BNI Meetings

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by ParkingFinesLtd, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. ParkingFinesLtd

    ParkingFinesLtd UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 1
    Hello everyone

    I do a bit of networking with my business (as its some what unique) i tend to do the free ones and go to a couple of month, find them a good way to get out of the house as i work from home.

    I was invited along to a BNI meeting and paid for that one meeting (£15!!), i knew the membership was expensive, they must make plenty from the weekly fees !

    What i found most odd about it was it seemed like some kind of religious sect, (everyone i met was very nice), but the whole set up seemed weird sect

    anyone else find this? , i was glad to leave
    Posted: Oct 4, 2019 By: ParkingFinesLtd Member since: Oct 4, 2019
  2. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,480 1,045
    It's very much a personal thing - not to my taste but can be very successful for those who like structure in events.

    Some groups are looser than others!
    Posted: Oct 4, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
  3. SpikeFMT

    SpikeFMT UKBF Contributor Free Member

    37 12
    Steer clear is my advice to anyone thinking of joining BNI, pressure to give leads to pretty much strangers is on from the start and as you say it is expensive to join. I was in a chapter for about 8 months but left once i'd realised that most of the people there were just push push push for the leads and I didnt trust a good few of them. A will writer that was there was an absolute knob and got arsey when he didnt get many referals, this was due to him being a knob. I also don't want a full english at 6.30am although a bit of cereal or toast would be ok but they didnt offer any other option. Since I left not one of them has contacted me to do any work for them which is like you say it felt like a sect which once you leave they disown you
    Posted: Oct 6, 2019 By: SpikeFMT Member since: Jan 13, 2018
  4. Andy Harris

    Andy Harris UKBF Contributor Full Member

    96 17
    I was a BNI member for many years ( years ago). It is a bit cult-ish as the group pass business to each other (regardless of the quality of services provided unfortunately in some cases). However, there are groups (generally the larger ones) that actually do very well for their members. It only works if the group is large enough and the members know enough people to be able to bring referrals to the table. In short, the smaller the BNI group, the less chance of success.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Andy Harris Member since: Oct 3, 2009
  5. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

    3,047 1,096
    My opinion of them has always been the same. The whole idea is flawed. If you want to sit in a room with a bunch of under achievers, who recommend people based not on merit, but because they have pressure put on them to recommend members of the group, go ahead. I'd rather do business with people I hold in high regard, and am happy to recommend for that reason.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
  6. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    16,753 1,871
    Have been to a couple of meetings around the country, not too bad.
    Most of the network events I get to I find out about from linkedin, facebook, yahoo mailing lists, and good old fashioned contacts.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  7. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    I would say that the ‘pink chit’ systems is flawed in the extreme. Most of the ‘leads’ passed are either historic or made up.

    That said, the group I belonged to seemed to recognise this and was pretty tongue in cheek about it. In reality I did a huge amount of business on the back of BNI and clone organisations. Non of which was passed over the table. A colleague won a contract which, without exaggeration set him up for the next 5 years on the back of a BNI contact.

    On the other hand, I have heard tales of members of more autocratic groups being phoned by group leaders to reprimand them for not wearing a tie.

    I have to confess that full English at 6.30 was a big part of the attraction for me. I was 3 stone heavier back then.

    There are a number that f softer, clone groups out there including 4N which enables you to visit any group rather than restricting you to one.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
  8. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

    12,262 4,292
    I have marketing costs, if you want a lead from me you have to pay me for it. Equally if your lead is of value to me, I will pay you for it.

    Some kind of bartering system is only going to work, if all the leads are of equal value, which they can't possibly be.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
  9. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    4,431 1,672
    OP, well done for leaving (congrats to @Mark T Jones as well) . I have very little respect for anyone who chooses to be a BNI member.

    By signing up to the regular cult rules they are displaying their character (or lack of it). They are are indicating to the world that they'll recommend the local plumber not because he's a good plumber but because they are hoping to get a kickback out of it.

    There is only one reason to recommend someone: you believe they will do a good job at a fair price.

    That they are members of your club is not a "good" reason to recommend them, it is a corrupt reason. You're vouching for their professional competence despite knowing nothing about their professional competence.

    Please don't give me bullsh*t about how you know that plumber now because you see him every week and you're now best buddies. That's a fig leaf and a pathetic cover for your corruption. ;)

    People, get a backbone, develop some self-respect, get out of networks like BNI! Here's a good way to start: Make an AA type post below.

    Just fill in this template: My name is ____ and I am in a cult.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  10. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    So you won't recommend any friends who happen to have skills people might need?
    You must personally know their quality of work and value for money before you can recommend them to anyone else?
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  11. Lucan Unlordly

    Lucan Unlordly UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,418 258
    I attended BNI meetings for 3 years whilst selling advertising on a local radio station.

    Most of the business owners were based in the town we served so it was a good way of meeting a cross section of people who would not otherwise have considered radio ads. A good way of networking and having somewhere to drop into for a coffee when on the road :)

    Now, however, I see that the printer who still attends that chapter is also a member of 3 others some 15-20 miles up the road, which sort of defeats the object, and he's by no means alone. For starters he's unlikely to have local contacts to supply leads for the local garage, will have split allegiances when referring somebody to a solicitor, childcare nursery etc.,

    BNI works well and brings in good leads for some, not at all for others. Printers, solicitors, car mechanics all done well. Advertising salesmen, Double Glazing Salesmen and Jehovah Witnesses not so good ;)

    Regarding the passing of leads, there were three options when I was there, the second being to give a testimonial for business well done, the third not to give one at all, providing the ones you did submit had substance. The latter probably due to the group being well established with a greater understanding of the real world.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Lucan Unlordly Member since: Feb 24, 2009
  12. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,480 1,045
    Recommendations can really be rather odd things.

