Results 1 to 33 of 33

Thread: BNI

  1. #1
    Joseph Stevens's Avatar
    Joseph Stevens Guest

    Default BNI

    Does anyone here belong to a BNI marketing group? I was asked to join and attended one meeting but not sure if it is worth the cost. Just looking to see if anyone belongs to a bni group and if it has helped you, and other opinions about it.


    For those of you who don't know what it is, it's a group of business owners (20+ people), limited to 1 person per profession(home inspector, banker, realtor...) that meet weekly with the goal of refering business to one another.

    Thanks

    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    JS - BNI works for some and doesn't work for others. It didn't work for me and it was a drain on my wallet as well as time and the related demands made by the local BNI chapter.

    I don't live my life and do my job for BNI and for "some" folks it seemed as if it "became their life" and were very strong about pushing it on others.

    As I noted ... it does and can work very well for some.

    Do a search on the IN Archives and you will find many threads of comments about BNI.


  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Stevens View Post
    Does anyone here belong to a BNI marketing group? I was asked to join and attended one meeting but not sure if it is worth the cost. Just looking to see if anyone belongs to a bni group and if it has helped you, and other opinions about it.


    For those of you who don't know what it is, it's a group of business owners (20+ people), limited to 1 person per profession(home inspector, banker, realtor...) that meet weekly with the goal of refering business to one another.

    Thanks
    I belonged to one and it was every Tuesday. Right in the middle of the day. Depending on where i was it was a waste of the morning and it always stretched part way in the afternoon and then of course if I had something in the afternoon it would hinder or delay those plans.

    Now of course you are not just doing your business but trying to get referrals to others in the group and it is obviously expected.

    I turned one down last year as well. That was partly due to illness and the other part was the drive to get there from my area. I guess it would have produced as the Realtor and her Husband past about 35 inspections in the last year off to the last inspector that finally moved on.

    It is a hard nut to crack or accept. Getting referrals is one thing but when it becomes giving to receive, well, like I said, it is a hard nut to crack. My whole deal is the Realtor referral thing. To play into someones hands, no matter how upright you remain is just not a good feeling. I personally believe that realtors (which is almost the only place you get referrals from that group) should have no place in referring any one inspector (and that is what it is) or even a group of inspectors. I think there should be a total separation from Realtors and Home Inspectors. Never shall the 2 meet. Even the absolute slightest thougbhbht that a Realtor referred you to a client and has in the past is influence no matter what an one wishes to ignore. Will you still be a good inspector...sure. Is the thought in the back of your head about pleasing the Realtor, even though you are still doing your job, yes. Is it influence in the slightest, absolutely.

    Do I take referrals from Realtors, yes. Are there many Realtors that refer me, no. I am not comfortable with the relationships. Thje Realtors that refer me are almost never seen or heard from other than a client calling me and saying they were referred by a Realtor. Other than that there is zero conversation, no lunches together as in BNI. No get togethers or outings. Nothing. They refer me because they want it that way as well. When you start buying referrals in any sense through groups like that then you become obliged. Become obliged and then there is that conflict. Conflict, more influence. More influence, not good for you and your client

    It is a never ending revolving door. There re some on here, and maybe yourself, that get almost every one of there inspections thru Realtor referrals. They will also say, and maybe you as well, that there is absolutely no influence. I say it is absolutely impossible to have absolute zero influence. With out zero influence there should be no Realtor involvement in the Home Inspection industry.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: BNI

    I visited several and they were good to a point but I never jumped to join. Most groups will allow you to visit once or twice and then you have to choose to join or not, a good trial run.
    I am part of a similar group now but not as structured, only meets twice a month but has many good friends that I get a bunch of referrals from.
    For my money, the Chamber of Commerce which had a weekly meeting was a better way to meet folks.
    If you are just starting out it may be a good thing but check around first since there are many groups in most areas. Le Tip, BNI, CoC, etc. just choose the best for you.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: BNI

    In addition to many of the things mentioned above, I couldn't get over the amount of money it would cost to be in the group. I was "invited" to join LeTip but the first year of membership would have run me $900.00 ($300.00 application fee and $600.00 in yearly dues). Why so much? I understand some of the money would go towards paying for the meeting location and if there was a meal included but where does the rest go?

