Archive for Chapter Best Practices


Achieve 3 Visitors per Week!

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This week Yorkshire ED Niri Patel shares his secret to success of getting 3 eligible visitors at every meeting. Niri writes…

“USA ED Tom Fleming has 1,657 members in 42 chapters, with an average size of 39.45! He does this by having a monthly Leadership Team meeting to ensure the flow of advice and information is not from the BNI office alone, but from the Leadership Team’s peers. He credits his success to this meeting – it gets buy in from the LTs, recognises what’s working and remedies faults quickly. It includes a regular review of goals and targets. One such target is the number of visitors that a group needs each week to sustain growth. Having looked at my own region in January this year, we found the following related to chapter traffic lights banding”:

The conclusion?

“If we want to grow like the best groups in our region, we need 3 visitors per week. You need 2 visitors per week to just stand still! It seems to be working. Each month we remind all groups of this at the LT round table in South Yorkshire. The groups that have a full turnout each month are the ones that seem to be growing. Coincidence? You decide!”

Although the meeting is still a work in progress, Niri’s top 3 tips for the Leadership Team meeting are:
• Do plenty of recognition, especially for things you have set out as initiatives.
• Get the LTs who are doing well to share their experiences. Peer to peer learning is powerful.
• Always start and finish the monthly meeting on time.

Here at National Office we endorse this approach and encourage you to do the same.

Contact Niri Patel

Whether you are just getting your networking L-plates or are a contact-building buff, there are always new resources you can tap into to make your networking successful, fun, and a rewarding time-investment.

Be Visible, Be Trusted. And Be Successful.

Connecting, building trust and relationships with other professionals, industry contacts, your BNI peers, and other referral sources (and of course existing and potential clients) is fundamental to any business’ success. The potential for additional business momentum and income from building a “tribe” and trusting network is enormous.

BNI - Navigate the Networking JungleStroll Through The Networking Jungle

To get the best enjoyment and return on investment from your time spent business networking, you may want to create a few new habits that build on your existing networking strengths.

We would like to share our proven 10 Top Tips to successful networking with you, so that every business function, networking event and BNI meeting will be valuable, enjoyable, and a great experience for you.

Armed with these tricks of the trade, you will be ready to go and breeze through the (previously perhaps a little daunting) networking jungle!

The 10 Networking Tips You Can’t Do Without

Over the coming weeks we will delve deeper into each of these recommendations, plus share more networking ideas with you – to give you even more tools to grow your networking muscle.

  1. Arrive early – and leave late. Welcome new people, be warm and open.
  2. Work the room. Spot the connectors, open groups and “lost” people.
  3. Network as a group of complementary businesses or with those who use your services. Network with a client – a walking testimonial source, and a great way to forge a closer bond with your client.
  4. Be prepared. Bring a lot of business cards, and any marketing material. Wear a name badge with your own and your company’s name.
  5. Listen. Givers do gain, while hard sellers, who talk only about themselves, are seen as rude and pushy. Give the first referral, if you can.
  6. Have an objective. Be specific about the referrals and connections you are looking for. Have a good elevator pitch ready that matches your audience and goals.
  7. Create “VCP”: be Visible, Credible, – and reap the Profitability rewards. Trust takes time to develop, so network regularly.
  8. Be Consistent. How do you present yourself, how are you perceived? Match your appearance to the occasion – and your business. Ensure your online presence is consistent with the real-life “you” and business.
  9. Say thank you. It’s not only the polite thing to do, it will also make your referring contact feel appreciated, and it encourages future referrals.
  10. Follow up after your networking event! Your reputation (and that of your referrer) and conversion-rate hinge on this perhaps most important of all networking tips.

Our networking pointers are of course not all there is to successful, profitable and fun networking. But with practice, these first steps will see you go a long way in establishing a great business network, and trust. And that visibility and credibility are essential to getting referrals, making lasting connections, and to growing your business. So, which tip will you try out on your next networking quest?

Learning how to be an effective member of BNI is one of the most important things we can do to grow our businesses. And now it’s been made easy, with BNI Learning.

What is BNI Learning?

BNI Learning is a world-leading online training platform that was designed to provide BNI members with flexible learning opportunities.

The main purpose of BNI Learning is to help BNI members develop key business skills such as communication, presentation, management, and leadership skills. It’s there to help you stay ahead of the competition – and get the most out of your membership.

Since its launch in Australia in March 2011, already around 1,000 BNI members have started using the website to boost their training and knowledge about BNI. And their feedback so far has been great: an impressive 87% of respondents to our recent survey agreed or strongly agreed that the topics and level of detail covered were relevant to their learning needs. So, we encourage you to get involved, and see how BNI Learning can help you and your business too.

What Can You Do On The BNI Learning Website?

