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View Full Version : Anyone have luck with BNI?


mapleleaf
08-24-2009, 12:27 AM
Business being so slow and advertising isn't helping I am considering going to a BNI meeting to see what it's all about. It's a bunch of business that network together and refer each other, etc.. I do have reservations; the weekly mandatory meeting commitment, and the annual fee. Which I think you lose if you miss 3 meetings, or so. Also I think there is a lot of pressure to get more members to join. I haven't gone to a meeting yet, but this things are what I have read online. Anyone have a positive experience?
Thanks!

zMaster225
08-24-2009, 01:53 AM
I was a member of a local BNI group during my 1st year in business. Turned out to be well worth it... Helped pick up a bunch of referrals and even have some customers that I still have today, 6 years later.

I'd say to go as a guest with someone once or twice before making the committment as a member and check out more than one BNI group in your area if possible.

Worth a shot in my mind... good luck!

Az Gardener
08-24-2009, 02:25 AM
I am looking into it myself. There are over 35 chapters here in the Phx. metro area probably 12-15 in my immediate area. I did a search here and found a lot of positive response. Like anything it is what you make of it. We are coming into the busy season here so I will probably wait until after the rush and the holidays.

mapleleaf
08-24-2009, 10:51 AM
Thanks for your input. Nice to see someone had positive results. Of course the BNI member I spoke with is stating how wonderful it will be, and he can get me tons of referals himself. But I know the group doesn't have a landscaper and he'd probably benefit from getting me to join. There is another group about 20 mins away that I could go to also. Does anyone know the annual fee? Do they "hound" you to get new members to join?Thanks!

EA Quinn
08-24-2009, 11:40 AM
I joined a chapter a little over a year ago. It has turned out to be a great asset and I have recieved many jobs and referalls from being a member. I actually just completed a very large job that was through BNI. It is definately a great source for business. I have found through talking to other BNI members and Ex members, that you need to have a close knit group. Visit all of your local chapters first and pick a group that seems close knit and a good time. Our group is right around 30 members now, and everyone who visits says our group is so upbeat and laid back that it makes for a great time. If you are ever up this way and want to visit my group, give me a shout.

matt@eaquinn.com

White Gardens
08-24-2009, 12:02 PM
Thanks for posting this thread Mapleleaf.

I've called around to the chapters in our area and it seems like it's great organization to get involved with.

White Gardens
08-25-2009, 07:17 PM
I went to a BNI group meeting today.

I'm impressed, I feel that it's definitely something I can stand behind and be a part of.

mapleleaf
08-25-2009, 10:32 PM
Wow that's great. Any specifics you care to divulge? Is the annual fee high? Do they pressure you to get members to join? Is it really miss 3 meetings and you're out? Thanks!

White Gardens
08-26-2009, 12:12 AM
Wow that's great. Any specifics you care to divulge? Is the annual fee high? Do they pressure you to get members to join? Is it really miss 3 meetings and you're out? Thanks!

It does seem strict on their attendance policy, but, if you can't make a meeting you can have another person to "sub" or be a proxy in your place. When you join, there is a list they give you of other members from other chapters that will sub for you. Talking with a couple of other chapters in the area when researching, it seemed that sometimes they have attendance issues, but, I think the turn a blind eye.

Even though each chapter has only one member representing a service, you still network with other members from other groups and they have no problems referring you. I feel that helps keep the rivalries down between chapters which was a concern of mine.

The whole thing is set up like a board meeting in some respects. Very structured.

Every week you go around the table and hear a 60 second infomercial from each member on what clients you are searching for this week and how your service will benefit others. One segment of the meeting is about third party testimonies from your fellow members. Then, one member then gives a 10 minute speech about their service and what their company represents.

Ultimately, your chapter is your marketing group. So what you pay for is having a group of people dedicated to getting the word out about your service. You can't put 10 people on your payroll that would give you the same dedication and return that this group can give you.

The price to be a member is $330 a year, (at least here) and when you join there is a $100 registration fee. When I was at the meeting today, there was an auto-mechanic that had just joined, and two members approached him about work they needed done on their vehicles. He then exclaimed " Wow, now I've got my money back for the membership. "

So, in a nutshell, it seems to be one of the best marketing strategies for the money. I don't know of any other type of advertising that would give you the same return, or potential for a return.

I really wanted to be in one of two groups that meet at 7 a.m. once a week. That would have been perfect to get it done in the morning and be on my way for the day. But, there is already landscapers represented, so the other three open chapters meet at midday at a local hotel. Only good thing about that is I can get a good lunch in during the meeting.

i definitively going to join, but I need to get caught up on a few bills, and complete a large project coming up in order to have some extra cash to pay for the membership. In the mean-time, I can attend other meeting at other chapters that are open and see if any other group fits my needs.

