Archive for Question Corner

“BNI has so many policies – why?”, some of you have asked us over the past month. So in this Question Corner we are explaining why BNI is a system based on a comprehensive list of rules – and how you benefit from them.

Many Aspects, Many Proven Rules

Let’s look at the “many” in this question first:  What areas does BNI have policies for?  The BNI system has proven rules and recommendations around:

  • Joining
  • Attending
  • Referring
  • Training
  • The Weekly Meeting
  • Leadership

As you can see: there are many parts that contribute to creating a successful networking and word-of-mouth marketing group.  While there may be “many” rules at first glance, policies to govern the principles under which a group comes together and decides to do business are crucial for achieving a common vision – and for the group’s success.

Look at it this way:

You would not accept or start a job without having seen a job description and salary offer.  So why would you want to join a networking group (= job) that has no direction, no expectations of its members, no way to measure its efforts (= no job description) – or can’t articulate the likely reward (= salary) you will receive for your hard work?

Structure = Foundation of Success

Cold calling only gets you so far… In 1985 Dr Ivan Misner assembled a group of business friends that understood each other’s businesses well.  Their aim:  to work on building their businesses through networking and word-of-mouth marketing.  Their experience and practical input created a system that could be passed on.  BNI was born.

What was – and still is – so unlike other networking groups about BNI, is that BNI provides its members with a structure and a plan based on their needs, which enables them to network in an effective and professional manner.

Membership Rules!

Rules without a reason or purpose are of no use.  Policies must serve the common goal of an organization.  And every rule in BNI is aimed at enabling its members to understand, practice and benefit from Givers Gain®.

As a member, how do you benefit from the BNI rules and system?

Here are 10 examples:

  1. No Competition:  Only one person from each professional category is permitted to join a chapter of BNI.
  2. Sales Team Commitment: Members must represent their primary occupation, not a part-time business.  An individual member can only be a member of one BNI chapter at any time.
  3. High VCP:  The weekly meetings last for 90 minutes. Members need to arrive on time and stay for the entire meeting.
  4. Continuity/Trust:  If a member cannot attend a weekly meeting, they should send a substitute.
  5. Business Opportunities: Members are required to bring bona-fide referrals and visitors.
  6. Earned Access to VCP: Visitors may attend chapter meetings up to two times only.
  7. Sales Team Attendance: There should be no leaves of absence, except for medical reasons.
  8. Recognising Your Effort: Individual PALMS and chapter tracking keeps you and your sales team accountable – and recognises everyone’s hard work on each other’s behalf.
  9. Smooth Sailing: Clearly outlined expectations make it easier to run the chapter professionally, based on merit, and not personal preferences.
  10. Support:  All new members must attend Member Success Program (MSP) training in their region within the first 60 days of joining.

The BNI Meeting Agenda

Some new members and visitors ask why the meeting agenda is so “strict”, referring to the set rules on how to run the meeting.

The answer to the “why?” is simple – discipline creates value.

There is a lot of information, content and value contained in each weekly meeting:

  • Visibility for members/visitors (business cards, 60-second & 10-minute presentations)
  • Credibility (referrals, raps, and presentation)
  • Profitability & Measurement (referrals and closed business)
  • Accountability (VP and Treasurer Reports, Referral Reality Check)
  • Training (MSP, etc.)
  • Social Connection (events)

There are only 90 minutes available weekly that need to be used effectively.  To lead a group of 25 to 75 people orderly (!) through a meeting of that length, and provide value to all participants – now that requires discipline.

Conclusion: No Structure, No Givers Gain® 

Please send us your questions for next month’s Question Corner to   


BNI: How much is enough?

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In this month’s Question Corner we are answering Martin Coyle’s questions on the average amount of –

time per week a member will need to invest in BNI, and the amount of
closed business a member can expect to receive from BNI referrals

Thank you Martin, for your questions.

“Farmers” Are On The Money

Most of you would have heard the phrase that BNI chapters encourage “Farmers” over “Hunters” to join their meetings. A Farmer in this context is someone who brings a high level of passion and a strong Givers Gain® attitude to their networking and membership. A Hunter is the polar opposite.

Farmers are actively trying to get to know everyone’s business and referral preferences well by doing dances, listen closely to each member’s weekly 60-seconds infomercials, and are active members of their relevant Power Teams (also known as Power Groups).

And relative to their category, Farmers are the most successful BNI members. In every chapter.

Time: Sow The Seeds For A Good Harvest

One essential “seed” you need for reaping great returns from your BNI membership is time. The more quality time you invest, the faster you build trust and solid relationships. Based on these, your referral numbers and their quality are likely to get better, faster. Your related additional income will grow accordingly.

The minimum time per week members should be prepared to invest into their chapter is:

  • 1.5 hours for your weekly meeting
  • 1-2 hours per week on 1-on-1 meetings (dance cards)
  • 1-2 hours per month to meet with your Power Team members
  • Additional variable time to find referrals, and to introduce members to referred prospective clients

Closed Business Growth

Your time commitment, passion, perceived Givers Gain® and clarity of your infomercial strongly influence how much closed business you can expect to receive from your fellow chapter members.

While the average BNI Member now earns approximately $40,000 p.a. through BNI referrals alone, you need to keep in mind that different businesses categories have varying complexity of products/services and related revenue expectations when making comparisons.

If you are a florist, for example, your product is easy to understand. With a low cost-per-order you are effortlessly referrable, and your services are widely and frequently required. Little trust is needed to engage a new client, and delivery is fast.

In contrast, as a financial planner, your services are more complex and more difficult to grasp. They require a far higher financial, trust and time commitment by your (potential) clients. You are much harder to refer to, but your closed business per referral and overall closed-business level are likely to be much higher.

Conclusion: Be A Committed Farmer To Reap Your Rich Rewards

This month’s Question Corner answered a query by Martin Coyle, Managing Director of Consistent Results.  Please send us your questions for next month’s Question Corner to

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