Archive for January, 2011


Open House Success

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Late last year BNI in Southern Tasmania held its first BNI Chapter Open House event at The Mercure Hotel in Hobart.

It was a huge success!

The purpose of such an event is to follow-up past visitors, as BNI’s experience and statistics gathered over the past 7 years shows that 43% of BNI Open House event attendees join a BNI Chapter within 6 months. This is why visitors to all BNI Chapters in the region over the past 2 years were invited. The evening ran from 4pm til 7pm with drinks and canapés on offer. Each BNI Chapter had a trade table, and selected members keen to sponsor the event also had trade tables. Sponsors for the night participated by providing a prize valued at $250. Winners of these prizes were drawn from attendee business cards at the end of the evening.

This type of event has been successfully operating in BNI for the past 7 years and its recent introduction in Australia is starting to show results!

BNI recommends a notice period of at least 4 weeks for inviting visitors to an Open House event, and planning at the Chapters level should start at 8-12 weeks before the event.

Participating BNI Chapters need a minimum of 10 members present at all times, and as many members’ trade tables as possible to show visitors the opportunity they have as a member of BNI. We recommend you try to get the media involved, and a press release helps with that. We also recommend that you use the sponsorship prizes as draw cards and a gold coin donation for entry from visitors as a fundraiser for a great community organisation.

Chapters liked this approach, so our next BNI Chapter Open House event in Hobart will be held during International Networking Week February 2011.

Results to date are four new members for the region.

Categories : Open House
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BNI To the Rescue

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Written by Lead Jacobs – BNI Assistant Director & Member – Melbourne. Introduction by BNI Australia Editors.

Many people join BNI for the referrals and show their business but what they don’t realise is all the other opportunities it brings to you. Personal development, new friends, new life partners and a go to person for whatever the situation may be.  Our BNI members are a community of like minded individuals who go out of their way to really help each other.

Here is one story from a BNI Assistant Director Leah Jacobs of just one of those incidences.

Jane Banting - BNI Member to the Rescue

“For the 5 years I have been involved with BNI I never cease to be amazed by the side benefits. For instance the personal development, the contacts I have made and used the knowledge I have gained and used in my business etc. However my most recent experience is one I would like to share with others.

At the end of November I was participating in a class at the gym I attend regularly. I have been doing this activity regularly for over 30 years. I was in a step class where we use a low platform and I made a wrong move and fell badly. I immediately knew I had done something drastic because I had to be carried out of the class. There was a lot of swelling but very little pain. I was also pretty sure I had not broken anything and that it was muscular.

I decided to go to a physio instead of a doctor because I thought this could short circuit things. When I went to see Jane Banting (member of BNI Noon Networkers in Melbourne) she did not like what she saw, but what impressed me the most is that she took the extra step to consult a college of hers just to get a second opinion. She also said I had to see my GP in order to get a referral for an MRI.

After many phone calls (both from Jane and my GP) trying to get into a specialist Jane saw the urgency and contacted a sports physio who immediately called the top surgeon in Victoria on his mobile which he answered from the operating theatre.

Leah Jacobs - BNI Assistant Director & BNI Member

The sports physio explained the urgency and the surgeon saw me that night after 9.00pm while still in his operating clothes. He immediately booked me into surgery the following day and I was operated on late at night and the surgery finished after midnight.

I am recovering well, but I owe it all to the quick thinking and connections of a BNI member. Thank you Jane.

Jane Banting has a Physiotherapy practice in Glenhuntly, Melbourne and you can contact Jane on 1300 292 894.”

Categories : BNI Benefits
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Want to increase your referrals and the closed business of the Chapter?

For some Chapters 30% of their closed business comes from visitors! So here are some inviting tips based on the GRIP of inviting:

G – Are you looking to GROW your business?
R – Would REFERRALS help you grow your business?
I – If I was to INVITE you to meet other business professionals that may want to refer you, would you want to meet them?
P – Meet me at (PLACE) at (date & time).

When there is a follow-up question such as “tell me more” or “what is this about”? The best way to answer this is to simply say: “This is my inner circle of business associates. We work together to find business for each other and we are looking for a (insert profession) to pass business to. Are you interested in meeting them?”

Lets face it members are doing the visitor a favour by inviting them, especially if they are looking to grow their business. There can only be one person per profession in the chapter and they are giving that person the opportunity to be that person. This is a privilege.

What are the common objections?
• Meeting is too early
• It cost too much
• I’m too busy
• I’m already networking
• I don’t need it

These types of objections are often raised when the person doing the inviting has said too much, so less is better. Visitors need to see, hear and experience BNI before they can make an informed decision about commitment. When you are asked for more information, try to stick to the tried and proven “These are people that are in my inner circle of business associates, would you like to meet them?” This is usually followed with a positive response. Members need to allow the meeting to sell itself. Once all the necessary information is provided in the usual proven BNI way, visitors can then make an informed decision on what is best for them.