    The meeting I went to left me with a feeling of too much pressure to reciprocate referrals. No referral to pass along that week? A small fine ($1 or $2). Miss two meetings a year? Out of the group. Don't sign at least one new member up to the group per year? Out of the group.

    If I wanted homework to do I'd go back to school. It was far too structured for my liking and the simple premise of exchanging referrals was overcomplicated.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  6. #6
    Don Burbach's Avatar
    Don Burbach Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    BNI didn't work for me. The member Realtor was a local broker with an attitude. I later found out that he dropped out the week after I dropped out. I believe I was well liked, but in a down real estate market, I only got two inspection referrals in 6 months. There was inspectors in other nearby chapters that had similar experiences. The

    Most of the referrals passed were by people who came in contact with lots of people. A home inspector has little exposure compared to others who had retail establishments or service businesses.

    Still, I do know of others from conventions and other association activities that do well with BNI or BNI-like groups. It all depends on the inspector and the mix of others in the group.

    Also, groups hold their meetings at breakfasts or lunches usually. My experience was a breakfast. Food and service was good. They were happy to have 12-18 business people steady each week.

    Your mileage may vary.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    CO
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: BNI

    Been there done it, and it's not for me.

    I have seen it work very well for some people and their business. The key is to generate leads for your group; in return you will get leads. There are lame groups that just like to get together to have lunch and BS. (Stay away from groups that meet for lunch and BS.) You need a group that understands the game and plays it well. But you will have to gain trust and do your part (ie. generate leads) if you want the others to include you in the game.



  8. #8
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    BNI was one the first marketing tools I used when I started my business. I am not sure the business would have made it without the BNI membership and the resulting business. It was the right thing for me at the time.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: BNI

    BNI and similar have been recommended by some business persons. I have been invited and visited a few. My problem is I am a one horse operation. I cannot guarantee that I will show up for every meeting or have someone else fill in for me if I can't be there. For the person who can leave the office or counter for an hour or so and has someone else to mind the business while gone, it probably is great idea. Plus, I would really like to know where the pretty hefty membership fee goes.

    Our BBB offers similar events once in a while. Usually a luncheon with a reasonable charge to attend.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  10. #10
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    Stuart,
    Obviously, I can't address your ability to make time for meetings. However, I can address your question about BNI fees.

    You are probably aware that BNI is a for profit business. There are salaried people in that business all the way down to the level immediately above the chapter level (district level). The company does provide some usually valuable support to the chapters. That is where the approximately $300 annual membership fee goes.

    Many, if not most, chapters also have dues. In my chapter, those dues went to pay for the meeting location, pay for the breakfast at the meetings, pay for a summer and Christmas party each year, pay for chapter business supplies, flowers for sick members, etc.

    I'm not saying all this is right or wrong, great or sad. Just 'splainin'.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Stuart,
    Obviously, I can't address your ability to make time for meetings. However, I can address your question about BNI fees.

    You are probably aware that BNI is a for profit business. There are salaried people in that business all the way down to the level immediately above the chapter level (district level). The company does provide some usually valuable support to the chapters. That is where the approximately $300 annual membership fee goes.

    Many, if not most, chapters also have dues. In my chapter, those dues went to pay for the meeting location, pay for the breakfast at the meetings, pay for a summer and Christmas party each year, pay for chapter business supplies, flowers for sick members, etc.

    I'm not saying all this is right or wrong, great or sad. Just 'splainin'.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES
    Sooooooooo, I take it you are a BNI member . And how is that working out for you.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: BNI

    I have been in BNI. I'm currently not in a Chapter, but that has more to do with local BNI administration, and not how I feel about BNI in general. We met on Wednesdays from 7:30 - 9:00. I just scheduled my Wednesday morning inspections for 9:30 (or close) instead of 9:00 my usual start time.