Hope that helps, I'm sure there is a few things I left out.

cfgardengirl
08-26-2009, 11:41 PM
I am currently a member of a BNI chapter in NC and it is a great group. Of the referrals I have gotten about 1/2 have panned out. We have a very active group. As far a attendance I really think it is up to the group of how strict they are my group id pretty lax. You can get a sub and you are considered in attendance. I would suggest trying it for a year.

White Gardens
09-17-2009, 10:40 AM
Just an update.

The BNI group that I wanted to initially be a part of has an opening for a Landscaper as the other one has dropped out.

I went to the meeting today, and It consist of about 25 members, and some very qualified professionals.

I think I'll be dropping the money to join. The only thing that sucks about it was I was hoping to by another leaf blower.:mad: But, hopefully the referrals will compensate.

mapleleaf
09-17-2009, 11:43 AM
Good luck, keep us posted if you get referals to pay for that blower! I haven't gone to a meeting yet. I'm very concerned with if they boot you out if you miss 3 meetings. Because I could see missing 3 very easily. It's not that I'm not willing to try this out, it's just that the meeting time is not good for my schedule. I don't want to put the money out and then not be allowed in when I can make arrangements to attend a meeting. As for a sub,it's only me and my husband, so if he can't make it due to a far away job, I'd be the sub, and the meetings conflict with my other commitments.

White Gardens
09-17-2009, 02:42 PM
I don't want to put the money out and then not be allowed in when I can make arrangements to attend a meeting. As for a sub,it's only me and my husband, so if he can't make it due to a far away job, I'd be the sub, and the meetings conflict with my other commitments.

They actually give you a list of other members from other chapters that will act as a sub. You'll have more options than just you or your husband then.

I would say to just attend a meeting as a guest. You can at least attend a couple of times before you have to commit.

It's worth it to check it out. Also, is there more than one chapter in your area ??

mapleleaf
09-17-2009, 03:45 PM
There's a one in my town, and then another one about 20 mins away, which that town has a little more high end residents, so I was thinking about checking that one out too. From what I understand neither have a landscaper member yet. The list of member they have do you have to pick one that is the same trade as yours?

yardmanlee
09-17-2009, 06:12 PM
I help formed our chapter, Going on our second yr. you get out of it what you put in it. it has been good for me in many ways, not just referrals but connections I have made from our members and the vistors we have had. plus the networking

White Gardens
09-19-2009, 06:05 PM
There's a one in my town, and then another one about 20 mins away, which that town has a little more high end residents, so I was thinking about checking that one out too. From what I understand neither have a landscaper member yet. The list of member they have do you have to pick one that is the same trade as yours?

Funny thing is, no. The first group I attended as a guest, an auto-mechanic had a CPA subbing for him.

Now I wonder though, we have the luxury of having more than one chapter in our metro area, so, it makes the sub list longer.

alf500series
10-07-2009, 10:30 PM
i am a member of the show me the business chapter here in branson,mo.

http://www.bnistl.com/chapterdetails.php?ID=99

i went as a guest last year and by the end of the meeting i had 3 referrals- which the first one paid for my dues and membership fees! it has been the best investment i have ever made as well as the connections and friends i have made as well. if you have a chance to join DO IT! cuz once your in, you lock out all other landscaping companies from joining the group. and in this economy, we all need all the help we can get. you will be kicking yourself if you don't. even if you dont make alot of money off the bat-think long term. you are getting lots of exposure for literally nothing and making lots of business connections. plus you can get into "power teams". which, like i am in the construction power team, you can all get together and talk about how you can all benefit from each other just in that little sub group.

any more questions feel free to call

417.598.9420

chris

yardmanlee
10-08-2009, 06:19 AM
we dont pass referrals to our visitors they have to join first. what if they didnt join and they just got some work for nothing but showing up.

White Gardens
10-08-2009, 12:20 PM
So, hopefully next week will be my official induction into the group.

So far it's been great. Like stated above, just the networking will be worth it.

alf500series
10-10-2009, 10:04 AM
we make it a point to try and refer the visitors. it definitely helped me to decide on whether or not to join. plus -who is it gonna hurt if you give them referrals. if there is nobody else in the group that offers that service-why withhold that from them. throw a brother a bone.

chris

mapleleaf
10-10-2009, 10:19 AM
I agree who's it going to hurt? If I go as a visitor & I get referals right away, then I would definately be leaning towards joining. To join with no referals is taking a huge leap of faith that referals will come. I don't care that there are no landscapers in the group, & I'd be stopping any from coming in, there hasn't been one in the group in my town for over a year, since the same guy I spoke with last year is still trying to get us in. With this economy & practically no work, I can't afford to be taking leaps. I have to be realistic, I'm not joining to make friends, and need somewhere to hang out early in the morning, it is all about driving the business, & if I can't be proven to me up front then I may have to pass. I have to make ends meet until the snow kicks in! Then maybe next yr I'll have more faith in taking leaps.

yardmanlee
10-10-2009, 05:20 PM
first ya have to know if that person/business is going to be a good referral, if they arient dependable and do a great job would you want to refer them? there is a trust issue

alf500series
10-10-2009, 05:22 PM
true -but 90% of the people that come to our group are friends of the person who brought them or have previously done work for them. so either way they should still know what kind of quality work they do.

