We understand that most people will want to understand the BNI benefits and advantages before joining the networking organization. Therefore, we decided to dedicate this article to cover all the benefits and advantages that comes with the package.
Frankly speaking, the above statement does not only apply to joining BNI. In fact, it is almost true for every decision that we have to make in life; we humans tend to weigh the pros and cons before choosing a route.
Before we start, do you have no idea what is BNI? Then I recommend reading up the article that I had written titled: “Everything about BNI” to understand fundamentally what is BNI before you start reading this article as it will help you understand the current topic better.
One more thing, I have created a table of content so that you can jump directly to the section which may interest you.
Tables Of Content
- Business Referrals
- Knowledge Of Other Businesses
- Joint Ventures
- Focus Group
- Elevator Speech
- International Network
- Education Workshops
- Increased Visibility
- Improved Public Speaking Confidence
- Exclusive Member Resource
- Meeting the introverts
- Other Networking Opportunities
- Participation in business trade shows
- Making friends
- Testimonials From Other People
There is no hiding it, business referrals is the number one reason why people join BNI; everyone wants more business referrals as it will help grow their business.
Now the BIG question, if you are a new member, do you feel that it is an obligation for other BNI members to start referring business to you?
If your answer is yes, then you are in for disappointment.
Why? Simply put, there are a number of factors that may cause this, the first being, “your mental state” when you join your chapter. If you start of with high expectation, especially if you feel it is an obligation for others to pass you business and they fail to do it. The gap between your expectations and the reality is disappointment.
The next factor is trust; honestly, do you expect trust to be built through one meeting or many meetings?
If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.
– Zig Ziglar
So focus on building the bridge of trust with some members first before extending it to everyone else; you got to start somewhere, rather than attempting to conquer the entire mountain, you can overcome the base first.
The last factor that I want to talk about is understanding – you may be total understanding of your business but the other members may not have the depth of understanding that you possess.
There may be unique selling points of your business which is unknown to your group and thus they do not know the kind of referrals you are looking for.
So next time, you join a BNI chapter, work on these three factors and I am certain that you will receive business referrals and learn how to recognise opportunities to help other members along the way.
One last thing: BNI states that based on statistics, on average, members increase their business by 20% in the first year of their membership. Isn’t that exciting stats?
Knowledge of other types of businesses
This leads me to my next benefit of BNI which is gaining knowledge of other businesses. You may be wondering, how can this be beneficial to you?
Well, imagine this, one of your most valued clients have some problems with their IT system and asks you if you can helped. The problem is IT systems is not your business and you deal with business growth consultancy.
Now how can you solve the issue?
Either you tell your client that you have no idea how to help him and refer him to a total stranger or you can give him some basic solutions that you learned from your IT systems member in BNI before referring him to the BNI member.
Now which will impress your client more?
I am sure you know the answer to that question; the latter gives the better impression that you care for your client.
You may be wondering now, “how do you understand other businesses through BNI”, it is simply really – Every week members get 60 seconds to present their business and once a week, a member will get a featured time of 10 minute to present their business in-depth.
Through this sharing, you will get a broad understanding of many different types of businesses.
If that is not enough, the BNI recommends that you meet up individually with other members so that the bridge of trust and understanding can be build faster.
What is even better than business referrals? Joint ventures!
In many instances, members team up for pitches, new business ventures, events, partnerships and collaborations; this is also known as the Power Team.
How does it work? For example, a real estate agent who helped his client buy a new home is able to rope in the interior designer, renovation specialist, mortgage consultant and deflects consultant to assist his client on all these areas.
Can you see how all these businesses are linked? In fact, there are endless possibilities as you will never know what services that a client requires.
I have also heard of many stories where individuals who joined BNI without a business yet start growing their business idea while in BNI.
Eventually, their business starts to flourish and expand through the networking and trust built with members.
However, I want to stress that results varies from people to people and is dependant on the how effective you are in building trust.
Nevertheless, seeing each other every week at BNI means you can easily meet regularly to move things along.
