West Wales based heating and plumbing firm Lewis & Jenkins generates about half their revenues from their BNI membership, with the vast majority of work coming from the Trades Power Team. In the two years since they joined BNI, Lewis & Jenkins’ business has quadrupled in size.
Natalia Miles of Lewis & Jenkins kindly answered some questions about their BNI experience.
What does your business do?
We offer plumbing and heating services. Our engineers operate throughout Pembrokeshire Carmarthenshire Ceredigion and beyond! We offer a quality service at competitive prices, including installations, maintenance, servicing and repairs. If it is anything to do with water, gas or heating then we can install it or fix it!
What strategies do you use to find new customers?
The majority of our customers come from recommendations. Our aim is to determine what our customer wants and create a customer service culture where we clearly explain our products and communicate with our clients enabling us to meet their expectations. We work closely with other trades within BNI and externally, and believe a good rapport is the best starting point.
Why did you decide to join BNI – and how long ago was that?
We joined BNI nearly two years ago. We were at the point of expanding but needed to increase our work load accordingly and meet other businesses and people who could also be our potential future clients. The idea of receiving referrals and networking with other local business seemed exciting and a new challenge.
Did you attend as a visitor the first time you were asked?
No, I was extremely apprehensive, I was asked several times by both members in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, but then joined the ‘Resolute’ chapter in 2011.
Why were you apprehensive about visiting BNI?
Meeting with a group of strangers in a methodical approach was the most daunting for us – it was a fear of the unknown. However once we had our 60 seconds in place and reviewed what questions I should be asking others within the meeting, I could then relax and start to enjoy my time at BNI.
Why did you finally decide to visit after being asked several times?
It was the right time for us, as we wanted to expand and move our business forward.
Had you heard of BNI and what did you expect?
I had heard of BNI and other similar networking organisations. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I did my research! I asked other trades we were working closely with – obviously I wanted to know if it was worth paying into and devoting not only the Tuesday morning but the extra time during the week to assist my BNI colleagues with potential referrals.
When did you realize that BNI was going to work for you?
Within the first two visits: the opportunity to expand my business became more realistic with the help of BNI, making us more effective and more successful. The support: fellow BNI members were fantastic – it was a no brainer!
What other networking groups have you tried, and which ones have worked well?
I have tried various local networks such as Pembrokeshire Business network, Innov8 Breakfast Network and The network breakfast, BNI being the most successful.
What tools or resources in BNI have you found most helpful?
60 seconds – 121s and your all important 10 minutes to go into more detail.
What proportion of your revenue do you generate through BNI?
It does vary. I may have a quiet month followed by a high referral month. On an average I would say 50% revenue comes from BNI.
How much of your BNI revenue comes from the Trades Power team?
40% comes from the trades team alone. We are a very pro-active group, meeting every 6 weeks to discuss ways to move forward.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a member?
How to use your workplace to generate referrals for fellow members, how to conduct ourselves in a more professional manor, taking into consideration our customer care focus and communication attributes.
What would you do differently if you were starting your membership again, from the beginning?
Be more confident, focus on what I can do for the other members within the chapter.
How can people get in touch with you?
- e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- landline:01994 241 744
- mobile: 077862 62199
Do you have any other comments about BNI?
BNI has worked extremely well for us and helped us quadruple in size over the past two years. We will continue to pass referrals and work hard to achieve future goals as well as assisting others to achieve theirs.