Why I do BNI – by Will Howell
This week Will Howell delivered an excellent Education Slot on Thursday and highlighted his top seven benefits he and his business have achieved through being a member of BNI Focus.
“I have been a member of BNI since 2017. During that time, I have learned many skills, and I think it would be useful for anyone running their own business. BNI doesn’t suit everyone, as there are several rules to follow, it’s a big commitment, and the meetings occur very early in the morning.
For those who don’t know, BNI is a professional networking organisation where members meet weekly for breakfast and help each other by finding new business for each other and making referrals. These are tracked and statistics are carefully kept for attendance, participation and the amount of business passed. Just a few things people will get out of membership.
- Public Speaking practice – because you go to BNI every week and do a 60 second speech,
you get lots of practice in public speaking, I have personally seen new members going from a ‘I
don’t want to stand up to speak’ position to a stance that Suzette would be proud of, This also
helps outside of meeting in the real world so we have a basis of an elevator pitch delivered with
- Taglines – many BNI members add a tagline to the end of their 60 seconds – and some people
don’t have these when they join BNI but after being inspired by seeing others, they come up
with clever ones. These help members and visitors have a micro pitch in the back of their minds
and when an opportunity arises you will jump to the front of their minds.
- Making friends – BNI Is not just about getting new business, it’s about making friends, building
relationships on a Meet, Like, Know Trust basis – it’s impossible to refer someone that you
hardly know to a client of yours without being able to trust they can deliver what they promise
- Other networking opportunities – through BNI you will get to hear about other networking
events – open networking events, monthly lunches, awards events, workshops and seminars
and often its contacts you get there that will help you grow your business
- An education on how to network – Members in the room may be new to BNI and some will
be long established members like Daniel, use their wisdom and techniques to learn and grow in
the world of networking, having 1-2-1’s is crucial in BNI, I myself established a service I didn’t
know Helen did in a 1-2-1 and have since been able to pass successful business.
- Knowledge of other types of businesses – At BNI you slowly over time become a bit of an
expert on all of the members businesses, this is also established well in 1-2-1’s you can pick up
bits on information that you never knew or never knew you needed to know about, for example
when Tim had a member of staff tell us how there is no such thing as common-law marriage
that shocked me as my daughter had just moved into her first house with her boyfriend and her
name was not on the mortgage, from that information I fed this back to her and told her what
needs to be in place to protect her in the future.
- Business referrals – Let’s be honest, we are all here to win more business, not from the room
but through the room, and building those relationships will help these referrals come naturally, I
have always described it like this, if you met a guy in the pub, let’s say he is called John and he is
a plasterer, you have never met him before so would you instantly say “Come and plaster my
ceiling” the answer of course is “No” but let’s say you see John in the pub every week and really
get to know him although you have never seen his work apart from a few photographs, you
have now built the trust and chances are when you need a plasterer, you know exactly who to