The BNI system is designed to help members gain more business from referrals. The format of the weekly chapter meetings is part of the this system, but there are other important elements such as one to ones. However, getting referrals is not so simple as turning on a tap. Success takes work.
While the BNI system is built to make it as simple as possible to win referrals from fellow members, it’s still possible to make some tactical and strategic blunders. Dr Ivan Misner listed his top ten BNI blunders as follows:
- Show up late or multi-task during the meeting.
- Be absent.
- Don’t invite guests.
- Use other people’s 60-second presentation time to think about what to say yourself.
- Focus your efforts on selling your services to the members. “BNI is really about training a referral team, not closing a sale. And so if you come to the BNI meetings thinking that you’re just going to close sales, you’re missing a great opportunity, because the people in the room are not just prospective clients, they’re referral sources. If you can get them to refer you, that’s that classic way of farming and not hunting.”
- Don’t rush following up on a member referral.
- Use one-to-ones to talk about the chapter. “You’ve got to use one-to-ones to educate people about your business and how they can refer you. That’s really important.
- Wing it with your 60-second presentation.”
- Use your 10-minute presentation to explain minute details of how your business works. “People don’t need to know the inner workings of your business, but they need to know how to refer you. So the more you can educate them on what a good referral is and how it works and what sets you aside from your competition, the better you’re going to be.”
- Air your grievances among your table-mates and guests.
Your BNI seat in this chapter, the chapter that you’re a member of, is worth a considerable amount of money. If you calculate the time you spend each week and the business value of your time, you don’t want to squander that money. Now, success in BNI comes when the rest of the chapter members trust you enough to open up their best referrals to you, not just their normal referrals, but their best referrals. And that comes when they have seen you work, when you have earned trust with them by demonstrating your professionalism at all times.