White Gardens
10-10-2009, 05:40 PM
I agree who's it going to hurt? If I go as a visitor & I get referals right away, then I would definately be leaning towards joining. To join with no referals is taking a huge leap of faith that referals will come. I don't care that there are no landscapers in the group, & I'd be stopping any from coming in, there hasn't been one in the group in my town for over a year, since the same guy I spoke with last year is still trying to get us in. With this economy & practically no work, I can't afford to be taking leaps. I have to be realistic, I'm not joining to make friends, and need somewhere to hang out early in the morning, it is all about driving the business, & if I can't be proven to me up front then I may have to pass. I have to make ends meet until the snow kicks in! Then maybe next yr I'll have more faith in taking leaps.

You just need to go to a meeting. You'll get all your questions answered there. As a visitor, I passed out cards if someone requested it, I just didn't shove them in their face because I wasn't a member.

I think you'll find more work than you think through a BNI group.

alf500series
10-10-2009, 05:41 PM
:clapping: i concur

Hanau
10-10-2009, 06:04 PM
I'd like to join the nearest one in CDA.

Is it worth spending 3 hours in the truck every week to get to the meetings and back? Is it that good?

yardmanlee
10-10-2009, 07:33 PM
check the BNI website to see if there is a group near you or start your own, I was one of the founding members in our group. Meetings last an hr. and a half, plus networking some during the week, but well worth it. what you put in it is what you'll get out of it!

White Gardens
10-10-2009, 07:59 PM
I'd like to join the nearest one in CDA.

Is it worth spending 3 hours in the truck every week to get to the meetings and back? Is it that good?

Maybe, if you need the work. You might be able to take that day off and work saturdays if you don't already. 3 hour commute might be a bit much unless you can land some big accounts through BNI.

check the BNI website to see if there is a group near you or start your own, I was one of the founding members in our group. Meetings last an hr. and a half, plus networking some during the week, but well worth it. what you put in it is what you'll get out of it!


I agree, see if you can start your own chapter locally.

CheapScapesNC
10-10-2009, 09:04 PM
I have had better results with Leads groups than BNI groups - main difference is no yearly fee, usually just by the meeting. Also, more than one of each trade can join - so you usually get several bankers, realtors, etc - but have always been the only landscaper anyways.

ryde307
10-11-2009, 11:41 AM
I have been in a BNI group for 3 years it pays for itself quickly. Its not always great and having to go everweek kind of sucks it does get repetitave at times. I would still recommend joining if it doesnt work you can quit and your out 400$ not much money considering you probably got a few referrals anyways.

LilesLawn
10-12-2009, 01:42 AM
anytime you have a chance to network with others, it is a great oppotunity. People do business with people they know and trust, so the more people that get to know you on a more than just business level, the more business you should recieve.

JayD
02-01-2010, 10:20 AM
Very good thread!
I am wanting to join too and I have attended my first meeting last week. The only thing holding me back right now is the cash. I have spent just about everything I had left on upcoming news paper adds and getting truck lettered and more... As I read these post, it makes me wonder about how much time and effort do you have to put in just so you can come to each meeting and have some referrals to pass out? Do you have to have some at every single meeting?

JayD
02-01-2010, 10:28 AM
I have to add, that when I went last week as a visitor, one of the first things I thought I would get out of this is learning to and being more comfortable with speaking to large groups, something that I have always shied away from. This makes you do it and that alone to me is worth something....just my 2 cents

JayD
02-01-2010, 10:39 AM
I'm really wanting to join but like I said my money is depleted. Until work starts back up and monies start coming back in I cant. My question to you guys is this. I just attended my first visitor meeting last week and could go this Wed for my second, should I call or email the guy who invited me(which is the president) and just let him know my problem so he wont think I just don't want to join. I don't really want to go to the final meeting knowing that I don't have the money at this time and have to look at them and tell them I'm broke. What would you do,
Thanks...

White Gardens
02-01-2010, 10:46 AM
Very good thread!
I am wanting to join too and I have attended my first meeting last week. The only thing holding me back right now is the cash. I have spent just about everything I had left on upcoming news paper adds and getting truck lettered and more... As I read these post, it makes me wonder about how much time and effort do you have to put in just so you can come to each meeting and have some referrals to pass out? Do you have to have some at every single meeting?

