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newguy123
01-15-2013, 10:55 PM
Not sure if this is in the right spot, but has anyone every joined a BNI local chapter? http://bni.com/

If so, what were the pros/cons? Did you receive many referrals that lead to customers?

Thanks

grandview (2006)
01-16-2013, 05:42 AM
BNI is a national company. That group costs a lot to join,and the why some people they'll just write up leads to make themselves look good. If you have a local Chamber of Commerce ask if they know of local networking group, much cheaper to join. I've been in a local one for 10 yrs now. We collect enough to pay for the room and breakfast. And no extra fees. I do pickup work from it ,but also it works both ways I use members for my business and personal stuff and getting hooked up with the good guy pricing!

Bunton Guy
01-16-2013, 09:27 AM
I went to one BNI meeting. Was about to join until they said that you had to come weekly. If you could not show up you must send a representative from your company in your place. You get 3 "no shows" and then they kick you out of the inner circle.

At that time (and now) I just can't make it weekly....maybe once or twice a month but not weekly to meetings. Chamber of commerce sounds like a better direction.

newguy123
01-16-2013, 07:15 PM
I went to one BNI meeting. Was about to join until they said that you had to come weekly. If you could not show up you must send a representative from your company in your place. You get 3 "no shows" and then they kick you out of the inner circle.

At that time (and now) I just can't make it weekly....maybe once or twice a month but not weekly to meetings. Chamber of commerce sounds like a better direction.


Yeah I heard that before. From what I understand the enforce attendance to help promote leads, etc., instead of people showing up without supporting one another.

Any other ideas out there?

grandview (2006)
01-16-2013, 07:22 PM
With my group we try for weekly attendance. But most of us are solo so if you miss a meeting not really going to be kicked out. Just a note if you do join one it takes time to start getting leads most of them members want to study you and see what type of person you are. They don't want to recommend you and you don't follow though,makes them and you look bad.

Will P.C.
01-16-2013, 07:53 PM
Here is a brief summary. Not my own words, but couldn't have said it better


Business Network International (BNI) is completely legitimate. They are a leads generating operation where each member brings in contacts that other members don't have. They have chapters around the world and in every state in the U.S., but don't cover every city.

They operate as independent chapters, but under strict regulations. The weekly meetings usually include a meal, but the costs can vary greatly with one-time registration fee, annuals dues, and variable costs for local meetings.

Membership is limited to one person per business category, with members encouraged to not only do business with each other when possible, but also to bring leads and referrals to at least one member each week.

The value to you will have a lot to do with the other members as well as total referral activity within the group. You are allowed to visited every chapter in your market - twice each - before joining, so it make sense to visit everyone that has an opening for you - within a reasonable distance.

Members are required to attend regularly and only two absences are allowed each quarter, unless you send another person to attend in your place.

Depending on your products and/or services, membership could pay for itself from just one new customer, or might be a waste of your time/capital.

The regimentation can be a bit overbearing (bordering on childish to some), but they do get results in most cases.

Check out your chosen group well before you join. My chapter losts its charter within 6-months of my joining - With no possible refund on annual dues. I'm told I can join another chapter free (where they have a vacancy for me), but the nearest chapters are 90 to 150 miles distant - hardly an option when weekly meetings are required.

A well hidden secret behind BNI is that they operate as franchises, with chapters getting their support from the franchise owner, which can be an entire state or region within your state. The chapters operate as a profit generator for the franchise owner.

grandview (2006)
01-16-2013, 08:07 PM
Also with BNI ,you get a lot of fake "leads" from members to keep their totals up. Our group charges 10 bucks a week to cover breakfast and the room,no other fees/

newguy123
01-16-2013, 11:57 PM
Also with BNI ,you get a lot of fake "leads" from members to keep their totals up. Our group charges 10 bucks a week to cover breakfast and the room,no other fees/

Do you find that the leads are actually quality leads? Has being a BNI member helped you?

Big C
01-17-2013, 12:28 PM
I went to one BNI meeting. Was about to join until they said that you had to come weekly. If you could not show up you must send a representative from your company in your place. You get 3 "no shows" and then they kick you out of the inner circle.

At that time (and now) I just can't make it weekly....maybe once or twice a month but not weekly to meetings. Chamber of commerce sounds like a better direction.

