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10 Steps for One-to-One Success at BNI

by Richard Foulkes

Visibility, Credibility & Profitability (VCP)

In BNI, Visibility, Credibility & Profitability (VCP) occurs when a member has built a relationship with another member to the point where they refer each other consistently to external referrals. They trust each other so much; the relationship is profitable. This is when BNI can be very financially rewarding. Can anyone think of two (or more) members in our chapter that have this type of VCP? It might show up in the number of referrals they pass to each other and the amount of TYFCB they generate for each other. 

However, you can be Visible and Credible with other members without being profitable. That is just a business friendship. 

It’s important to realise that you don’t achieve VCP with the Chapter as a whole, especially simultaneously. It’s a continuum. You can be possibly visible to the whole chapter through good attendance and effective sales pitches, and you may even be credible with the whole chapter at the same time, but being Profitable is a member-by-member proposition. 

How do we get to Profitability with another member? It starts with multiple One-to-Ones and ends up with working together on the same clients. This means we need our One-to-Ones to be effective. Let’s look at the 10 steps to One-to-One Success.

Schedule the meeting in advance, allowing both parties ample time to prepare. Set a clear agenda outlining the topics to be covered and share any relevant background information. In addition, fill out and email a GAINS Exchange sheet a few days before you meet. As a courtesy, attach a blank one along with yours, in case your referral partner doesn’t have the form handy.

Arrive on time to show respect for the other person’s schedule and to maximise the meeting’s productivity. Showing up on time tells the other person that you’re taking this meeting seriously and that you’re ready to talk business. Remember, online meetings can be effective but meeting in person at least once is Gold. Not showing up for a One-to-One or not letting the other member know in plenty of time you can’t make it is a subtraction from your level of Credibility with that member. Even if they say “That’s okay”.

Asking Open-Ended Questions
Encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions that allow the other person to share more about their business, experiences, and goals. This is especially important when you’re meeting with new or shy members.

Sharing Personal Stories
Build rapport by sharing personal stories and experiences, which can help create a deeper connection and understanding between both parties. Stories about your business are also important. They are easy to remember as opposed to stats and figures.

Establishing Goals
It’s an important part of the GAINS Exchange. Talking about your goals makes your referral partner want to help you achieve them.

Discussing Referrals and Introductions
Take time to discuss potential referrals, focusing on the types of clients or businesses each person is seeking and how to identify those opportunities. In addition, think of specific people you’d like to meet. You never know who people know, so be sure to name them.

Providing Value
Offer helpful advice, resources, or connections to support your referral partner’s business growth and development.

Following Up
Here’s the most important part of the meeting — one that is often left out and could cost you some business. At the end of the One-to-One, set a time for a follow-up on your commitments. For example, you could say: “During our meeting, we agreed that I would introduce you to [person’s name] who could be a valuable connection for your business. I will reach out to them by [specific date] and keep you updated on the progress. Also, you agreed to ask your friend if I could contact him about a potential collaboration. Let’s touch base again on [specific date] to discuss the outcomes and explore further opportunities to support each other’s businesses.”

Recording the One-to-One
Before you leave, be sure to open the BNI Connect app and log your One-to-One as completed.


Following these 10 steps will give you the best chance for business success and a bigger Return On Interest from your BNI membership!

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