    A regular member on here recently Recommended Ian J for a leasing deal. Ian graciously pointed out that he didn't do leasing; said member responded 'Well, I'd recommend him anyway'.

    Having recognised the error of my ways in trying to offer 'all types of funding to all types of business' I now have the privilege of being highly selective in where I seek recommendations from - meaning that they are relevant and usually of quality. A million miles from the fake days 'my mate is buying a laptop and wants to explore finance options'

    It also means that I can select networking environments that are far more relevant and focused.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
  13. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    16,753 1,871
    I've referred friends simply because they are friends. One got a MoD contract out of it he's still doing occasionally a decade later. Simply the question 'Do you know any electricians willing to travel?'.

    I've also referred people to others I've never met but respect based on their forum posts.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  14. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    4,431 1,672
    Absolutely not!

    I'd be willing to mention them, not recommend them, but I'd add a disclaimer: He's a good mate. I've no idea whether he's any good at what he does.

    What people in these cults don't understand is that it's your own reputation on the line. Recommend someone you don't know and if they screw up it affects how people view you. They might even come back to you and ask why you recommended that guy. What are you going to say?
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  15. Gordon - Commercial Finance

    Gordon - Commercial Finance UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,531 413
    I would agree with Clinton here. I am very, very cautious about recommending people as it puts your own reputation on the line, and links you with that person. I don't want to be linked with anyone that would put my reputation at risk along with their own.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Gordon - Commercial Finance Member since: Jun 26, 2017
  16. DavidWH

    DavidWH UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,455 266
    I was a member for a few years, years ago.

    The quality of the referrals was dire. We had a printer in the group, who would pass weekly referrals for a £10 order. Of course everyone in the room thought we were getting shed loads of business - Remember "every seat in the room is worth £(enter your own made up number)"

    We got lots of 'internal' referrals, and very few external, this kept you tied to BNI, until we pulled the plug when a number of good customers/members left, we still do work with them to this day.

    The kind of customer we are seeking do not frequent BNI, and looking back at some of the members, they are unlikely to come across the right person for us. Their mentality that you should be pushing members services to your contacts... or when there's visitors days, etc, if I had the time and inclination to go cold calling, writing letters to cold prospects I'd do it for my own business not to line the pocket of the owner of BNI, on the promise of 'exponential growth'.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: DavidWH Member since: Feb 15, 2011
  17. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    8,978 3,507
    THIS! And may I add, with knobs on!

    Back in the days when record companies had money and produced records, the A&R (artist and repertoire) people would keep close links with recording studios and occasionally ask them if anyone good had come their way. If the studio recommended a stinker, that would kill off that contact completely and also could result in a loss of business.

    And whilst we are on musicians, the same applied to music teachers and orchestras. "Anyone good coming your way?" If the teacher recommends someone who is sub-par, they will never ask again and never recommend that teacher to anyone else either.

    The same applies to car mechanics, plumbers and all the other trades. Recommend someone who is sub-par and I will go with the old German saying "Zeig mir Deine Freunde und ich sage Dir wer Du bist!"

    "Show me your friends are and I'll tell you who you are!"
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
  18. Lucan Unlordly

    Lucan Unlordly UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,418 258
    Of course it's up to how each BNI runs and I can only talk about the one I belonged to, but...
    ...Somehow this thread has managed to take referrals and call them recommendations?

    The subtle difference between passing on a potential opportunity to a business associate (Referral) or creating a direct link to someone you barely know from Adam (Recommendation) has little to do with being a member of BNI.

    I think what BNI feeds off of is the gullibility of new members who think that the leads given are going to be solid. The reality, like any advertising, is that a tree can grow from a small acorn, just don't expect it.

    For example: The builder who done a couple of quick repair jobs for a BNI affiliated playgroup was at his wits end putting washers on taps, mending fence posts and the like when the school they were attached to needed an urgent roof repair.
    Long story short, having been 'educated' by another BNI member whose company was at the forefront of new regulations regarding DBS checks and Safeguarding courses when working with or around children, this single job and sending his workforce for appropriate training enabled the builder to pick up the maintenance contract for the regional education authority.

    You don't get to learn this sort of stuff Friday afternoons in the boozer.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2019 By: Lucan Unlordly Member since: Feb 24, 2009
  19. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    Like there's a distinction IRL!

    @The Byre asks me if I know a good plumber and I tell him I'll get @Lucan Unlordly to call him. It doesn't matter what name I use for that introduction when claiming my credit at the weekly cult meeting! ;)

    At BNI, it's a referral. To @The Byre it's a recommendation. If things go pear shaped with that plumbing job ol' Byre won't be impressed if I wash my hands off the whole affair by telling him it was a referral, not a recommendation. Or that it was all his own damn fault for confusing the two very different beasts!

    Semantics, my dear fellow, semantics.
    Posted: Oct 8, 2019 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  20. Lucan Unlordly

    Lucan Unlordly UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,418 258
    Question: 'Do you know a business broker?'

    Answer 1: 'No, sorry i've never had to sell a business'
    Answer 2: 'I've never had to sell a business but...'Yes I do actually... his names Clinton and he's on a business forum I visit'

    'Clinton, I met a chap who's looking for a business broker..' 'do you want his name'

    'He might shaft you or you might shaft him'

    At which point I allegedly become the saint or sinner depending on how good a job you do, or I just don't bother passing on the referral ;)
    I don't think The Byre is that stupid. Anybody who's spent some time at BNI will soon get to know who's giving qualified leads, get a feeling for good and bad leads just as they do for good and bad customers.
    Posted: Oct 8, 2019 By: Lucan Unlordly Member since: Feb 24, 2009