How Does BNI Differ From Other Networking Organizations?
How does BNI membership differ from other organizations?
- BNI charges more than most other referral organizations. Why? First of all, BNI is the largest organization of it’s kind in the world (because it works). You have access to members across your city and around the world. I have visited numerous chapters in my city. When I visit them I get to present what I do to the group, hand out my business cards, and meet business owners that I am likely to do business with. Second, psychologically speaking, we as human being are more likely to put in a strong effort if we pay more to be a member. If your referral organization charges little or nothing, there is little incentive for members to put in their best effort, to show up on time, or to even attend all the chapter meetings. Because BNI membership is not cheap, I have found that everyone works hard to bring other members more business (they know it’s reciprocal, so if they put in a good effort for me then I will put in a good effort for them), they all show up on time and attend every meeting. I have not found this to be the case in other networking organizations I have been a part of. Many of our chapter members have been a member for over 10 years now, and they all say that joining was the smartest move they ever made. Many members in our chapter get 75%+ of their revenue from referrals given to them by chapter members. Year to date in 2001, our chapter (18 members) has brought in referral revenue of $1.1 Million to our chapter’s members. Compare these figures to those in other networking organizations and you will see a HUGE difference.
- BNI is more formal/structured than other networking organizations. Maybe, maybe not. I have seen other networking organizations that are just as structured, if not more so, than BNI. I initially felt that I didn’t want an organization with a lot of structure, but I have come to realize that a bit of order/structure helps everyone be focused and bring in more business. Honestly, the structure in BNI is less than the structure I’ve seen at most other organizations, including corporations. Yes, there is an order in which the meetings are conducted, but I have found that it is an overwhelmingly good thing. Without a bit of structure, people tend to come late, not attend, talk to others during the meeting, or check their smartphones constantly. This is not a problem in my BNI chapter, and I really appreciate that. It makes me angry when members don’t care enough to be there, be on time, and listen. Other organizations I’ve been involved with are little more than a social club. That’s fine if that is what you want, but I have found that they produce little business for their members. I have been a member of BNI for less than 6 months now, and I have already had a TON of business referred to me by my chapter members. My annual membership fee has already paid for itself. I know that as I really get to know and work with my chapter members over the next year they will come to trust my work even more and will bring me much, much more business.
Listen, I am an honest person, and I like to help people. I have written this in the hopes of helping those in other networking organizations realize that they can “have more”, and helping those not currently in networking organizations realize that they can easily get their own “sales team” of passionate, dedicated members working for them. Don’t settle for networking organizations that don’t bring you any business. Don’t settle for networking organizations where nobody has an incentive to help you grow your business. Don’t settle for networking organizations where membership turns like a revolving door because members don’t get any benefit from attending meetings or working hard for their chapter members.
It’s not hard, it’s easy. Just come visit a BNI chapter for free and see the difference. Our Visitor’s Day is coming up on October 25th (7am). Let me know if you’d like to attend, meet some great people, hand out your business cards, and have a hot breakfast on me.