Let’s say you have a new product launch or marketing plan and even a new business idea, how do you test the market?
Typically, businesses will have to test the item directly with the market via marketing and advertising, this means they have to incur a cost.
But how can BNI help? Think about this, you are surrounded by business owners who can give you feedback and advice you on your idea. Why not make use of their experience and expertise?
The focus group in BNI is just like the riders – all headed in the same direction; the direction where everyone wins and grows.
If that is not enough for you, you can gain the support of your members by asking them to invite three of their friends to join in your product launch.
Consider this, if your group has 20 people that will mean that your product launch event will have a whooping number of 80 people including the members who will participate and the launch!
That can translates to sales and investment opportunities or feedbacks, all at a minimum cost.
Remember earlier, we mentioned that members get to present their products and services through a 60 seconds speech.
Let’s be honest here, 60 seconds is not enough time to cover the entire spectrum of your business profile.
But why 60 seconds? Why not 5 minutes? Well, research has shown that you have only 7 seconds to make a first impression. Do you want to ruin your first impression or create a lasting impression so that when others think of your niche, they only think of you.
Can you imagine how outstanding your elevator speech will become when you get to practice it regularly?
On top of that, you will receive feedback from members on how you can take the speech to the next level.
In most BNI meetings, it won’t be a surprising to see members adding a tagline to their speech so that others can remember them via the tagline.
By now, you should be excited about having your very own 60 seconds speech to promote yourself and your business.
If you are not, let me share with you, a real life experience that my friend experienced during one of his traveling trips – long story short: he meet with Jack Ma, in his hotel lift and all he did was asked him for a selfie together.
But another person who was in the lift saw Jack Ma, introduced his business quickly and Jack Ma told him to get in contact with one of his staff to arrange an appointment with him to have a more in depth talk.
Guess what, all these happened while they were in the elevator!
You will never know when opportunity strikes, but you can always prepare for it.
There are many reasons why people join BNI as for me, having access to an international network is the #1 reason why I chose to join the organization.
Just imagine, if today you want to expand your business overseas, let’s say to China, do you know all the regulation that the Chinese Government have in place for foreign companies? What is the procedures to start a business there?
Is it easier if you have a network there where you can get advice from or do you prefer to do everything yourself?
I hope you chose the path of leveraging on the existing assets; joining BNI gives you access to all the BNI chapters all around the world – you are not limited to only your local chapter.
Frankly speaking, whenever you meet a person, it is advisable for you to rapport with them but what is rapport? I used to think that rapport is some technical stuff that I will never master but now, I have finally cracked the code!
Rapport is finding a common ground between individuals so that trust and relationship is build faster!
Guess what, if you are in BNI, the system itself is the common ground where you can use to talk to other members – it can be used as the bridge to connect with other members.
Upon joining BNI, there is a wide range of courses that you can attend to improve your networking skills and interpersonal skills.
Some of these topics include:
- How To Give Referrals.
- How To Invite Visitors.
- How To Do A Proper Dance (Meet Members One To One To Understand deeper)
- And more…
I know what you are thinking now, these are all really basic stuff, why should you even consider attending them.
Well, think about it this way: most people screw up with the fundamental stuff and are ignorant about it – we don’t know what we do not know.
By eating the humble pie, it may just help us develop into a better person who can better add value to the people around us.
One thing that I learned over the years is that we can never stop progressing, the moment that we decide to stop growing is the moment we phase out in this world.
Growth is inevitable.
Ever wondered why the top people around the world have a coach? Look at Michael Jordan, why does he have a coach? Is the mentor a better basketball player than himself?
If the answer is no, then why will Michael Jordon get a coach? Why do people need mentorship when they can get the task done better than the coaches?
Well, the answer is simple really, the mentor can identify areas where we are lacking so that we can enhance those areas.
They can also identify our habits and patterns that are destructive to our personal growth and business.
In BNI, you are surrounded by individuals with years of experience, they might not be as good as you are when it comes to your business but they can act as your coach to steer you towards your goals and push you pass your limits.
