Recently I marked 13 years at BNI and was reflecting on how important the organisation has been for growing my business. I’ve been a member of BNI Newton since 2003 and estimate had over $550,000 worth of business through my chapter in that time. My return on investment has been extraordinary and it has also been an opportunity for me to learn and grow as a businessperson.
Set goals for success
Part of my success at BNI I believe is down to my willingness to be committed and engaged with my chapter. I set goals when I first joined BNI and regularly revisit and revise these – I recommend other members do the same. Two key goals that have led to success are:
- Set a dollar amount for the business you would like each year from BNI members and contacts. I started with $50,000 in business and now am at $100,000 per annum.
- Set an objective for one-to -ones. I made a plan to do 2 one-to -ones with every member in my chapter over a calendar year. There’s nothing like talking about who your perfect client is and asking do you know anyone who fits the bill?
- Set a visitors goal. I have promised myself that I will be responsible for the induction of 6 new members this year. 2 down and 4 to go, and I have 3 visitors attending in the next 2 weeks. A tip; if like me you spend a lot of time in my car, then you will see sign written vehicles everywhere – jot down the details and then call them.
Engagement to my chapter has meant making a commitment to attend every meeting, no matter what. On the rare occasion that I am absent, I always use a substitute.
Attendance really is king at BNI and it has been a huge part of my success. It’s not just about the opportunity for business; it’s also about respect for your fellow members. I treat attending BNI meetings like client appointments. I always turn up ready, willing and able to do business every week. That shows other members that you value your association with BNI and treasure their membership. It also demonstrates to them what sort of businessperson you are.
It’s all about respect
Don’t overlook the importance of Thank You For Closed Business. Similarly, don’t overlook the referrals you receive that don’t lead to sales. The reality is some referrals just don’t turn into business. Still, acknowledge any BNI member that gives you a referral. Don’t overlook the referring member; thank them for the opportunity they have provided you. Keep them informed about the process. It’s as simple as picking up the phone and saying something like: “Thanks for the referral, unfortunately (for whatever reason) we weren’t able to do business but thanks for the opportunity.” It’s all about respect – members really appreciate being kept in the loop.
For me, BNI is also about embracing opportunities. That’s why I’ve never declined a leadership role when it has been offered to me. I’ve been in most of the leadership roles in BNI over my 13 years and recommend other people take up these types of opportunities. By taking leadership on, you develop as a person and businessperson. It also shows other members that you care about your chapter and its future. This loyalty to BNI will pay off in the long run.
When it comes to membership at BNI; the more the merrier. As the membership at your chapter grows, so will the energy and business. 30 members is a tipping point where you will see a significant increase in business and the volume of referrals. You will also notice a change of dynamics in the chapter as the energy level increases. Our chapter currently has 23 members and we are looking to grow. The industries we are currently looking for include: a painter, architect, graphic designer, corporate gifts, florist, property valuer, commercial real estate. If you are in business in one of these industries, we would love to hear from you – get in touch with me on 021 289 7887, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yvonne Procter, President for BNI Newton / Insurance adviser & broker, Head of Insurance Works