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  1. #1
    Joe Tribuzio's Avatar
    Joe Tribuzio Guest

    Default BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    I am thinking of joining a bni group, and I am a bit unsure if its the right move.

    DOES ANYONE OUT THERE HAVE CURRENT OR PAST EXPERIENCE IN A BNI GROUP THAT MEETS WEEKLY? CAN YOU TELL ME IF IT MADE A DIFFERENCE OR WAS TROUBLESOME?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    Joe, I know many people are members of these groups and say they work well for them. I went to one Le'Tip meeting and chose not to join as it was too structured for my liking and the fees they wanted to be a member were over the top ($300 to join, $600 per year in dues). But check a group out for yourself and decide from there.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,332

    Default Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    Over the years I have been to several of these groups. Just didn't make sense to me. They try to limit the number of people in the same business, so it kind of locks ou in.

    1st group the Realtor that was part was one that did not like me much, and had never given me any work. She also spent most of her time joining groups, so she only sold 3 - 4 houses a year.

    2nd group - newbie realtor that hadn't sold a house yet. Also spent most of his time joining groups to build business. Did find a good tire guy in that group.

    3rd and last group. They changed their meeting time from 6:45am to 8:45am.

    They might work for some, but was a total waste of time for me.


  4. #4
    Russel Ray's Avatar
    Russel Ray Guest

    Default Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    I've been a member of various networking groups for about 30 years now.

    My favorite is BNI because they have additional programs beyond the weekly meeting to help one succeed in marketing, business, etc. However, BNI is very structured while turns some people off. For example, my BNI chapter needed an Education Coordinator. No one volunteered, so I finally stepped up to the plate even though I had done it in other chapters and didn't really want to do it again. Between my last BNI chapter in Detroit and this one here, one now has to go to a 3-hour meeting on Friday morning in order to be in a leadership position, volunteer or elected. Friday mornings are one of my busiest days of the week, especially after I started offering different inspection types last September. So we're still without an Education Coordinator because a volunteer was told no. BNI is very, very business-oriented, almost to the exclusion of any social events. 95% business, 5% social.

    On the other hand, the Le Tip chapter that I was in here from 2001-2002 was 95% social and 5% business. I was spending so much money attending their required social events so that everyone could get to know each other that I finally had to drop out because there was no bang for the buck there.

    The founder of BNI is Dr. Ivan Misner. Google him and you'll find that he's one of the world's foremost authorities on networking and network marketing. His books are great, especially "It's in the Cards!" which every business person should read and/or have in one's library.

    There usually are various smaller, local networking organizations that try to emulate BNI and Le Tip. Some work, some don't. As with anything in life, such as the trade association to which one belongs, one basically gets out of it what one puts into it, although there are some things that just aren't the right fit for specific people, and it behooves one to recognize those situations when they occur, as I did with my latest Le Tip chapter.


  5. #5
    Craig LaMere's Avatar
    Craig LaMere Guest

    Default Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    I was a part of the local chapter in FL and found that it was rather restrictive. The guidelines of the local chapter mandated that if you missed 2 meetings per quarter, you were "refused renewal" when it came due. The mandatory meetings were inflexible and hindered accepting inspections on meeting days. Plus, you were required to come to the meetings with referrals for other members in hand. If you did not have a sufficient number of referrals in a given period, you were rejected for renewal.
    All in all, the investment in the membership would be better spent in your marketing strategy. While I am a great advocate of networking, the "bang for the buck" in this particular network did not make sense in our industry. The average membership did not have the connections to amount to over 5 to 10 inspections a year. You may be better off concentrating on a few key realtors in your area for business.


  6. #6
    Erik Elwood's Avatar
    Erik Elwood Guest

    Default Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    I joined a chapter, and to be honest it took about 10 months for it to really start to pay off. However now when I trace my referrals back 80% are from BNI. The are usually a few steps away (not a direct referral) however they would not have been there if I had not been in the group.

    1) visit a few chapters to find one that fits you

    2) plan on commiting to it for at least a year for it to pay off. Referrals come from trust, and that can take a while. That is also why there is a strict attendence policy, to refer to you people have to know you.


  7. #7
    Shane Pouch's Avatar
    Shane Pouch Guest

    Default Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    Russell,

    I think you hit the nail squarely when you said:

    As with anything in life, such as the trade association to which one belongs, one basically gets out of it what one puts into it, ...

    At the core of BNI is the "Giver's Gain". If you are not willing to give, before you get, then it probably won't work for you.

    I think BNI will only work if you are willing to think outside of the box a bit, and be willing to wait a bit for things "to work".

    In my experience, it's been mainly about making relationships with like-minded folks who become comfortable enough to refer me. And that requires an investment of time. It has also allowed me to work on speaking in front of people - which has helped me grow as a businessman.

    I have been in a chapter for about 13 months and have seen nothing but positive progress. Yes, sometimes I don't feel like going, and there are ways around that - you find a sub willing to fill in for you - which can actually benefit them. The other thing that I know, is that the chapters can be wildly different from one another. The one I'm in is not as strict as others - everyone is willing to bend within reason.

    But then again, as Russell stated, ... there are some things that just aren't the right fit for specific people...

    The best thing to do is to try it out, Joe. If you have not visited, you can do that for free before making your monetary investment. Visit a few chapters (if you have some to choose from), and try to see if you can find a "fit". Then go from there. Good luck.


  8. #8
    Shane Pouch's Avatar
    Shane Pouch Guest

    Default Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    Warren,

    I beg your pardon. The group I'm in has 32 business owners. One real estate agent. I'm interested in all of them referring me to family, friends, and so on.

    I just don't get how an inspector is automatically kissing anyones anything by simply building relationships! Very shallow perspective in my humble opinion, and a bad business decision.

    I have killed many "relationships" because of my thorough, comprehensive reports. But that won't prevent me from trying develop more of them in the future! I have many agent relationships that I value highly because they refer me to their clients, and understand the importance of a quality inspection.

    Give me a break!


  9. #9
    Jim Dull's Avatar
    Jim Dull Guest

    Smile Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    I belong to BNI. I received my money back within 2 weeks. I have received several referrals but none from the realtor. In Minnesota, agents don't refer home inspectors due to liability. However, the accountant and the window washer both gave me good referrals. I also received one from the Mortgage Broker. I also substituted at another chapter and did an inspection as a result of that. If you think you are going to get a referral everytime you meet, you are wrong. The best thing is that referrels beget referrels beget referrals if you do a good job. I'm lucky. My group meets at 07:00 and does not interfere with my day in anyway. I highly recommend it.


  10. #10
    Joe Tribuzio's Avatar
    Joe Tribuzio Guest

    Default Re: BNI groups, are they worth the effort?

    Going to a meeting tomorrow, I have already received a referral from a member. that paid for my membership. A lot of good points here, much appreciated.
    I believe the building of trust is going to help get more people doing business with me. I am not a person who likes restriction, but I can appreciate the structure. What i am concerned about now is the strength of the group i am with. I am hoping it will be a positive experience for everyone involved.


    "Its' only good if you play the kiss ass real estate agent game. If you write an extensive report, the agent will not refer to you....then you be outta money for a worthless group.

    If you write an easy report that makes agents happy, then by all means, JOIN!''

    Warren, I understand how someone can be wary of this but I wrote an extensive report as i would have in any situation, and it was not shunned. I am not one who plays " the kiss ass real estate agent game"
    as a matter of fact, I have never solicited a Realtor for business, and thats why i am looking for referrals from other businesses, and through word of mouth so i can continue to be ethical in my practices.


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