It is no secret that all businesses need visibility and exposure; no longer can businesses hide behind their company brand and expect exponential growth, personal branding is now the fundamental of every business growth.
This is due to the principle that states “people buy from people they like rather than people they do not.” So how can BNI help you with visibility?
Every week without fail, you will get to present your business to the other members of your chapter. Over time, members will gain more understanding over your business and when their clients asks for a specific service, they will get triggered to refer the business to you.
Apart from that visitors can visit the chapter during the official meetings or on a visitor day, this will expose your business to other people who are not within your group and you may have an opportunity to do business with them.
Improved Public Speaking Confidence
Public speaking can be a daunting task for most people, however, whether we like it or not, in some points of our lives, we all have to deliver a public speech.
It is really a simple task, all you need to do is prepare, practice and deliver But why are we so fearful of delivering a public speech?
The answer is simple, when was the last time, you prepared, practiced and delivered a public speech? Months or years ago?
You know the answer already, it is the lack of consistent practice coupled with the endless articles that describe public speaking as a difficult task which is making it a challenging task.
But in the weekly BNI meetings, every member get to deliver their speech; this creates repetitive practice and gives you an opportunity to get better each time round.
Exclusive Member Resource
Just like any other memberships, BNI offers members their own set of exclusive member’s resources that only member can use including an orientation CD giving the “Formula for Success” in BNI, a badge, a vinyl card holder to carry members’ business cards, referral slips, marketing materials for your chapter and much, much more.
Furthermore, there is a Bi-monthly newsletters with educational material on networking, public speaking, and business that members can read up to further improve their skills.
This may not be considered a great advantage but before flipping the table consider this, most introverts are not active in other meet up events that they attend.
In addition to this, not many introverts fancy meet up events therefore it is considered a rarity to meet and connect with them.
But so called “introverts” can join BNI and over time, they will be able to get to know other members and vice versa.
You will be surprised that introverts are often the funniest and most intelligent people to meet. In fact, I am one of those “introverts” and I just prefer to build a deeper and more meaningful connections with people. Hence, I prefer to stick to one or two individuals during a networking event rather than hopping around.
Other Networking Opportunities
Through BNI, you will get to hear of other networking opportunities which you can consider attending as it is never a bad choice to expand your network.
Never ever underestimate the network that you can build over a networking event, often times, it is the contacts that you get there that will help you grow your business.
Once I went to a Tony Robbins event, “unleash the power within” and it was the most life changing event ever, the best part? I made friends with many likeminded individuals who encouraged and push me towards my goals.
Business Trade Shows
Just last year, 2017 November, BNI held a global convention with more than 1,300 of BNI’s global leaders – including National Directors, Executive Directors, Director Consultants and their teams.
Even BNI’s founder & chief visionary office, Dr. Ivan Misner, and BNI’s chairman & CEO, Graham Weihmiller attended the event.
Isn’t that amazing? To be able to network with such a big community of business owners; the contacts that you meet there, may essential become your business partners in the future or may help you further grow your business.
The next global convention will be held on November 7th-10th 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand which is the first BNI’s global convention that is held outside the states.
Interested to join the event? Check out the registration link. And yes, you need to be a member to join in the event.
Ultimately, the essence of BNI is making friends.
Yes, business is very important but having friends who will support and encourage you when you are down is just as important.
Through the connections and relationship built in BNI, you will have many friends who will aid you in your journey towards success, just as you will do the same for them.
Cherish these connections as they are much more precious than you can imagine.
See how BNI benefited a signage company from Nashville.
Watch how BNI benefited members from a chapter in India.
Watch how BNI help a renovation worker set up his own company.
There are definitely many benefits that comes with BNI a membership, and the list can go on forever.
Sadly, not many individuals have had a good experience with BNI and live to tell the tale, check out the list of BNI disadvantages that I had written if you are interested to read about the dark side.
Check out my personal experience with BNI in this article.
Well, now is your turn!
Did you have a positive experience with BNI? Leave me a comment below sharing your exciting stories that you have in your BNI journey.