Laura Viskovich: Hello and welcome to the Professional Business Connections. I’m Laura Viskovich. And I’m really excited to introduce you today to Allen Throndson. Allen has such an amazing story and I am so excited to speak to you. Hello, Allen.
Allen Throndson: Well, I’m excited to be here.
Laura Viskovich: Good, good. Now, we will talk about your business a little bit, but how did you get into counter tops?
Allen Throndson: About 12, 13 years ago, I had a friend that invested in a counter top business and in granite business. And so he kind of wanted to keep an eye on things. He had invested quite a bit of money, so he had asked me to go sell for him, just to kind of keep an eye on things. So that’s how I got into the business.
Laura Viskovich: Oh, wow. Wonderful. So how long have you been in counter tops for?
Allen Throndson: A little over 13 years now.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So how do you generate business?
Allen Throndson: At this point, it’s basically BNI and referrals. We don’t do any other kind of advertising and we have more business than we can handle.
Laura Viskovich: That is amazing. And I heard a little birdie told me that you also have a partner who is in BNI as well.
Allen Throndson: That’s right. A few months ago, I had a partner come on board to take care of the Wasatch Front. I specialized in the Wasatch Front and I’ve gotten very busy there. So he came on board and joined the Lindon Chapter and he’s been there for a few months now. So he’s been so successful for me and I felt like that was the key for him.
Laura Viskovich: Okay. So BNI Utah and off, he’s in a chapter – what chapter are you in?
Allen Throndson: I’m in the Park City Chapter.
Laura Viskovich: Park City, fantastic. And how long have you been in that chapter?
Allen Throndson: I’ve been in that chapter about two-and-a-half years now.
Laura Viskovich: Okay, fantastic. So there must have been a point where you had to visit a couple of chapters to see. Was that how your experience was with BNI?
Allen Throndson: You know, for me, it wasn’t that. I was invited to the Park City Chapter. And I heard about BNI years previously, but I’d never gone. And so I was invited to the Park City Chapter and I was so impressed with the meeting that I put in my application and we signed on for two years, the first go around.
Laura Viskovich: Wow, okay.
Allen Throndson: And then, with my partner, we visited a few chapters in Utah County and landed on the Lindon Chapter.
Laura Viskovich: So I can hear that BNI is super powerful. Why do you think it’s so powerful for your business?
Allen Throndson: I think the model that Dr. Misner has set up is just – it’s phenomenal. It’s just – it’s a model that works. And I’ve learned that in business, when you can set up a template and just plug and play, it’s, you know, and that’s what works. There are certain things that work, and if you do them, it works, if you don’t do them, it doesn’t work. And so I think the model that BNI has set up, even though each chapter kind of has its own personality and kind of their own idiosyncrasies, the basics of BNI work everywhere.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So that I know that there is a really intensive training that you can attend. What was your experience with the training? I think that the first one you attend is the Member Success Program.
Allen Throndson: Right, right.
Laura Viskovich: And then there’s more from that. So what do you take out of that?
Allen Throndson: Extremely helpful, getting the basics of BNI. And what I’ve learned over the two-and-a-half years, I’ve taken the Member Success Program twice now over that time. I did it in person the first time and then online a second time, probably, about six or eight months ago. And what I found was I’d learned a lot of things in the initial training, and even though the other training was almost identical – excuse me – there were other things that I learned. And so my take is, is that it’s not bad idea to take that, if not on an annual basis, at least every other year. And there’s things that you reinforce and learn.
Laura Viskovich: Wow, so you just keep on growing and adding new things to that. So you said that there was something online. Is that the BNI University?
Allen Throndson: BNI University, correct.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic.
Allen Throndson: Yeah, that is fantastic.
Laura Viskovich: Okay, good. So that’s amazing. So you can go to physical training events and you can attend online to continue your growth.
Allen Throndson: Right.
Laura Viskovich: We all know that’s really important for the business.
Allen Throndson: It is.
Laura Viskovich: So in your chapter, is there any area or industry that you would really love to have in your chapter?
Allen Throndson: The one industry that we’re really in need of is a plumber, and I think that’s pretty common across the chapters. They’re just so busy that they have a hard time with, first of all, realizing there’s going to come a day you’re going to need this.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah.
Allen Throndson: You know, I’m busy now, and it’s like, myself. I’m very busy now. I could cut off my nose despite my face and say, “Listen, I don’t need this BNI.” But the bottom line is BNI, I’ve quadrupled my business over the last year-and-a-half because of BNI.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah, that’s a common mistake that people make, “Oh, I’m so busy, I don’t need it.” But there might be a time where the ebbs and flows will come along and you might need it then, so you may as well build it now, so that’s a really good point. Great, so if there’s anyone out there who is looking to visit, what would your tip and trick be to that person?
Allen Throndson: I would look for the connections, the energy in the group. Whether it’s a group that everybody is just kind of off-ish or off by themselves, that’s not really – it doesn’t follow the BNI model.
Laura Viskovich: Right.
Allen Throndson: And so if they’re not following the BNI model, they’re probably not going to be as successful as if they do. So one thing I would look for is the energy. And just, you know, is there an acceptance there as you come in as a visitor?
Laura Viskovich: Great. So is there a percentage or dollar figure that you would like to share that has done business in your business?
Allen Throndson: Well, we’ve done – this last year, we’ve done a quarter of a million dollars in business through BNI.
Laura Viskovich: Is that 100% from BNI?
Allen Throndson: That amount is from BNI.
Laura Viskovich: Wow.
Allen Throndson: Yes.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. Wow, I can really see the power in it. And what is – why do you think it’s such a powerful – is it the franchise that they have, it’s the systems, and but is it building the relationships as well?
Allen Throndson: It is, definitely. It’s because the first – I didn’t start getting the leads from my BNI group until about three to six months in.
Laura Viskovich: Okay.
Allen Throndson: And I didn’t realize at the time why that was.
Laura Viskovich: Okay.
Allen Throndson: But over the years now, I’ve seen exactly why that was. A credibility needed to be built. And the trust needed to be built. And so as I did one-to-ones – because initially I wasn’t a big fan of one-to-ones, I didn’t see the value in them. Over the years now, the one-to-ones are just absolutely crucial. The attendance is absolutely crucial. Those are probably two of the biggest things that will build your credibility and trust. So as I began to do those, I started seeing the leads come in and just start –
Laura Viskovich: Yeah.
Allen Throndson: – flowing in.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah, givers really do gain. So the more time you put into the building those relationships is what you get back –
Allen Throndson: Right.
Laura Viskovich: – every week that you come. How is it that you share with your members at what it is that they do? Like, is there an ad that you stand up and say?
Allen Throndson: No, it’s – I try to make it different every week. One of the main things is an ask – what am I looking for that week? Am I looking for connections to different cabinet shops, for example, or even a specific cabinet shop or builder or that type of thing? So I try and share some of the feedback that I’ve gotten from my clients and reinforce, you know, the relationship that we’ve developed with them and the feedback that they’ve given to us.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. Amazing story, Allen. Thank you so much for coming and sharing.
Allen Throndson: Oh, you’re welcome.
Laura Viskovich: Wow. That is Allen Throndson from the Lighthouse Enterprises. What an amazing, inspiring story on how he has grown his business through BNI. So I’ll see you on the next show of the Professional Business Connections.