    I got a lot of referrals and gave a lot too. I would usually give at least 2 - 3 per week. I have not been in a chapter for a year now and still give referrals, and still get some.

    My timing on leaving was partly the decline in real estate business (economy in general), but more with a couple of the BNI administrators that were sticking their noses in our Chapter.

    Home inspectors usually do pretty well in BNI. While there are Realtors in the chapters, they are not usually the bulk of the referrals. It's all about building trust with the other chapter members. I have subbed at other BNI chapters, and even get referrals from those chapters (they don't have a HI).

    i have been thinking about going back. One of the things about BNI is if you serve as a chapter officer, you get free dues the next year. It took very little of my time to be Treasurer for the chapter.

    I suggest you go an visit a chapter and see how it feels. It's not an instant referral base, it takes a while to build that trust. Same goes for giving out referrals. I'm not going to give a referral for someone I don't know, or know how they do their job.

    Feel free to PM if you want more info.


  13. #13
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    Ted,

    BNI was one the first marketing tools I used when I started my business. I am not sure the business would have made it without the BNI membership and the resulting business. It was the right thing for me at the time.

    I was a member for three years, but now I am not. When the economy changed, I had to change my business model drastically. In the current business model other marketing tools are more effective.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: BNI

    Joseph,

    BNI has been a huge resource for me and we have an excellent group that is real estate predominant. I get approx 20-30% of my business from it and wouldn't consider leaving. Most of the group are young, hard working professionals that make the effort. Some don't but that's going to happen anywhere.

    For the cost of a condo inspection, I'm good on dues for the rest of the year.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, Mo. area.
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: BNI

    With a couple of qualifiers, BNI can be a good way to become known, and build your business. As some have mentioned, it's not only a money commitment, but a time commitment as well. But if you're still needing to build your business, you've probably got the time for BNI, and you probably couldn't get a better value for your time than to spend a couple of hours a week being involved with BNI. If you've already got enough business to keep you so busy that you don't have time for BNI, then you probably don't need them.

    One qualifier is that you need to be involved with a good, dynamic chapter who will actively market you and get you referrals. Visit a few different chapters before deciding on the one you should join. Members also visit other chapters. Ask them which chapter seems to be the most active, and generates the most referrals.

    The other qualifier is their motto of "Givers gain!". It will take a while before you'll start seeing a return, but if you do your part, you'll build long term relationships that will generate referrals for you long after you've left your chapter - if you ever do. The more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sugarloaf, PA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: BNI

    I participated in BNI in 2005 or 2006. Was brought in by a local physician who dropped out the month after I paid for 2 years (duh).

    The object of the game is to generate referrals for the other members and to receive referrals from them.

    If you didn't have a "referral" to present, you had to "give a testimonial" (where you tout the excellent service of another member).
    I grew weary of giving repeat testimonials and frustrated because the normal course of my business didn't provide me with sufficient opportunities to generate referrals.

    As a HI, I simply had a very hard time generating referrals, despite my best efforts to do so.

    I found myself spending time to market the services of others, rather than obtaining referrals to pass along to them in the normal course of business as I would have hoped.

    IMHO, I think that BNI doesn't lend itself well to HI unless you intend to make a special effort to hunt up referrals for the other members.

    And, yes, I received 2 home inspection referrals from the residential real estate member which I greatly appreciated.

    My suggestion would be to proceed with caution. Visit a couple of times, and if you like what you see, make a minimum committment (1yr?) and see how it goes.

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: BNI

    I think you maybe missed the point of BNI Joseph.
    I found it very easy to give referrals to the people in my group. The insurance guy was the easiest one there was. At every inspection I could ask my clients if they had their insurance coverage set up. If they said yes, then I let it go. If they said no, then I told them how my agent had saved me $500/per year over the company that I had been with for 15 years.

    The woman at the title company had helped me with my Mother's estate after she passed away. It was easy for me to give her as a referral. Also tied into my inspections.

