This week I was a keynote speaker hosted by the Business Clubs of America (BCA) , Phoenix Metro Chapter. I attended an evening reception for members and a luncheon for members and guests that attracted 200 business executives and entrepreneurs.
This organization is a high-powered referral organization. In each market, noncompeting companies pay a membership fee to own their vertical. Unlike “networking” organizations, BCA offers its members a structured method of introduction to, well, anyone in their business community that they want to meet. Members commit to bringing their acquaintances to the table at guest events and commit to making introductions upon the request of their fellow members. These are not simply phone or email intros but face-to-face encounters over breakfast or lunch.
In The Whale Hunters Process, a person who wants you to be successful, who intervenes on your behalf in a deal, is known as a raven. I suggested that the BCA was a community of ravens for its members. Here are some functions that ravens will perform at your request:
- make a warm introduction to someone you want to meet
- refer you and your company to others of their acquaintance
- serve as a reference for you
- be “on your boat” in pursuit of a deal, when appropriate
- tell your story to the right people
- put you in front of groups who are interested in your message
- advise you about your approach, your message, your strategy or tactics
Another organization of ravens is The Referral Institute, owned in Indiana by my friend Hazel Walker. Through this program, entrepreneurs and executives learn to become prized referral partners for one another. This process is absolutely critical to business development and to the sales process for big deals. As smaller companies, we need to create a powerful network of people who are deeply experienced in our services, our values and ethics, and our market.
Ravens who know you and believe in you priceless assets. Cultivate your ravens and take good care of them.