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J Meloche
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
good morning,

i have attended a recent BNI (business networking international) meeting and i am thinking of joining the group. it is a large group of about 50 in my largest service area.

i think the concept of generating referrals by joining a group like this is promising, but i'd like some feedback from others who have actually done this.

has anyone here joined BNI and did it generate business?
 

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Good morning, Fakie~

Although I've yet to join one of my local BNI's, I have as well heard positive results from a couple local guys I know who participate in them.

Only thing here is, the meetings are once a week, usually at 7-7:30am and either you or someone from your organization has to be present each week. I honestly am not the type of guy to commit to something before I know I can devote 100% of my investment/ time into it, so that is my reason to as why I personally am not a member.

The annual fee isn's bad (believe it's something between $200.00-$400.00 per year---but even if you generate one decent job and a few referrals, it pays for itself in spades.

Good Luck!
 

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Joined and quit. Waste of time and money. Every Wednesday morning at 11am to about 1pm.

I did however get to spend a lot of time chasing leads with people who werent interested in a quality product, everyone wanted a low price. Only one job came out of it, and that was a small soffit and fascia job so basically it cost more money to be a member than it made. Not including those 2 hours a week I could have been doing something more important other than listening to the same speechs about everyones company. I guess depending what your trade is, it could be good. There was a home inspector in there and he got a bunch of work but then again, majority of people arent going to get a bunch of estimates from a home inspector and go with the cheapest price.
 

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Depends on your particular group

Was in BNI 1-1/2 years. Broke even. Depends on how good your particular group is for you. If there are people in related fields who pass referrals to you regularly it can be very good. In my group the 2 or 3 people who should have been passing me referrals the most never passed any to me, very few to anyone else. They were asked to leave at their renewal date, but that was after I decided to not renew.
 

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I have been thinking about starting a Contractor's only lead group...1 person from each trade, meets weekly or monthly, everyone has to bring at least one lead for someone. Haven't started checking around to see if there is any interest in my area though.

Any thoughts on something like this?
 

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I work for a remodeling co. in Socal. My boss has been in "le tip" for a few years (same as bni, as far as I know). It is a large group of 50+ members, and he is regularly one of the top "tippers". THE reason I have been making his cabinets for the last two years, and not begging for change at an intersection, is due to his membership there. He does a couple million a year in biz. and a good portion of it has come from le tip. I have been sent to tons of meetings as a fill in, and gotten a feel for what it's like there. It's odd, really, like being in room full of happy robots, shaking hands and smiling. "hey how are you?!?!?!" I don't get the impression that they really care. They want business. The fact that there is an underlying agenda behind the smiling face, isn't really really important thought is it?

The bottom line is that you have to give to get. The dues they charge are only the tip of the iceberg, and getting up at 6am on thu. morning is the least of his worries as far as the group is concerned. As I said, he is a regular "top tipper". He spends money to be in that position--way more than the quarterly dues. He gets his car detailed, uses the lawyer and the cpa, gets his haircut, buys prepackaged food from one of them, and has his computer and car repaired, etc........ by the people in that group. I once heard the group called "incestuous" and that is fairly accurate. But also, if anyone he knows outside the group needs anything, he's "got a guy for that." They are all loyal to each other to a fault. The cynic in me says that the quality of work he gets out of the other members is irrelevant.

For him, it's worth all the expense and trouble. He really does get a ton of biz from his group. Don't join unless you are willing to jump in with both feet like he has. Commitment to your fellow BNI er's is key. If one of your friends is starting a business, you know a web guy. if you see your neighbor walking into the house with their drycleaning, you know a much better one, that they simply must take their clothes to. You have to produce a tip or two each week, and obviously the more the better.

Hope this helps.
 

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I belong to a local group that is kinda like BNI and I love it. We meet once a week, have a nice lunch, and get to know each other as business professionals. I can honestly say that I get roughly 1/3 of my total business from this group. It takes a while. You can't go for 2 weeks and expect to be getting tons of business, but if you stick with it it can really pay off.
 

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J Meloche
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i want to thank all you guys for sharing your experiences on this. it's a big investment in both time and money an i appreciate the real life stories of whether it's worked or not. i am leaning toward joining.

jim
 

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I have been a member for about 8 months. So far, I have only got 1 small job out of it, but I have made numerous amounts of contacts. In my group, there is a civil/structural engineer, commercial GC and a architect who does mainly commercial projects. I bid some small projects and recently bid the site work for a fast food restaurant which is on hold now.

You will not get tons of work right off the bat. You need to meet with these people and get to know them. It will work for you if you put the time into it and give it time.
 

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Alot of good info here. I belonged for awhile and liked it. Got enough work from the group for it to pay for itself.

The real benefit for me was finding professionals I could trust to work with like my cpa, that was worth the fees even if no work came from the group.

It was tough once in awhile to make the meetings but I did enjoy them. Like someone else said it mostly depends on the group..theres alot of fluff there but a few good members goes a long way.
 

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Captain of the Titanic
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I have been thinking about starting a Contractor's only lead group...1 person from each trade, meets weekly or monthly, everyone has to bring at least one lead for someone. Haven't started checking around to see if there is any interest in my area though.

Any thoughts on something like this?
A friend and I are starting to do excatly that. I know of one in Cali but it just started. I have high hopes and I'll et you know if it pans out
 

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I'm on a boat!
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Been a member of BNI for 3+ years now. It's tough committing to a weekly meeting but it has paid for itself. I'd recommend a morning meeting as opposed to a lunch meeting - you only lose part of your day for the morning meetings versus 3-4 hours for lunch meetings (stopping work, driving to the meeting, eating lunch, driving back to the site). Early on I got a lot of bad leads. I've since trained the group for the type of referrals I want to receive and now I don't get near as many, but when I do receive a lead, it's already pre-qualified. The group makes a big difference. A 50 person group will typically pass lots of business.

Go for it:thumbsup:
 

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I also think it matters what kind of business you are in. Next door to my showroom is a flooring business and they belong to BNI. Any remodel job would include flooring, so it works for him. But it is sort of like a fraternity in that they just pass work back and forth. If your business is too specialized like mine (expensive fine wall finishes) I doubt it would pan out. Instead I joined the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and that hasn't panned out either. In those cocktail parties I was bombarded with cards from insurance agents, internet marketers and t-shirt printers.

I like the idea of starting a construction specific one--one high end cabinet finisher, one wine celllar builder, one iron stair railing builder etc....
 

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We Paint Stuff
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BNI is our single best marketing tool.

We are in a group of over 40 and the members are mostly real professionals - not wannabe salespeople. About 1/2 of the group are contractors, the other half are Accounts/Lawyers/Financial/Insurance, etc - so the group has good dynamics.

Like said before, you have to give to get, and you have to netWORK, and trust doesn't happen over night.

Be trustworthy and reliable and your members will refer you.

Chose your group carefully though - I was a member of a group before joining the current one I am in - and I didn't click with the people as well as I do in the current group.
 
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