    We had a computer guy in our group and he helped me when I had a problem.

    Anyway, I found it very easy to give out referrals, not only at inspections, but just talking to people in general.

    BNI isn't about coming to a meeting EXPECTING to get referrals and doing nothing to help generate referrals for the other members. After all, the motto of BNI is "Givers gain". The concept of BNI is very solid, but it only works if the members of the group actually work at it. I had 20 members of my "sales team" thinking of me. I was also part of 20 different sales teams.

    I still have my BNI business card folder, and carry it every day. Even though I don't belong to BNI any longer, I still give referrals to those people I know and trust. And I still get referrals from my friends that used to be in my BNI chapter.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sugarloaf, PA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: BNI

    Jack, I wish my experience had been like yours.

    Nope, I didn't miss the point at all; however, in the enthusiasm to join (lot of great people there) I severly overestimated my own ability to generate serious leads for the other members and that's noone's mistake but mine.

    BNI clearly works for some.

    I tried, believe me I tried, ........ and may try again some day.

    Joe

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

  19. #19
    Patrick McCaffery's Avatar
    Patrick McCaffery Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    I currently belong to a BNI Chapter. Upon joining you initially pay $100 initiation fee and now $350 for the annual fee. In addition you can have an additional chapter fee of up to $35 for weekly meetings. The first year that is roughly $800. I did not receive any referrals for the first year, as realtors are hesitant about picking up on new inspectors. After the first year, I did receive about 5 inspections a year, which will pay for the annual fee and dues. My chapter maintains about 11 or 12 members. Currently the Real Estate Power Team has a Realtor, a Mortgage Person, an Attorney and an Insurance Agent. Last year I received 9 referrals. As many post have stated, there is time involved in being a member. You are expected to bring referrals to other members; in addition you are required to have one-on-one meetings with other members to learn their business and for them to learn yours. You are encouraged to bring visitors to increase membership. You will be asked to take part in positions, such as the President, Vice President, Secretary Treasure, Membership Committee, and Visitor Host. There is also additional training required. I have been the President, Vice President and am currently on the Membership Committee, which is getting ready for a visitors day. All members were required to submit 40 names of potential visitors. I also have a difficulty finding referrals for other members. I am not good about asking my clients if they need an insurance agent and that is something I need to work on. So I guess you have to ask yourself, what I am willing to do and how much time am I willing to give up for the Chapter. Networking is important, as you need to get your name out there and you need to meet people. You also need to ask yourself, would the time spent working with one realtor, be better spent trying to get many realtors.


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: BNI

    These referral groups definitely are not for me. All this extra work would cut into my bowhunting time.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  21. #21
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick McCaffery View Post
    I currently belong to a BNI Chapter. Upon joining you initially pay $100 initiation fee and now $350 for the annual fee. In addition you can have an additional chapter fee of up to $35 for weekly meetings. The first year that is roughly $800. I did not receive any referrals for the first year, as realtors are hesitant about picking up on new inspectors. After the first year, I did receive about 5 inspections a year, which will pay for the annual fee and dues. My chapter maintains about 11 or 12 members. Currently the Real Estate Power Team has a Realtor, a Mortgage Person, an Attorney and an Insurance Agent. Last year I received 9 referrals. As many post have stated, there is time involved in being a member. You are expected to bring referrals to other members; in addition you are required to have one-on-one meetings with other members to learn their business and for them to learn yours. You are encouraged to bring visitors to increase membership. You will be asked to take part in positions, such as the President, Vice President, Secretary Treasure, Membership Committee, and Visitor Host. There is also additional training required. I have been the President, Vice President and am currently on the Membership Committee, which is getting ready for a visitors day. All members were required to submit 40 names of potential visitors. I also have a difficulty finding referrals for other members. I am not good about asking my clients if they need an insurance agent and that is something I need to work on. So I guess you have to ask yourself, what I am willing to do and how much time am I willing to give up for the Chapter. Networking is important, as you need to get your name out there and you need to meet people. You also need to ask yourself, would the time spent working with one realtor, be better spent trying to get many realtors.

