March 13, 2021

Dr. Ivan Misner Declares Networking is The Foundation of Business Development

Dr. Ivan Misner Declares Networking is The Foundation of Business Development

Dr. Ivan Misner shares his expertise as one of the world’s most effective networkers and talks about the nuts and bolts of creating real relationships that drive real revenue. Learn why the quality of the people you surround yourself with will...

Dr. Ivan Misner shares his expertise as one of the world’s most effective networkers and talks about the nuts and bolts of creating real relationships that drive real revenue. Learn why the quality of the people you surround yourself with will determine so much of your life and business and how to ensure your inner circle aligns with your core values, plus tips for networking in a way that leads to long term business development success.


Mo asks Dr. Ivan Misner: What is your big idea on how business development experts can grow their book of business, their relationships, and their careers?

  • The quality of the people you surround yourself with determines the quality of your life.
  • Imagine that you live your life in one room with one door and it’s one-way entrance only. If that were true would you be more selective about the people that you let into your life?
  • The room is a metaphor for your mind, and when you have a relationship with someone, business or personal, their fingerprints are all over your brain for the rest of your life. This is why it’s vital to be very selective on the front end.
  • Your experiences with people, the good and the bad, will affect your decisions for the rest of your life.
  • You have to ask yourself whether a client is going to be worth the money and the psychic energy you are going to invest in the relationship.
  • The selectivity starts with understanding your personal values. If you don’t know what’s important in your life you will take anyone that comes to your door. Clients don’t have to have the exact same values as you, they just can’t be incongruent with the things you believe are the most important.
  • You’re better off turning down a client or an employee if you believe they will take you in the opposite direction of your personal values.
  • One of the most important values in Dr. Misner’s organization BNI is that giver’s gain. If you want to be able to get business from people you have to be willing to give them business.
  • Networking is not a get-rich-quick scheme, it’s a way to build a solid foundation for a strong, successful business. It’s an attitude and not an expectation.
  • Creating a great organizational culture changes that organization forever. Your business’s core values should be short and repeated constantly.


Mo asks Dr. Ivan Misner: How do we grow our book of business?

  • There is a networking disconnect, where everybody goes to networking events wanting to sell but nobody is there to buy. Networking is all about relationships, it’s more like farming than hunting.
  • Avoid selling the first time you meet someone. Plant the seed of the relationship first and then cultivate it over time.
  • Ivan recommends the 24/7/30 follow-up system. Within 24 hours of meeting someone, send them a note and let them know that you enjoyed getting to know them. Within 7 days find them on social media and make a meaningful connection with them. Go where they are, not where you want to be. Within 30 days reach out to them and ask to have a conversation about what they do. The whole time you avoid selling to them and focus instead on just building the relationship.
  • Start with the other person in mind and get to know them as a human being. It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s how well you know each other that counts.
  • The important thing is not about who is in your database, it’s who is willing to help you if you asked.
  • If you follow up in a meaningful way with the goal of building a real relationship, it’s not going to feel formulaic or contrived. Helping and authenticity are key.
  • Infinite giving does not mean that you’re an infinite victim. Giving can take all kinds of forms and there are a number of ways your giving will come back to you.


Mo asks Dr. Ivan Misner: How do we develop more and deeper relationships?

  • BNI now has over 276,000 members and over the course of 2020, those members generated over $16 billion in business.
  • A one-to-one conversation with people periodically is the best way to develop a relationship with them.
  • The Gains exchange is a great way to deepen a relationship with someone you know. Write down your goals, accomplishments, interests, networks, and skills, and find out what you have in common.
  • Ivan tells the story of two BNI members that were initially skeptical of the Gains exchange and discovered something they had in common that became the basis for a great relationship.
  • People are usually open to the Gains exchange. You don’t have to frame the one-to-one beforehand if you approach it the right way.
  • The perfect way to ask the Gains questions is to model it. Start with your goals, accomplishments, interests, networks, and skills, and show them what you want to know about them. The modeling provides the example instead of a perfectly designed question.
  • Near the end of the conversation reiterate what you learned about them and open the idea of having another conversation in the future to connect on things that are important to them.
  • If the other person has a need that you can help with by sharing a resource, that becomes the perfect reason to follow up. Before you ask for something, you should invest in the relationship with them first.


Mo asks Dr. Ivan Misner: How do we hack our own habits to keep building our relationships?

  • Instead of saying we’re busy, we should think about our life being full instead.
  • The foundation of networking is the VCP process. First, you have to be visible, then you move to credibility where people know who you are and that you’re good at it. Only then can you move to profitability.
  • Most people try to leapfrog the process and go from being completely invisible and straight to profitability.
  • When networking, you need to be aware of where you are in that process with that person because that will dictate the way you communicate with them.
  • You always have to work on all three aspects of the process to maintain your business development efforts. Consistency is key.
  • The biggest mistake that businesses make is doing a thousand things six times instead of doing six things a thousand times. It’s about doing fewer things and doing them well and not stretching yourself too thin.
  • Work in your flame instead of your wax. Hire people to do the things you don’t want to do so you can focus on the things you want to be doing to carry your business forward.
  • Ivan color codes his calendar and is very strict about his timelines. That’s how he knows what kind of day he’s going to have and he can see if he’s working on what he should be working on over the course of the week.
  • Business people are constantly chasing bright shiny objects. Stop chasing the bright shiny distractions and focus on just doing the same things effectively over and over again.


Mo shares his insights from the habits of Dr. Ivan Misner.

  • Ivan Misner is the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, the world’s largest networking group. There is probably no one else on the planet who knows more about building a valuable network or relationships.
  • We need to be very careful about who we allow into our inner circle. This can include strategic partners that we work with to grow our businesses, the clients we work with, to the people in our personal lives.
  • Think about your current ecosystem and about who shares your core values and who you want to invest your time with.
  • The people you allow into your metaphorical room you can’t kick out, so it’s important to be cautious on the front end.
  • When you have negative experiences with people you don’t get that time back, and those experiences will influence your decisions for the rest of your life.
  • Be very critical of the people you let into your life and be willing to let people go when you discover that they are not a fit.
  • The core values of your organization have nothing to do with what’s on people’s resumes. Your core values should be concise and clear.
  • When you start to get to know somebody the Gains exchange is a great way to build the foundation of the relationship. Enter into a dialogue about your goals, accomplishments, interests, networks, and skills to facilitate a great conversation.
  • Model the response you are looking for by sharing your Gains with the other person and then ask them to reciprocate.


Mentioned in this Episode: