The Benefits of being a BNI Member
BNI provides a structured, supportive, business environment in which local business people can get together to network, learn valuable new marketing skills and develop the strong personal relationships that lead to trust and the consequent generation of significant business for each other.
Before we discuss the benefits of being a member of BNI, the largest organisation of it’s type in the world, first let’s consider two other alternatives to generating business.
The Cold Call
To get your business known you could rely on mass advertising, print say 1,000 or 2,000 leaflets for targeted distribution or door-to-door leafleting, you could also buy advertising space in a periodical, some national publications charge up to £1,000 for a half page colour advert, an additional cost to consider with this is employing the services of an expensive graphic designer to produce your advert.
After all this effort, how do you know if the customers you’re attracting really know all there is to know about your product or service? True you will attract business and at the same time you will also attract people who want a product you don’t carry or a service you don’t provide.
The Yellow Pages
To place an advert in the Yellow Pages costs about the same as membership of BNI. Being listed in the yellow pages is great, your business is categorised and people can find you easily if they know the alphabet. But why should they chose to call you, they still are none the wiser about you although they know what service you provide.
Business Through Referral
Here’s a fact that most people in business today are well aware of. It’s much better to do business with people who trust you. The referred lead is typically a much better prospect than someone you’ve never met or spoken with before, someone with whom you have nothing or no one in common. The referred prospect, experienced business professionals agree.
- Is easier to close
- Has far fewer complaints
- Is more loyal
- Remains a client longer and,
- Is more trusting
Professionals also like referrals because they bring in customers at little or no cost. Cold calling, (which almost everyone hates) wastes an enormous amount of time for the few sales it eventually closes. Advertising, even when narrowly focussed on specific markets, is still relatively inefficient. But a single referral can bring a chain reaction of business, as one satisfied customer tells others, who in turn tell still others.
BNI is the most successful business referral organisation in the world, there are currently over 2,000 chapters in operation with more than 40,000 members; members of BNI last year passed over 1,700,000 referrals which translated into over £403 million worth of business.
BNI and Education
BNI also host a number of training events and functions to educate their members so they can gain more business. Two principle workshops run by BNI are:
Presentation Skills Workshop
For you to hone your presentation skills and network with BNI members from a variety of chapters
Referral Skills Workshops
If you’re worried about giving referrals to other members this workshop will teach you to listen for a need during your normal working week and how to introduce other members of your chapter.
Coaching and training in business is a very expensive sport in many circles. I personally know a coach that charges £250 per hour for his advice and whilst I don’t dispute his professionalism or the results he achieves for his clients, within BNI the cost of attending a one day event to get up to the minute business advice is £30 – which includes food and drink.
Just a few of the subjects covered are:
- Choosing your next customer
- Increase profit by caring for your team
- Looking after your new customers
- Top ten ways to get more business from your membership
To summarise all the training BNI members receive a quarterly newsletter which covers chapters across the country and is filled with advice and business testimonials from members.
Business would be pretty dull if we didn’t have some fun now and again. Being part of BNI means you enjoy subsidised prices on functions organised within the chapter.
This isn’t for me I can’t stand up and do a presentation, I get too nervous.
It’s OK to be nervous, myself and many others in the room also felt the same way when we became members. It’s a fact that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death by fire. The point here is that repetition breeds confidence and I’d much rather stand up and tell people about my business and see it succeed, than tell no one and see it fail.
Well this all sounds pretty good but I don’t want to get up early one a week to be here. Why do these meetings have to start so early?
Commitment to building relationships is a key philosophy to BNI and we only want the most dedicated professionals to become part of this chapter and it’s continuing growth. The simple reason the meeting starts at 7 is this . If you’re serious about your business, you’ll be serious about seeing it grow, and if you’re serious about seeing it grow, you’ll be here at 6.30.