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How can you invite busy people to your BNI networking events?

by Richard Foulkes

Why BNI?

Show of hands please, who here thinks they are a better businessperson and/or better person because of their BNI membership? Most of you? That’s great, me too.

Interestingly, many members say they joined BNI initially for more business but that after a while the extra business is a nice bonus and they stay for the friendships, support and personal development.

They also say Givers Gain and BNI has helped them be a better businessperson and a better person in general.

So, how does that change how we should invite visitors, especially those busy people?

Inviting Busy People

Who has tried inviting a busy person by asking if they want more business? What was their response? Possibly, “Sorry but I’m too busy already”?

So, what is a better way to invite busy people or people that have a slightly out of control businesses?

Should we ask them if they want a better business? If we believe we are better businesspeople by being part of BNI, we can say something like “ It sounds like you don’t need more business, but would you like a better business? I’m part of a networking chapter that’s helped me improve my business to be able to do business more easily I can invite you along to check it out one morning. It’s before work hours so it doesn’t take up work time. Which week suits you?”

Givers Gain and Inviting Business

Givers Gain is our underlying Core Value. It simply means that by giving business to others, you will get business in return. When we entice visitors with the lure that they might receive referrals, it’s counter productive to the philosophy of Givers Gain. They may come and expect to receive, sometimes at their first meeting whereas we know referrals should be passed once we have proven that we are trustworthy. If they then join, we must re-educate them that all members must give to receive and to they need to establish their Visibility and Credibility before expecting to receive referrals.

Referrals are a privilege of membership, not a gift for visitors to expect. When inviting, it’s good to talk about how members generate referrals for each other and that the meetings are enjoyable, or that you get a lot out of the meetings personally and professionally. Ask them just to come to see what it’s like as it’s hard to explain easily. But promising or suggesting that they might get business just by visiting can entice them for the wrong reason.


Ironically, we do want people with busy businesses as members, not people with too much time and no business. So busy people are good visitors.

Consider carefully how you invite them and remember – in general, asking if people want more business and inferring they can get business just by visiting may attract the wrong type of visitor.

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