What Does It Take To Be A Successful BNI Member?


BNI chapters come in all shapes and sizes and over the last fifteen years during my visits to BNI chapters or speaking at BNI big breakfasts, there are three skills that I have observed all the successful BNI members have.

Let’s call this active BNI member Jack, a busy electrician who does both residential and commercial work. His business and life partner Jane also belongs to another BNI chapter and they credit more than 70% of their business growth to belonging to BNI. As their business has grown, they have also encouraged their staff to attend BNI meetings in their absence. BNI is a big part of the culture of Jack and Jane’s business.

Act Like The Host Not The Guest

Whenever I have met Jack or Jane outside of their chapter meetings, they always engage people as if they were the hosts not the guests. This makes first timers and strangers at other networks feel very welcome and best of all they remember Jack and Jane positively. They don’t always attend the same external events, but they are very busy socially and are basically friendly people.

TIP: The next time you see someone who looks a bit lost or confused; offer your assistance – that’s what hosts do.

Network Outside Of BNI at Least Once a Month

The BNI chapters that consistently attract new members and build solid memberships have members who attend additional networking events every month. These events might range from a golf day or a chamber of commerce event through to a conference. The main reason they do this is to expand their business. The secondary reason is that they meet lots of new business people. And during their conversation with these strangers, they mention BNI and invite that stranger along to a meeting.

TIP: Look around your chapter and identify the members who regularly give multiple referrals every week. Talk to them about the networking events they attend outside of BNI and ask if you can tag along to one of these events. Yes your prime intention is to promote your business AND you can also invite strangers you meet to come along to a BNI chapter meeting. Remember you probably have to ask two to three people to attend BNI, to ensure that one shows up.

They Are the Face Of BNI

Jack and Jane understand that they as individuals are the face of BNI. They are not directors; they are active members, who are committed to BNI as well as their business growth. When they meet people socially or at business events, who have never heard of BNI, they make sure they follow up with them after the event. Even if the stranger is a financial adviser or real estate agent (both popular categories at BNI chapters), they still invite them along to a meeting – as they know new chapters are forming all the time. Most of all Jane and Jack know that they are growing BNI as a whole, not just their own chapter. They believe in abundance firmly knowing there is plenty of members and business for all current and future chapters.

TIP: If one of your guests attends a BNI meeting and decides NOT to join BNI for whatever reason, don’t dismiss them from your network. Over the next twelve months, they will still have a need for the products or services from many of your current members. They can tap those needs through connecting with you and accessing your BNI members. Before you know it, you will be the top referral giver at your chapter.

Givers gain is the BNI mantra and we know it works. Jack and Jane are successful BNI members because they live BNI – they build their business growth around being active members. What about you? Is it time you stepped up? What if you took on these three tips for the next ninety days, what have you got to lose?

Happy networking until next time.


Article written by the “Australian Queen of Networking” Robyn Henderson

Global networking specialist, Robyn Henderson has authored and contributed to more than 30 books on networking, self promotion and self esteem building. She has spoken in 12 countries, presents over 150 times per year and has never advertised. All her work comes from networking, referrals, LinkedIn and her website

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