Here is part of the email he sent me,
So is this a good opportunity to meet more people and establish more connections or just a total waste of time?
BNI is a terrific referal group though I question the business end of it. It is a similar organization to the rotary minus the good semaritan affect...
As appealing as it will always be to network myself with a group of people who become obliged to do business with me- I have found the time is better spent networking and marketing in other ways- the commitment to these groups is a bit too much. Depending on your industry I would consider if it is not limiting my ability to grow..
I have been invited by several local chapters. It is what is known as a "Strong Networking" group meaning only one discipline is allowed per chapter, e.g., one lawyer, one doctor, one roofer, etc. There are specific requirements that each and every member of the chapter has to follow to develop referrals for other members of the chapter with specific reporting requirements weekly.
I did not join as while I could readily understand what the lawyer, doctor and roofer did for a "living", I could find no one that understood the global marketplace and how to generate referrals for my company. I believe it is probably a good referral organization for local businesses but like aaronmutt above, I question the business end of it and how the "organizers" are reimbursed for setting up the chapters. There are several others around like LBN but the real value would be in determining the relative ROI based on membership fees.
Have a great and successful week.
I am a BNI member in Bonita Springs, Florida. I represent the commercial mortgage & business lending. I have had success with the group in terms of being introduced to speres of influences within the community. Afetr 6 months I have no closed loans but working on one deal currently that should net me over $7,500 when closed. You can not join the group thinking short term. It will take awhile to get to know fellow members and forge relationships that will make you money. It is a more locally run organization but BNI does have chapters around the world and you can refer to any chapter and get credit within your local group.
The idea behind the group is givers gain, which says give referrals to other members and you will receive more referrals of your own by giving. Long term I think that the group will be lucrative for me.
Feel free to email me with our questions about BNI. I can also direct you to your local chapter president if anyone is interested.
I am an aspiring BNI member here in the Bay Area - just turned my application in today! Wish me luck! :)
Anyhow, I joined because I look at every advertising/networking dollar as investment. I figure if I get one client from a referral then my dues were worth the while! :)
I actually did a little "shopping" when trying to find the right group for me, too. Because I hope to busy myself with clients who want and can afford superior levels of service, I went for groups that were in the areas where I figured more of those kinds of referrals would be. I found a gem of a group that has a hair/makeup artist, a florist, a jeweler and a person who enjoys planning small intimate, but upscale, parties (perfect for handing off engagement parties, bridal showers, etc.) and so I`m now awaiting an answer on whether I`m "in" or "out."
I was a
I opted to join an outer region, 30 miles from
Either way it is very dependent of other factors other than networking.
Three fields that benefit mostly from my experience are real
estate agents, mortgage companies or banks, and title companies. These three sectors work hand-in-hand.
Good luck and wish you the best.
Update on my BNI prospects:
I learned yesterday that I`m not a perfect match for the group I was hoping to join. Actually, no, I do think I was a good match. The only problem is that I have been in business less than a year and they prefer not to take people who`ve not been in business at least that long. C`est la vie...at least I made some excellent contacts whom I can still network with outiside of BNI.
I now have the option of auditioning other younger groups which also haven`t been in business terribly long. I can see the value in this in one sense, but because most of the groups do not have people with whom my services are well-matched, I`m not sure it is the best place for my $$. I will be thinking a little more about what I want to do...
I joined a BNI group in March, and to be honest, I wasn`t sure how much it would really help me because I am virtual and wasn`t interested in local clients ONLY, but I knew for sure I would get one client if I joined (which would then pay for itself) and I currently have that client plus 1 more client and another potential client from the group itself, plus ALL these people working on referrals for me. I think it is great tool for MOST people, but of course there are those businesses that it might not be as effective for!