BNI (Business Network International) offers the structure, experience and teaching to make sure your word-of-mouth marketing efforts pay off. But just buying a membership in the worlds’ largest networking organization isn’t enough…. as our director is fond of saying; “It’s called net-working…. not net-sitting, net-lunching or net-schmoozing“. There is work involved. Here are the top 10 tips to help you get the most out of your membership at your BNI chapter.
10 ways to maximize the benefits of your BNI Membership
1) Arrive early
Meetings start at a preset time, most often 7 am for morning meetings, or [12:00] noon for lunchtime chapters. Show up 10 minutes early to get a little extra networking done.
2) Be there….EVERY week
Use a substitute as a last resort, but remember, no one knows or cares about YOUR business as much as YOU do. Missing a BNI meeting can be ‘Hazardous to your Wealth”. (Another one of our directors’ favorite sayings).
3) Invite your own guests
Invite your clients, suppliers, or prospects. Especially on a day when it’s your turn to do the 10 minute presentation.
4) Pay attention to other members’ 60-second infomercials
When your referral-partners are speaking, pay attention. They will likely give you the info you need to bring a great referral to them…..and remember, its “Givers Gain”. You bring THEM business, and they will pay you back.
5) Sell to your members sphere,…not just to the members
Remember, BNI is NOT a buying club. The power does not lie in marketing your services to other members. Rather, the real payoffs is in marketing to their spheres, their clients, friends, family members, etc. etc.
6) Follow up on referrals
Whenever you get a referral, follow up on it in a timely manner. Dropping the ball makes you look bad. Worse, it makes the person who GAVE you the referral look bad.
7) Use 1-to-1’s (Business Building Interviews) to maximum effect
Come prepared to talk about your business, and to ask about your referral partners business. Use the hour to learn as much as possible about each other.
8) Prepare your 60-second infomercial
Don’t ‘wing it’. For new members, take a little time to write out and practice 4 different infomercials, and rotate them thru-out the month. Other members appreciate the practiced presentation, especially if its no longer than the allowed 60 seconds.
9) Prepare your 10 minute presentation
If your chapter has 25 members, you’ll only get this chance 2 times a year. Make the most of it. Prepare, educate and entertain your referral partners.
10) Keep it positive
Nobody likes a sour-puss. If you have grievances, or issues with other members, leave them outside the room.
BONUS: Volunteer in a leadership team position
Chapters don’t run themselves. Each chapter needs a President, a VP, A Treasurer, several Visitor Hosts, Social Events Co-ordinator, Mentors, and numerous other positions. Let current leadership team know that you’re willing to serve. These positions provide great experiences and added exposure for your name and company.