Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Finally after what has been a very long time debating with myself, asking the opinion of others and attending a few BNI Chapter meetings… I took the plunge and I joined BNI Caterham Chapter (Chapter is what they call network).
I love systems and structures and systems and organisation and did I mention systems… Well for me, BNI has all of that wrapped up in one.
But I was hesitant to join due to
- Large upfront cash injection required
- Attendance to each weeks meeting
- Giving 1 minute presentation each week
- …Most importantly, giving referrals to EVERYONE in the room
I am a Virtual Assistant, I work from the cosy and extremely comfortable location of my home office. There are businesses, in these chapters whose services I have never heard off and haven’t got the foggiest idea what they do “…errr excuse me, how I can refer tangible business to them?”
BUT…. A huge big (Kardashian) BUT…. There is more to BNI than just referrals! I can still help others, get value for my membership and actually enjoy attending by participating in other ways, which to be honest was not very obvious initially:
Attend the meetings
This might seem silly, although is fundamental, l have attended many meetings where there are over 100 members but only a handful turn up each week / fortnight / month. So if members attend regularly, it demonstrates commitment, loyalty and dedication to the group. It also helps to build up trust in each individual. People buy from people.
Have meetings with other members, firstly to gain a better understanding of their business and to find out whom they would like as a referral. As well as build up a friendship, it’s amazing the life experiences you get to hear in a 121.
BNI has loads of training sessions for their members throughout the year. Such as how to get the most from membership and various business skills.
Bring guests along
It is beneficial for the BNI Chapter if current members bring along a new professional, which is not yet represented. You help grow your chapter, but more importantly have another person out there in the big wide world being the sales person for your business, talking to a whole new industry about your services/products that you might not have been able to reach.
Within your BNI Chapter you have the option to give a 10 minute presentation. This presentation further demonstrate your skills, goods or services provided. It’s 10 times better than a 60 second speech, as all eyes are focused on you. It’s like giving your sales team a prep talk about what you want them to promote on your behalf. So all members of the meeting are armed with information to sell for you.
This is when you or someone you know, have used the services or purchased from a professional within the BNI Chapter and it was just your cup of tea. A short statement on letter headed paper explaining all the benefits of the service and why you would recommend them to others. This is given to the professional and can be used as part of their marketing.
From all the research I have done, I know it’s not for everybody, but “You have to be in it, to win it” just ask Leicester City! So I’m going to give it 100% effort and get on with get on with helping others.
What are your thoughts on BNI? Good or bad?