Categories : Chapter Growth
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Two local South Brisbane BNI Chapters got together early in December to hold a charity auction in which all proceeds are to be donated to Be A Hero Australia.

BNI Enterprise member Matt Jackson from Isonic & President Kevin Clarkin were the driving force behind the auction. Matt said they raised three times as much as he expected and was very happy with the overall results.

The auction would not have been possible without the support of Paul Khoury BNI Bayside chapter who runs Auctioneering Link. Paul donated his services & did a fantastic & fun job of encouraging the bidders.

Local businesses & members were invited to donate prizes which were auctioned off.

More details can be found at

Categories : Events
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Are you a member of your local Chamber of Commerce?

In Ivan Misner’s book the 29% Solution he recommends that to be successful in networking you need to diversify where you are spending your networking time. He discusses the benefits of Referral Networking Groups (BNI), Professional & Trade Associations and of course Chambers of Commerce.

Being active in your local Chamber of Commerce is a good strategy and an effective way to convey to customers that your business is reputable and keen to be a part of the wider community.

It is no secret that membership of the local Chamber of Commerce provides business owners with up to date information on issues that affect their local area and a voice to lobby for the changes to grow a strong economic community.

Many Chambers of Commerce are recognised by Government as a great contributor with initiatives that change a local area. Chambers are at the forefront of business activity and a recognised force in an economic region.

Chambers provide group buying power, cheaper insurance and power purchases. Networking with colleagues, annual trade shows, social events are a few of the benefits for BNI Members joining their local Chamber of Commerce

BNI Power Groups who attend the same Chamber of Commerce have an added bonus of emitting a powerful presence and business marketing advantage. The simple fact that members have a strong relationship and can confidently introduce and recommend each other positions them as ‘connected’ people, people of influence.

They are also a great source of visitors to your chapter.

Once you have honed your Leadership skills at a BNI Meeting taking on a role in the Chamber will be second nature. Becoming a leader at the Chamber will raise your visibility and credibility in your local community.

Chambers of Commerce are actively looking for keynote speakers, so practice your skills at BNI and get your message out there.

Remember success in networking comes down to increasing your visibility and credibility which in turn will increase your profitability. Join your local chamber, get involved and reap the rewards.

BNI Logo

We are very excited about BNI’s adoption of a new and worldwide Brand. The Branding material was designed to express that BNI is the world’s largest business networking organisation.

What’s in it for you?

A consistent brand throughout the world will help your Chapter be recognised as a part of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organisation of its kind. This will certainly lead to more referrals and income for members as BNI achieves even greater Brand recognition over time.

In order to make this a reality a process is now in place to ensure what you do at Chapter level is consistent with the Branding Guide and Standards issued by BNI. This is why it is important for members to understand the process and what to do when producing any new material that involves the Brand.

So how does that work?

BNI Brand and Chapters – Approval process
1. Requests for approval to use the BNI Brand in all materials, websites, etc are to be passed to your local Executive Director, who in turn will get approval from the National Office. Please email with your proposal directly to your Executive Director who will then deal with the National Office direct. This applies to new and existing uses of the BNI Brand.
2. Response to your request will be provided within 7 days. The exception may be in the rare instances when the request cannot be handled locally in Australia.

Please note any material, website and social media related branding templates available from BNI in Australia since November 2010 is compliant with BNI Branding Guidelines.

Please ensure that BNI has issued a written approval for use of the Brand in all areas of your Chapter’s operations.

If you have any doubts, please communicate with your local BNI Director.

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US Trainers Margie Cowan & Mike Roberts with Buffalo Award Winner James Hamilton

Australia was lucky enough to have two of the world’s best BNI Trainers visit them during the 1st week of December in sunny Brisbane. Ok, it was raining over the whole three days of training but that wasn’t a problem as all the good stuff was happening inside!

Margie Cowan & Mike Roberts are 2 of BNI’s International top Trainers. They own and operate BNI Regions with a combined total of 4,800 members. If you add that to a combined 40 years of BNI experience, Margie & Mike were able to deliver powerful BNI knowledge to over 45 BNI Directors.

BNI Directors travelled from Perth, Adelaide, Tasmania, Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Newcastle, Forster & Port Macquarie to be in Brisbane for the three day training conference.

BNI has a BNI Director Training event tradition whereby a hand crafted Buffalo is awarded by popular vote to the Director who embodies the most BNI’s “Giver’s Gain” philosophy. One of our newest BNI Directors, James Hamilton from Forster won the award, so congratulations James!

Make sure you visit our Facebook Page for more photos from Directors Training.

If you are interested in being a BNI Director, talk to your Executive Director about opportunities in your area.

Categories : Events
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