That's the same reason I didn't join my local group..in the middle of the mowing season I cannot attend meetings every week, also as a member you are given "research projects" that you have to prepare for a presentation to the group....No Thanks...my schedule is full enough already.

memphis.landscape
01-17-2013, 01:20 PM
I have been in a BNI group for close to 2 years. It is a great investment. I have done over $10,000 of jobs a year from in at a cost of $300 a year +$20 a month for room fees. We are very careful in how we label things, a lead is not a referral. If someone is constantly handing out crappy leads they will not be renewed and their spot will be filled by someone else. I now have customers coming to me asking if i know a plumber, electrician etcc. (aka they trust me) well worth the time and money

PaperCutter
01-17-2013, 02:21 PM
I agree with Memphis, a lead is not a referral. If someone is handing out crap leads, membership committee needs to be made aware and they will (if it's truly a good group) bounce that member.

I've been in BNI since 2009. If you're considering it you really need to visit multiple chapters before deciding. I joined the first chapter I visited and it was just ok. A year later I visited my current chapter and immediately quit my old seat and applied. It's been a huge part of growing my business, and it gave me exposure to a market I wouldn't have cracked so easily. Today was my keynote, and I rolled out a new product line I'm dealing with this year, and I got qualified referrals for 3 outdoor kitchens. Worth $365/yr? I'd say so.

According to BNI, the attendance policy is in place because they examined chapters with different standards, and found that those where members showed up weekly passed the most business. You can also send a sub, and the sub doesn't have to be an employee of your company. I have a speaking engagement next week and can't make the meeting, so I have a photographer subbing for me.

I've done less formal leadshare groups through the chamber of commerce, and they were a joke. People get so caught up in being "the anti-BNI" that there's no structure and nothing gets done.

Anyhow, newguy - have you been to a meeting?

newguy123
01-17-2013, 03:08 PM
[QUOTE=PaperCutter;4647081]I agree with Memphis, a lead is not a referral. If someone is handing out crap leads, membership committee needs to be made aware and they will (if it's truly a good group) bounce that member.

I've been in BNI since 2009. If you're considering it you really need to visit multiple chapters before deciding. I joined the first chapter I visited and it was just ok. A year later I visited my current chapter and immediately quit my old seat and applied. It's been a huge part of growing my business, and it gave me exposure to a market I wouldn't have cracked so easily. Today was my keynote, and I rolled out a new product line I'm dealing with this year, and I got qualified referrals for 3 outdoor kitchens. Worth $365/yr? I'd say so.

According to BNI, the attendance policy is in place because they examined chapters with different standards, and found that those where members showed up weekly passed the most business. You can also send a sub, and the sub doesn't have to be an employee of your company. I have a speaking engagement next week and can't make the meeting, so I have a photographer subbing for me.

I've done less formal leadshare groups through the chamber of commerce, and they were a joke. People get so caught up in being "the anti-BNI" that there's no structure and nothing gets done.

Anyhow, newguy - have you been to a meeting?[/QUOT


Thanks PaperCutter,

That was a very good response. To answer your question, yes I have been to a meeting, but only once and it was almost 2 years ago.

I've been considering joining to network more with professionals in the area. When I attended the meeting it was well organized and structured, which to me appeared to be a successful process and group.

Beyond that I wanted to see if anyone in the industry values the BNI group. Obviously you do and for that I really appreciate your input.

grandview (2006)
01-17-2013, 03:25 PM
Yes ,I do get go referrals,just about a guaranteed sale if you were referred to someone. I use the group for myself just as much. We needed a new boiler for our home. We had a heating guy and gave me a kick ass deal.Saved almost 3k on that alone ,same with my printing supplies,guy in our group,and a few other.

PaperCutter
01-17-2013, 03:50 PM
newguy - awesome, sounds like a good group. Def look at a few and make sure you feel like it's a good fit. You're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you. If you have other questions feel free to PM me or email me through my website, happy to help.

newguy123
01-17-2013, 03:55 PM
newguy - awesome, sounds like a good group. Def look at a few and make sure you feel like it's a good fit. You're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you. If you have other questions feel free to PM me or email me through my website, happy to help.

Thanks PaperCutter, will do. By the way, I like the work you have displayed on your website, those patios, etc. look awesome!

PaperCutter
01-17-2013, 04:23 PM
Thanks! We have a lot of fun and work with some really cool clients.

Will P.C.
01-17-2013, 06:35 PM
Yes ,I do get go referrals,just about a guaranteed sale if you were referred to someone. I use the group for myself just as much. We needed a new boiler for our home. We had a heating guy and gave me a kick ass deal.Saved almost 3k on that alone ,same with my printing supplies,guy in our group,and a few other.

This a good point mate. You are saving a nice chunk of money