I have to add, that when I went last week as a visitor, one of the first things I thought I would get out of this is learning to and being more comfortable with speaking to large groups, something that I have always shied away from. This makes you do it and that alone to me is worth something....just my 2 cents

You don't have to have a referral every meeting. They come and go. Some members have told me that they can go a long time in-between referrals, but the ones they give usually pan out.

I've already generated enough business to pay for my yearly fee, this includes a few small jobs. I've also got interest from members on doing landscaping for them, but that won't pan out until the spring when the weather gets nicer. One member is a well liked insurance agent, and has a cult following on his Facebook page. He posted a link to my Facebook business page and it has generated good leads and interest. Basically the BNI group is helping to spread the word about who I am, so it's accelerating my word-of-mouth advertising.

All in all it's worth it. As a sole operator, it's nice to have the group to speak in front of like you mentioned and also to bounce business ideas around with other business owners. (talking to myself doesn't cut it.:laugh:)

I am definitively getting some good from this group on many levels, and they seem happy to have me.

JayD
02-01-2010, 11:13 AM
You don't have to have a referral every meeting. They come and go. Some members have told me that they can go a long time in-between referrals, but the ones they give usually pan out.

I've already generated enough business to pay for my yearly fee, this includes a few small jobs. I've also got interest from members on doing landscaping for them, but that won't pan out until the spring when the weather gets nicer. One member is a well liked insurance agent, and has a cult following on his Facebook page. He posted a link to my Facebook business page and it has generated good leads and interest. Basically the BNI group is helping to spread the word about who I am, so it's accelerating my word-of-mouth advertising.

All in all it's worth it. As a sole operator, it's nice to have the group to speak in front of like you mentioned and also to bounce business ideas around with other business owners. (talking to myself doesn't cut it.:laugh:)

I am definitively getting some good from this group on many levels, and they seem happy to have me.

:laugh::laugh:talking to your self....you crack me up...

Yeah, like I said, I really think it will help me gain new business and I did look at all the other chapters around here and none of them have a lawn care guy, so the potential to get known at other chapters is even better too. I do very much want to join but no money at this time.

Did you have a thought on my I think last question about emailing my host just to let him know where I stand...

White Gardens
02-01-2010, 12:01 PM
:laugh::laugh:talking to your self....you crack me up...

Yeah, like I said, I really think it will help me gain new business and I did look at all the other chapters around here and none of them have a lawn care guy, so the potential to get known at other chapters is even better too. I do very much want to join but no money at this time.

Did you have a thought on my I think last question about emailing my host just to let him know where I stand...

BNI will only let you attend so many meetings as a guest until they put the screws to you to join. I would e-mail him and see what he says. The great thing about your location is that you stated that there are other chapters in the area without a lawn-guy. So if you can't join right away, and some other guy steps into the group you are looking at, then you can join another.

Another good thing about your situation is that you can sign up to be a sub if someone is absent in another chapter. You can go to that chapter as a sub, do what you need to do for that person, then you can state who you are and your business so you can generate business through the other groups. You can also attend the other groups as a guest and state who you are. There is a lot of options for you.

In our area, there is a lawn guy/scaper in the other chapters, so even if I go as a sub, I can't mention what I do during the meetings in order not to step on the toes of the other member who is a lawn guy.

Hope that makes sense.:hammerhead:

ryde307
02-01-2010, 01:37 PM
I think I posted already in this thread but I have been in BNI for 3 years now. It works well for us. Deifinatly wish we were getting more out of it but still making enough to easly pay for the fees plus put some in the pocket.
I have met alot of people through BNI and believe that is what I like the most. I have saved alot of money referring myself to companies in there that I probably never would have known. My area is coverd in lawn and landscape companies so almost every chapter has one but I still try to visisit other to network and get irrigation work. I figure in life it more about who you know these days and this helps me meet many people in great positions.

yardmanlee
02-01-2010, 07:25 PM
as I said before its worked well for us, in the last 2 1/2 yrs I think they have feed me more than 30k in referrals and has helped me alot w/ speaking infront of people and small groups, this is an idea that I have talk over w/ other lco's in bni's around our areas is sharing 10 min ideas or ways that you promote your business in BNI. Anybody care to share?

lone wolf
02-01-2010, 09:47 PM
definitly join.
I joined 4 years ago. I still have my 2 biggest accounts. 1 at $300 per month, and 1 at $720 per month.

Sure I have to pay $330 a year and $22 per month for chapter dues, 1 month of income more than pays for BNI. We get together about 1 time a month for "happy hour", where no one really talks "shop".

Besides I have made life long friends that I otherwise would not have made.

You will be impressed with it.