Business Network International (BNI) has some excellent statistics to boast about. It is the world’s leading business referral organization. According to bni.com, BNI passed over 11.2 million referrals last year, which resulted in more than 15 billion dollars in business. And as the president of the Capital Business Alliance Chapter, Brian Loebig is always happy to share about the effectiveness of making connections through BNI.
Are you a member? If so, you know about the benefits of going to meetings, networking with fellow business owners, and at times, being the one to make a featured presentation. But do you know the benefits of inviting visitors to your BNI presentation? Here are nine good reasons why you should take that opportunity.
- The Power of One: An important principle of BNI is that measuring your performance and progress matters. Taking just one action makes a difference, and you can expand that concept to several activities each week. As a BNI member, it’s important to attend the chapter meeting once per week. Then study one education unit per week. Have a sit-down one-on-one conversation with another member once per week and give a business referral to someone in your chapter each week as well. Keep at it and the benefits multiply. Add this to the list: Bring one visitor to a meeting each month. They will make connections, tell their friends about their experience, and the business possibilities increase for everyone. Let the Power of One do its magic!
- Increase Membership: The more often you can bring someone out to experience a meeting, the more likely you will find someone who will want to join the chapter. BNI accepts only one member for each business category so members are not in competition with one another. As membership grows, the more likely it is that members’ businesses will complement one another. If your group includes the owner of a wedding venue, the event photographer you bring as a guest could be a perfect new addition.
- Personal Credibility: Paid promotions are often a significant part of raising the profile of a business. Word of mouth, however, can be priceless. By bringing a friend to the BNI meeting who knows you and your business well, that person is likely to promote your work naturally by way of personal testimonials. If it is your turn to make a featured presentation on your work, you will give your guest a lot of immediate material to work with. Why not bring someone around who’ll help others see how you shine?
- Rack Up the Referrals: You never know who will connect with whom for business opportunities. That’s all the more reason to bring people together for conversations on what they offer and what they may need. If one of your visitors happens to hire a chapter member for a service, that’s one more referral on your list of accomplishments.
- Increase Revenue: The average BNI visitor bring $1000 in closed business to a chapter, even if they don’t, or can’t, join. You never know what services or products someone may need from a member of your chapter. I have invited close friends and family members to chapter meetings in the past only to discover, after the meeting, that they needed painting done on a porch or a will drawn up for a loved one!
- Points of Contact: It is always great when someone you’ve invited is interested and available to accompany you to a BNI meeting. But what if they can’t make it? It’s still good that you asked. Networking isn’t only achieved when the initial goal is met; just making a contact is important, as you never know what will manifest in the future. Extending an invitation kindles your relationships to all the people you’ve invited, even if they weren’t able to attend.
- Residual Visitors: Most of the people who you invite will not be able to attend on the day of your presentation. Though your invitee couldn’t make it when you first asked, they may keep it in mind. You may ask again. However it happens, that person might eventually make it to a BNI meeting. They may tell others about it, too, who in turn express interest in checking out BNI. One initial invitation could lead to visitors for weeks after the initial invitation was made.
- Inspiration: When your chapter members notice that you extend invitations consistently, it may inspire them to do the same. Your simple act can multiply positive action.
- LinkedIn Value: Inviting visitors on LinkedIn provides you with an invitation history right in the message thread. This is a great bonus value on the LinkedIn platform. The next time you want to reach back out to your invitee, you will see when and how you invited them in the past along with their responses. You will also have their current professional information and recent posts at the ready to help you engage them with relevant conversation.
- Getting Social: Inviting someone through social media increases your personal engagement. Every time you send a shout out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another social platform, others have the chance to see your post and take an interest. It’s an easy way to keep in contact, spark conversation, and increase your online visibility.
Would you like to learn more about BNI? Contact Brian about attending an upcoming meeting.