BNI and Sam Rathling: The Power of ‘Givers Gain’.

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    As Sam Rathling sat in her tiny home office in Ireland 6 years ago, she wondered where to start. With one contact in the entire country, no clients and 80 local competitors, it was going to be a long, hard road to the top. But thanks to the power of Sam’s key to success ‘Givers Gain’, and her involvement in BNI, Sam’s recruitment business ‘Expect Talent’ is now thriving.

    With 3 offices, 10 full time employees and 300-500 contract employees, Sam has created a company with a multi-million euro turnover – all from scratch. She has built her businesses entirely through networking, word of mouth marketing, online reputation and referrals.

    After landing herself a contract as a recruitment partner working with Amazon, Sam receives referrals from all over the world. As a result of the power of successful networking, she now has 10,000 global 1st connections. Sam attributes a considerable amount of her success to her involvement in BNI. “I have 125 sales staff working for me through BNI,” says Sam. “For me, my BNI members are my sales team.”

    Sam is currently working on recruiting 900 people for a call center and insists that despite the current economic downturn, it is possible to grow a business during the recession. “All that’s needed is hard work and commitment,” she says enthusiastically. “You can’t expect to see a growth in business without a growth in activity. If you up your activity levels, your business will grow accordingly.”

    Build Your Business Workshop with Sam Rathling, 21st March 2012. Photo courtesy of Footprint Photography

    Build Your Business Workshop with Sam Rathling, 21st March 2012. Photo courtesy of Footprint Photography

    Sam’s success has given her the freedom to move away from working IN her business, to working ON it. She estimates that she now spends 50% of her allocated working hours working on BNI, and in turn, 90% of her business revenue comes from this.

    ‘Expect Talent’ dedicate a slot of time on a Friday afternoon to thanking customers and clients, another way of giving back. Affectionately called ‘Thank you Fridays’, Sam aims to give at least one LinkedIn recommendation, and sends out two Thank you cards from the office. She insists that it’s a great way to end the week on a positive note. And she’s smart about it too. The cards are designed and printed by BNI members, so when the card reaches the recipient, it’s not just the ‘Expect Talent’ logo that appears on it; it’s the photographer, printer, and of course, the BNI logo.

    Sam insists that the success of her involvement in BNI, and in turn, her business, is attributable to the time and motivation involved in actively finding referrals. Sam’s ambitions for the working year are clear: “This year, we plan to give 500 referrals through our business,” she says.

    Delegates at the BNI Build Your Business Workshop with Sam Rathling, 21st March 2012. Photo courtesy of Footprint Photography

    Delegates at the BNI Build Your Business Workshop with Sam Rathling, 21st March 2012. Photo courtesy of Footprint Photography

    As well as BNI, LinkedIn is also an integral part of Samantha’s networking.  She has used the site to increase the online visibility of ‘Expect Talent’, create a credible company profile, and communicate the attitude of her business to potential customers. She also uses LinkedIn as a platform for BNI testimonials, in order to promote other BNI members businesses.

    And she never underestimates the importance of productivity. Sam recommends concentrating on an important, must do task, by turning off the phone, stepping away from email and putting time aside to be productive without distraction. She constantly strives to train and up-skill, as she believes that personal development and learning have a direct impact on the success of your business.

    When it comes to unique selling points, Sam’s approach is rather novel . With extraordinary confidence and self assurance, she quotes Walt Disney: “Observe the masses and do the opposite.” Sam says, “Suss out competitors and make a list of things they do that you don’t like. Then do the opposite. That way, BNI members can refer you more easily as they have a clear and succinct understanding of exactly what you can offer a customer. By remembering your USP’s, it’s easier to break from the pack and ‘Unleash your niche’.”

    Delegates at the BNI Build Your Business Workshop with Sam Rathling, 21st March 2012. Photo courtesy of Footprint Photography

    Delegates at the BNI Build Your Business Workshop with Sam Rathling, 21st March 2012. Photo courtesy of Footprint Photography

    Sam’s advice is to “Be a specialist, not a generalist.” She insists that by focusing on a target market and concentrating on a specialised niche, you can offer expert advice, therefore generating more business and more money.

    Sam also believes in giving knowledge. She’s used her experience and success to start a blog, she gives endless free advice, and regularly speaks on topics of interest with regard to growing a successful business.

    And it’s this message that lies at the heart of Sam Rathling’s work ethic. Give more, get more back. She firmly believes that the best way to build your business is through the power of ‘Givers Gain’, and it’s obviously working.

    (Workshop photographs courtesy of Footprint Photography, Specialist photographers in Sheffield)

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      Written by Chris

      March 26th, 2012 at 2:27 pm