    Hi Pat

    That is a horrifying return for the tremendous amount of time involvement and the money output. I am curious why you would continue on year after year for such a poor return.


  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: BNI

    That's kind of a small chapter too. It works a lot better when the numbers get over 20.


  23. #23
    Patrick McCaffery's Avatar
    Patrick McCaffery Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    Ted,
    This will be my last year. The amount of time for the return on investment is not really worth it. The time could probably be better spent going after more realtors.


  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: BNI

    I have a problem with a "Cult" that has a GURU you can meet if you are a success in gaining him more profits. I guess if you have been living under a rock, just showed up in town or don't have a network of people that appreciate your services well enough to recommend you to their friends, it would be a great place. I don't want to spend my free time trying to dig up referrals for someone selling Life Insurance or Tupperware. I just did an inspection and the BNI member sent out their Pool & Bug Inspector. It was far from quality work and shouldn't be done just because you are a member of the Club.
    I agree with Nick, it would cut into my Bowhunting time also....and my rifle hunting, fishing, horseshoe playing and beer drinking.


  25. #25
    Tom Camp's Avatar
    Tom Camp Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    I belong to a networking group started by a person who was burned out from a BNI group. This networking group is cheaper on dues, only meets twice a month and is comprised of the same type of business owners and only one of each type.

    It has worked well for me and I have received a lot of referrals.


  26. #26
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Camp View Post
    I belong to a networking group started by a person who was burned out from a BNI group. This networking group is cheaper on dues, only meets twice a month and is comprised of the same type of business owners and only one of each type.

    It has worked well for me and I have received a lot of referrals.
    And....The magic name of the group is?


  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: BNI

    Gents,

    Just like anything else, a lot of these groups are hit or miss. There are some in mine that I can't recommend whole-heartedly and I don't. You may have to float around a few networking groups (BNI or non-BNI) to find the one you are comfortable in as well as enjoy. I pass a lot of referrals, and damn good ones, but certainly don't go out of my way to INJECT that one particular person EVERY chance it arises.

    BNI is just a tool, use it like one.


  28. #28
    Tom Camp's Avatar
    Tom Camp Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    CSBP or Colorado Springs Business Partners


  29. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: BNI

    I don't know about most of you but I only refer a company or business if I've had personal experience with them and feel comfortable passing their name along. If I was in a referral group, I would like to believe that the other members in the group are professional and good at what they do but sometimes you just don't know. I'm very leery of giving out blind referrals.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  30. #30
    Tom Camp's Avatar
    Tom Camp Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    I agree, I won't refer a company until I know personally of their work or A person I trust has worked with them. After all whoever you refer, your company name is also on the line and that's no small matter.


  31. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Winfield, IL
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: BNI

    I was a member of two Le Tip groups early on in my home inspector career but left because of the poor return on my investimate. If you do choose to join a networking group make sure it is very local. It is difficult to refer someone who live 30 minutes away. Also, choose a large group (30+) that includes a real estate agent, commercial real estate agent and mortagage broker. These are the members who send most of the business your way. I also found myself buying products/service that I really didn't need just so I could return tips. These groups are always recruiting and putting pressure on you to recruit. In fact, one of the regional people recommended that if you see a contractor with a phone number on his/her truck you should call and try to recruit them. Apparently, they aren't too picky about who joins...


  32. #32
    Ted Williams's Avatar
    Ted Williams Guest

    Default Re: BNI

    I spend more than 900 per year on my networking group, but that's just due to greens fees, beer and hot dogs. I'm sure I meet a wider variety of people though.


  33. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: BNI

    Was a member for one year, president of the chapter a second year. Had A realtor and a mortgage broker in the group (along with 11 other professionals). Bottom line, In two years time, I got six referrals, only two of which resulted in an actual inspection. Waste of money, waste of time and from the looks of the posts here, over 90% agree that time and money can be spent better elsewhere.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •