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As most of you probably know, people call me the "Systems Guy," because I'm into creating repeatable systems that can make things much more effective in the long term. Over the past few weeks, I've been interviewing many of you and have created something called the 5 Step Referral System.

I'm going to give you an overview of how it works today, and then we're going to go into a series of workshops over the coming weeks to actually start implementing this process so you're able to get lots more business from BNI.

So how does this system work? At it's essence, it's built around determining who can best refer business to you, and then asking to meet those people instead of asking to meet people who already need what you do.

Some of you are already doing this, and I think it's fantastic. But you can probably put more effort into it, which is what we'll be discussing soon.

For those of you who, like me, come into the room each week and just say something like, If you know someone looking for headshots please put me in touch, well, I think this system will help you a ton.

So for today, I just want you to answer one question:

Who do you think would know lots of people or work with lots of people who could potentially need your service?

This is what we call a Referral Partner.

Please take the next 15 or 20 seconds and write down who your ideal referral partner would be. Like for me, it's website designers because they work with people who will likely need headshots.

Who is it for you? You might come up with a few ideas, but the point is to narrow it down to one key partner for now, and focus on that for at least the next few months. Too many will overwhelm you and others who listen to your commercial.

Next week, we'll discuss how to begin using those referral partners, and how to get them to want to work with you.

In general, there are two types of referrals that we can give: passive and proactive.

So today's make more money money moment is how to reduce networking friction and get more proactive referrals, so get your pens out and ready to write.

Let's use John Cipplone as an example.

If someone says 'hey Conrad, I'm have a cross border tax issue, of course, I'm going to refer our international man of mystery and taxation, John Cippolone.'

This is an easy type of referral where someone asks for help.

But the bigger pot of gold at BNI is from the pool of people that are not yet asking for help.

And every week, as we go around the room, we mostly ask for introductions to people that don't know we exist and don't know they need our help.

After John gave his 5 minute presentation recently, I thought of my real estate developer client. They have a lot of foreign investors, but they also didn't ask for John's help.

I did my part, which was recognizing an opportunity for John.

The next part was for John to reduce networking friction by writing me an email in the third person, so I can copy, paste and send to my client without having to change pronouns.

Here's what he gave me ..

Hi Nancy,

I just had breakfast with John Cippolone. He is one of the top CPA's in Manhattan with international tax expertise.

He deals exclusively with non US investors and the various cross border tax complications that they have.

As such, I thought he might be a good contact for you and your foreign investors.

Please let me know if you would like an introduction to John, and I would be happy to make that happen.

If John didn't write that email, I would not have been able to make the introduction.

So when your fellow member reaches out and says they have a contact for you, your response shouldn't be to say 'you know me so make the intro.'

You need to do your own heavy lifting and craft an email that will entice that possible referral to want to connect with you.

The better you do that, the better the chance that they will want to connect with you.

So the next time a fellow member says they have a possible introduction for you, get ready to write an awesome email with an amazing hook and you'll definitely make more money with those proactive referrals.

How would you like to make more money from people that you don't know?

Get your pens ready to write, because this week I'm going to give you a simple task that will help make that happen.

One of the best things about being in this chapter for almost 8 years is that I formed some very profitable and trusted relationships, but none of that would have happened without the first step.

But why is it important to have 121s with members that are outside my power team?

Because until you meet with every member, you'll never know who's wife or brother-in-law is head of purchasing at that whale of company that you've been dying to meet.

So in the spirit of making more money, let's make some new matches happen.

Time to get your pens out and look around room, and pick out one of your fellow members that you have never had a 121 with; write that name down and make sure that you schedule that 121 before the next meeting.

And I took my own advice last week, and scheduled 121s with Cara, Yotam, Omar and Celia.

Your next challenge is do this exercise at least twice per month, and pretty soon, you'll know most members and you'll be making more money from people that didn't know...but know now.

JC Lemon Photography is a New York City wedding photography studio that specializes in intimate weddings.

Yesterday was a bit of a tough day. For no particularly major reason. Just a lot of little circumstances out of my control that went against the grain. There were some wins too - thank you Cliff - but I felt stressed and overwhelmed at some points. So by the time last night rolled around, I was tired and not feeling at my most creative.

My mind reached out in exploration of what might be valuable to share this morning. I came up short. First time for everything! Then it occurred to me, I wondered if I'd created enough of these that re-reading one could work. I went looking. In less than a minute I came upon the Four Agreements. Not only did I connect with it as something to read today, but it was exactly what I needed to reorient myself and ultimately feel better.

Good things are worth repeating. I hope it leaves you with something as well.

