Steve Labbe & Keith Mercier
"This is an organization where anybody here will help you with your business. It's that kind of sharing from the top down. They want to see everybody else succeed," Emory Cowan, Co-Executive Director BNI Colorado.
This quote comes from the Givers Gain book that all BNI members receive upon attending their first MSP and it couldn't be more spot on when discussing a recent $500,000 referral passed in the New Hampshire region from one Plumber to (wait for it)... another Plumber. That's right, one member passed a half a million dollar referral to his competitor which has resulted in the two passing millions of dollars of business to one another.
Steve Labbe is a member of the BNI Wolf Pack chapter and has been a part of the organization for six years. His business, Paradigm Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. specializes in plumbing, heating, air conditioning and bathroom showers and tubs, as well as sewer and drain service. Keith Mercier is a member of the Power House Networking Chapter and has been a member of the organization for four years. Keith's business, Progressive Mechanical Inc. specializes in plumbing and heating with contractors that specialize in plumbing gas and forced hot water installations for residential, commercial, & industrial buildings. In 2012, Keith was honored as BNI New Hampshire's Member of the Year as he passed 117 referrals, brought in 35 visitors, did 201 one-to-one's, 121 CEUs and passed $284,609 in closed business.
Over the years Steve and Keith have developed a strong business relationship, despite being competitors, as evidenced through the recent referrals passed. Both gentlemen view BNI as an opportunity to help one another work cooperatively vs. competitively in order to benefit their individual businesses. Their relationship began a few years ago when Steve asked Keith to a one-to-one. After sitting down together, the two gentlemen found that their sweet spots in business were different (Steve prefers remodeling, repairs and replacement and Keith prefers complete system installations and construction). They each also offer specialized services that the other does not. The two soon realized the potential of working together under two principles:
1. There is an abundance of business for each of them.
2. Together they are stronger.
"Steve coined the phrase "copetitors" and we began working together in small ways to build trust by referring work, sharing information , tools, material and manpower," said Keith Mercier. "I like and trust Steve like a brother and I have found that the stronger our relationship becomes the more both our companies prosper because of it. It is mind blowing that we are passing millions in business by using the fundamentals of BNI while in the same profession."
Steve passed a referral to Keith which lead to a $250,000 referral. The builder was pleased with Keith's performance and is sending him a contract for $500,000. The beginning of this referral began last year when Rob Schaefer from David and White Architects joined the BNI Wolf Pack and he and Steve did a one-to-one. During their meeting Rob had mentioned he had a chance for Steve to bid on a 24 unit building up north. Steve told him it was not his specialty but that his trusted friend Keith was who he would refer a job like that to. Steve then asked Rob if he would like to meet Keith, and he did. Keith hit it off big time with Rob and closed the 24 unit building AND another. Steve noted that he was so happy to help Keith because they both understand that working together is the way to get their businesses to the next level, and they are. In return Keith has given Steve countless referrals for sewers, boiler - burner retrofits, your everyday plumbing service call and additionally, manpower when they both get so busy they need help. To note, Steve just closed a $ 47,500.00 referral from Keith in Massachusetts for a duplex plumbing, heating and gas piping system.
"I am so very blessed to have such an amazing friend and referral partner in Keith, "said Steve Labbe. "Keep your eye on us we are going to the top because we understand Givers Gain® and winning together. Nothing will ever get in the way of our friendship and we both have BNI to thank for this success. We are coachable and have learned this way of being from Dr. Ivan Misner and the Roberts family who owns our region. Thank you BNI we want you to join in our success."
Members have joined BNI to generate more business through referrals and are taught that the way to build their business is by helping other people build their business. The entire BNI NH team is beyond proud of the camaraderie between Steve and Keith and incredibly proud of the example they lead for all of our members. We hope that by sharing this story that more people can only further see that givers truly do gain! A true testament to the BNI way!