Archive for Visitors

visitorHere are 7 ways you may not have thought of to get guests to our meetings.

1.Set an appointment with them
How do you normally get together with your business colleagues? Typically by appointment. So why treat the BNI meeting any different. Having a quality guest come along with you to the meeting is a great opportunity for them as well as for you and the Chapter. Set a date and time for them to visit, this will help them understand that this is a serious business opportunity rather than a weekly “come if you can” event.

2.Invite them to listen to the speaker
Note the upcoming speakers and target people that may benefit by listening to their presentation.

3.Invite them to meet a specific person
There’s nothing more appealing to any networker than a specific target. Who is your guest looking for? Perhaps they are there in our Chapter already. I have successfully invited visitors to our meeting on the basis of – “oh – you MUST meet so and so, they’re fantastic and I’m sure you could do business together. Come along and meet him next _____day –and I’ll introduce you.

4.Ask them if they like free publicity
I mean – who doesn’t, right? They have a product they are trying to market and you are offering them the opportunity to network and present it to a captive business audience.

5.Invite them to come and support you
You may have several potential members that you would like to visit with you, but they know perfectly well you meet every week and are put off by that. So how to get them to come THIS week? Well, for one if you are speaking you can ask them to come and support you, give a testimonial of your services or say some kind words about you and your business. No reason why they can’t even assist with your presentation!

6.Ask for their help in filling a category
Try the indirect approach. We want a CPA in the Chapter. But instead of approaching a CPA you might not know so well, get a colleague who knows one to invite them along. Both can come as your guest, and both will be impressed with the meeting!

7.Bring a satisfied customer with you
Bring a satisfied customer with you to give a testimonial at the meeting. A satisfied customer for you can very easily become a satisfied customer of someone else.

Not everybody who walks through that door is going to want to join our Chapter. It’s true. But every single person who visits our chapter give us the opportunity to make valuable business connections in our area.

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There is one guaranteed thing you as a BNI member can do that will give your chapter a boost – that is to regularly bring a visitor. Most BNI groups get 20+% (even up to 30%) of their closed business from visitors.

That’s a pretty good incentive to bring visitors! Are there any other good reasons to invite visitors; and how do you go about attracting regular, quality visitors – to then close business with them?

Why Are Visitors So Important?   

Besides adding a healthy portion to the chapter members’ revenue, what are the other reasons visitors are so important to the health of a BNI chapter?

1. A visitor is a potential customer  / may buy from members:
Visitors can just buy from you – they don’t have to join. We often see that members try so hard when inviting – they go too far in selling the BNI concept. It doesn’t matter if a visitor doesn’t join your chapter. Why? Just ask them to come and take a look. Let the meeting do the selling of BNI – it’s geared up for it. Simply put, at the end of the day, if all a visitor does is bring you some business – that can’t be a bad thing.

2. A visitors may refer their contacts to our members for business:
This is an obvious concept, but often overlooked.

3. A visitor is a potential member / a visitor may refer their contacts to your chapter for potential members:
Chapters lose members for many business and personal reasons every now and again. Visitors form an important role in replacing the gaps in your chapter membership. The membership committee or a Powerteam announces which categories the chapter is looking for. These industries make great visitor candidates.

4. A visitor may become a good regular substitute:
Chapters often struggle with absenteeism. Forming regular substitutes in the chapter is a fantastic benefit for all members:  Visitors who may not want to join, or cannot commit the required time of being a full-time member, may like the idea of being a substitute.

5. A visitor will boost our chapter’s numbers – great for meeting dynamics:
A visitor is an extra person, increasing our numbers. Why does this boost meeting dynamics? Simply because: small groups don’t look impressive to other visitors. And existing members will take more care in their presentation and participation when there are new potential clients in the room. So, we can create an even better impression every time our chapter meets by bringing visitors

One Step Ahead in the Sales Process

Every member knows that having many visitors at meetings generates more energy and tempo. It is this type of meeting that sells BNI to visitors. When this happens, you have a larger pool of referrers to tap into.
So, how do you attract visitors to your meetings so that, in turn, your BNI chapter grows – and your business grows?

In a simplified approach to selling, we know that every sale involves two fundamental steps:

1. First contact

2. Final decision

The first step is the most difficult one, since many businesses don’t know who their next customer is going to be.
Not to mention there is a lot of prep time involved—it’s the most time consuming step in the whole sales process. For most businesses, the very first potential-customer contact usually only confirms whether there is going to be a next step – not whether there will indeed be a sale.

Now take a shortcut….

Think of all the time you could save if you concluded step one of your sales process – meeting new potential clients face-to-face – at your weekly BNI meeting.  There you could have the opportunity to meet with numerous potential new customers (i.e. chapter visitors) at the same time.

Consider the value of personal introductions made for you by your chapter colleagues to each of their visitors. A follow-up call to get you that extra bit closer to closing the deal can now start with a simple, “hello, we met at the BNI meeting…”

Why Your Chapter is Valuable to Visitors

Round up your visitors! Getting your visitors to a chapter meeting is easier than you might think. Every chapter has an enormous commercial value for each visitor: personal introductions to 25-60 professional businesspeople at the same time (that’s all of you, plus the visitors you attract… can you see another value of inviting visitors – for other visitors – here?)!

Visitors and members alike will benefit from the Open Networking part of the meeting, as much as the sales-manger minute information they receive during the meeting to make a pre-selection or confirmation of the businesses they want to work with.

How To Attract Visitors To Your BNI Meetings

Challenge your chapter to bring visitors every week, by reminding them that they will likely and regularly make more money plus save heaps of time every week.

When deciding what type of visitors match your chapter best, consider these ideas:

  1. Ask the Keynote (Ten Minute) speaker whom they want in the room for their presentation.
  2. Use One-on-One meetings to gauge the top three most wanted business categories.
  3. Start by inviting those with whom you are closest.
    They all have interesting jobs, and they all want to save time and make new contacts for themselves. They can be your clients, suppliers, friends or family members.

Once you have identified whom you want to ask, use these tips to make sure they attend a BNI chapter meeting:

  1. Don’t invite them to a BNI meeting. Invite them to meet your best business contacts, 25-40 at the same time.
  2. Give them the commercial values. Personal introduction, everyone wants to meet them, and everyone will want their business card.
  3. Don’t push them about membership.
    The meeting will sell BNI to the right persons; you don’t have to.

Increasing the amount of visitors will not only save you and your visitors time and give you all more business, it will also grow your chapter into the best it can be.

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Oct
21

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 niri@joinbni.com.