There’s a great range of learning material available on the BNI Learning website, from the Member Success Program to Leadership Team training modules. You can watch videos, listen to podcasts, read summaries, download reference material, and best of all, you can have fun completing all the quizzes. There really is something for everyone on the BNI Learning website, and all of it will help you get more out of your membership.

Why Online?

The beauty of having all these learning resources available online is that all BNI members across Australia can access the same learning materials, and can do so at any time, day or night. This flexibility means you can fit in your training at a time and place that works best for you and your business.

Who Is BNI Learning For?

BNI Learning is for everyone: for existing members, for new members, and as part of the benefits of membership for visitors who are considering joining BNI.

For existing members, it is a terrific resource and an invaluable part of your membership. With Leadership Team training about to start in September now is the perfect time to get on board.

For new members, it is a fantastic online mentoring tool and can provide you with extra support as you learn more about BNI.

For visitors: BNI Learning is just one of the many ways in which BNI supports your membership once you have joined, and it can form an integral part of increasing your business success within BNI.

So whether you are new to BNI or a long-time member, we are all here because we love seeing our businesses grow. One of the best ways to make this happen is to learn everything you can about BNI.

So look up our instructions on how to login, then check out BNI Learning and embrace the culture of learning more, to earn more.

Comments (2)

Do you have a problem with only very few visitors taking your business card from the chapter’s box?

Does your chapter miss out on business opportunities with visitors every week? You’re not alone.

But why is that? I believe it comes down to lack of (sufficient) information.

A visitor needs to hear specifically about what they think useful to be enticed to pick up your (or another member’s) card. Most members give meaningful specifics about their business in their sales manager minute. But we all do so much more than what we can convey in 60 seconds. Each sales manager minute can give a first-time visitor only a small glimpse into the wide range of each business’ service or product offerings.

Visitor Booklet: The Concept
As a Business and Marketing Strategist, our chapter members often look to me for growth ideas. When I proposed producing a visitor booklet to the group, every member saw the value and enthusiastically embraced the project. So, with a small financial contribution from each member to cover the cost, I developed and produced the visitor booklet for our chapter. Each addition is valid for up to six months, and is given to every first-time visitor. The booklet contains every member’s business card alongside a half page ad, enabling us to showcase our full range of products and services to visitors.

Growing Our Chapter
In addition, the booklet also describes the benefits that joining our chapter can offer. A complete application form is included to make becoming a member easy. The booklet is extremely useful for visitors who need to run the idea of joining past a supervisor: it clearly explains the benefits of joining, without the decision maker having to attend a meeting themselves. A number of members have purchased additional copies to display in their reception area, or to show connections that could be prospective visitors.

Generating More Business from Visitors
Thanks to our visitor booklet, our chapter is now looking forward to reaping the fruits of our labour – bringing visitors to our meetings, networking and promoting our chapter. Our initiative is a valuable and beneficial marketing tool that will increase the amount of business our members do with one-time visitors. It was a fantastic experience to see the whole chapter come together to enthusiastically back this initiative – and we are looking forward to enjoying more business from visitors in the months and years to come.

If you are interested in finding out more about our visitor booklet, please contact our chapter via our Facebook page, or contact me, Andre Vermast, directly by emailing

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BNI Learning is the new flagship online learning platform pioneered by the team of Directors of BNI in Australia, together with BNI Director of e-Learning Mark Graber who “in his spare time” is the Principal of Websmart Design.

With the support of Ivan Misner and the team at BNI HQ in the US, Australia is trialling new ways to effectively upskill members in world’s best BNI practices. This is absolutely necessary if we are to listen to adult learning principles, and help members get the most of their BNI experience.

To date over 1,700 members from around the world are active on BNI Learning, including over 700 members in Australia. Ready in time for the April training events, members were encouraged to complete 30 mins of online training on the “how to’s” of their new roles. This allowed the face-to-face training to go in more detail of the “why” of BNI practices, and the feedback from members has so far been outstanding!

For example in Perth where well over 100 members were trained, the feedback was:
- 93% of members felt that the online training answered their questions about their role and what was expected of them; and
- 94% of members said they would recommend this training to others.

We were particularly pleased that Members who had previously undertaken leadership training found the new training refreshing, and they gained new inspiration and knowledge to take back to their chapters.

Michael Sinclair said “I was impressed by the new format of leadership training. Instead of spending three hours going through who does what and when for each meeting, a quick 30 minute “how to” online training session with a short video went through these basics. The face-to-face group discussion fostered discussion between chapters, developing ideas that we could then bring back to improve our own chapters.”
Michael Sinclair, Harper Group Pty Ltd.

The new format of face-to-face training was conversational and, an aspect that was particularly appreciated, allowed members to share their knowledge and experience.

If you haven’t tried BNI Learning for yourself, go to and check with your local BNI Director for your enrolment key!

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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