From Mark Harvey of Fuller-Spurling
I have been a member for close to 13 years. In fact I am one of the original founder members of this group, along with Judy Campbell and Dermot Flynn.
Clearly something about BNI works; as otherwise why would we still be involved?
For me and my accountancy business the benefits from BNI have been tremendous over the years. It has generated thousands of pounds per year in fees for my firm. Clients who were referred to me during that entire period are still clients; so the benefit is year on year. Some of those clients have referred other people and businesses to me and so that has added to the value I can directly attribute to my membership of BNI. That is the power of gaining business by word of mouth referrals.
As a member you build a reputation amongst the group – either by working with another member directly, or by hearing other members talking about their experiences working with that person; or even hearing them talking about the experiences of their own friends or business acquaintances who they have referred to that person. These are given as testimonials each week. You build up that reputation and trust in the group. It takes a little time; it doesn’t happen overnight; but it works.
So in BNI you get the benefit of having a “kind of extra sales team” working for your business. Each week you remind them in your 60 seconds slot about the work you do, the work you are looking for or not looking for and you can give examples of work you have done to educate everyone to be on the lookout for work for you. For me, I think of BNI as a means of giving myself more chances of finding new business; more chances of someone in this room being in the right place at the right time – someone hearing that a contact they know needs the services of an accountant or they are not happy with the service and advice they are getting from their existing accountant. There is a chance for that member to mention my name and give me the opportunity to win that business.
Remember there is only one person in the group representing any one trade or profession. So there is no confusion. By being in the group you can lock out your competition!
For me, though, there are more benefits than just the fees.
You get the help and support of other members in the group. So if you need a little help or guidance on something, then who better than to speak to another member who you meet each week? You know you can trust them for the right advice and that they know their “trade”.
It’s also friendship and feeling part of a bigger group. This is important if you are on your own in business, or you do not have a business partner or co-director to talk to.
Even more importantly I feel it reflects well on me and my business if a client asks if I can recommend someone to them for help and advice. If I can recommend someone in the group – I know I can rely on that member to give a good service – remember by giving a good service that increases your reputation in the group; so it makes sure you do give a good service– that then reflects well on me and the whole level of service and help I can give to my clients.
As I said I’ve been a member of BNI for nearly 13 years, and my only concern might be thinking of what 13 years’ worth of breakfast all piled up might look like!!
I have used the services of most of the members currently in the room either for my personal affairs or my business at Fuller Spurling or by referring them to many of my clients.
Would I give up my position in the room to think that another accountant would be likely to fill my space? –
Member since: 25th June 2012
I am a Partner in the Social Media Bureau where I work with four others to deliver social media marketing, advice and deliver seminars to a wide range of clients.