategy with no culture. BNI is fortunate to have both...a solid culture of "givers gain" AND a well thought out strategy of referral based business. At the chapter level we have a shared attitude and vision that transcends cultural barriers and allows us to "row together" toward success.
SoCal BNI's executive director, Jenni Nering was the evening's emcee and did a brilliant job. The evening was fast paced, exciting, and fun-filled! Dan Fowler's footprints were noticed throughout the evening with the exceptionally produced video montage and energy.
I was privileged to receive three awards for the "star" of our chapter, the greatest number of one-to-one meetings, and the greatest number of referrals given in a BNI year. Each call to the stage was highlighted by a photo with Dr. Misner.

Greatest Number of one-to-one meetings:
During our photo op, Dr. Misner mentioned to me that the one-to-one meetings were once called "one-on-one" meetings. The name change occurred during the international expansion and the term "one-on-one" was discovered to have a slightly different meaning...

Greatest Number of Referrals given:
During this photo op, Dr. Misner mused "isn't that interesting that the person with the most one-to-one meetings was also the person with the most referrals given." I responded that there was some truth in my case. My category, commercial real estate, is not widely represented in SoCal BNI. My industry is notorious for shunning networking groups. I am contrarian in my view of networking and believe that it is a vital part of a successful marketing strategy. As a result of the lack of CRE brokers and passion for networking, I have the latitude to network with BNI members within and outside the Champion's chapter. When I joined BNI in 2009, I sought to meet as many people as my time would allow...thus I requested and was granted many one-to-one meetings. As my contacts increased, my "what I am looking for" inventory increased. As a broker, matching peg A with slot B is in my DNA. I used the "broker DNA" and my 26 years of relationships in many industries to match the peg A (BNI member's "what I am looking for") with the slot Bs of the relationships. This resulted in the volume of referrals that I was able to generate. As the number of referrals started to increase week to week and the plastic trophies started to find their way to my spot at the breakfast table, my competitive nature propelled me to seek more referral opportunities. My "giving" has "gained" me far more that plastic trophies and weekly recognition, however. I have helped grow the businesses of my peers and this is truly rewarding!
With my new role as president of the Champions, I am committed to continue the givers gain philosophy and set a positive example for all of our members. The Champions chapter is fortunate. We have a tremendous wealth of talent and a very committed leadership team including Greg Beck as Vice President and Rosanne Grigsby as Secretary Treasurer. I look forward to a VERY successful year and many awards for the chapter at next year's gala!