Based on Toltec wisdom and traditions that began back in 900AD, Don Miguel Ruiz depicts four of the most simple, yet most powerful principles.

When we are out of phase with these ideas, they are the source of our self-limiting beliefs and they rob us of joy and create needless suffering. But by honoring these basic agreements, we can gain access to transforming our lives and our businesses, and experience a new sense of freedom, happiness, and love.

Keep in mind, while simple to understand, they aren't necessarily easy to implement and maintain. However, with some awareness and some practice, benefits can be experienced rather quickly.

The first agreement is: Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Avoid speaking negatively about yourself, and also gossiping about others. Use your words to support truth and love.

The second agreement is: Don't Take Anything Personally. What others say and do rarely has anything to do with you. It's a projection of their own reality. When we become immune to the opinions and actions of others, we avoid being in the role of victim, and the needless suffering that goes along with it.

The third agreement is: Don't Make Assumptions. Try to find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. By communicating clearly with others, we can avoid misunderstandings and the sadness and drama which follow.

The fourth agreement is: Always Do Your Best. Our best will change from moment to moment and day to day. But if we always do our best, we can avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

The entire book is only a little over 100 pages - it can be read in a single sitting. And it can provide access to plugging some of the most common power leaks in the human dynamic.

Looking back, I can tell you that part of my experience yesterday was a result of my forgetting to not take things personally. Again, simple to understand but challenging to implement.

Read the book, or look it up and just be with the agreements, or you can ask me about them. I love this stuff.

You’ve heard the saying that it’s better to love what you do than to just have a job. Since love is in the air today, let’s examine this a bit closer and see if it rings true.

According to, job satisfaction means different things to different people. Some are happy with the challenges or the opportunity to use their creative skills. Others like the environment or their relationships with colleagues. In some cases, it’s a mix of several factors that bring the most satisfaction. The amount of money in the weekly paycheck is often a factor in job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction is one of the factors in overall life satisfaction, which includes emotional well-being and life evaluation -- the thoughts people have about their lives -- according to a study reported in August 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. Up to a certain point, according to the study authors, money can increase both feelings of emotional well-being and life satisfaction. Once income reaches approximately $75,000 a year, people may rate their life satisfaction more highly as income increases, but emotional well-being does not change with income increases.

So… is it true that money can buy you love of your job? Maybe.

According to a recent December article in Forbes Magazine, one study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. When it comes to salespeople, happiness has an even greater impact, raising sales by 37%.

Happy employees are also good news for organizations: The stock prices of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for" rose 14% per year from 1998 to 2005, while companies not on the list only reported a 6% increase.

So happiness is linked to productivity. But what does it mean to be “happy” in the workplace? 

In his book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, Patrick Lencioni boils it down to wanting to feel like who you are matters (you want people to know your name), that what you do has an impact (that you're engaged in relevant work) and you're making progress (that your work is having an impact and leading you and your organization forward).

While job security and financial stability are important to job satisfaction, so are opportunities to use one’s skills and abilities. The bottom line is that people need to continue to grow in order to remain engaged and productive.

This Valentine’s Day, check in about how you feel about whether you love what you do and the difference you make for those you serve – and those you manage. It can affect more than your business. It can affect your own life satisfaction – and theirs.

Have you ever used a power saw to hammer nails in?

If you have, make sure you don't ask Eddie or David for a job, because you probably won't get hired.

Otherwise, get your pens ready to write, because this I'm going to help you make more money by using power tools correctly.

As you may have heard, I moved into my new office this week.

During the process of setting up the new office, I got to watch Matt Long's master craftsmen use power tools to fabricate our new custom desks, and that got me to thinking that when you use power tools correctly you can build amazing things.

But if you use those power tools incorrectly, like using a power saw to hammer nails, you'll end up wasting a lot of time.

Now I know what you're thinking: what does that have to do with BNI?

BNI is a power tool for building relationships and getting referrals, but you have to use the tool correctly to get the desired results.

For example, I was talking to Martin the other day. He said that getting headshot gigs from you is awesome, but it's not growing his business the way he had hoped.

He said he wished that he could have more web firms like mine refer him because he gets multiple high paying photoshoots from me every year.

I asked him how many times he asked to meet web firms last year. The answer was two.

So Martin was using this power saw to hammer one-off nails.

I told him that maybe he should only ask for web firms, each and every week, and that if he added just one per month to his agency list, in a few short years the revenue from those contacts would exceed a half million dollars per year due to these firms referring him multiple times every year.

So if you're not getting the level of business you desire out of BNI, I want you to think about how you can use these power tools better to make more money.