BNI Success: The Value of Visitors


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.

Categories : Visitors


  1. warren says:

    Thanks Marissa
    Good content that clarifies the role of a visitor…. for them and BNI Focus

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