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Get involved in the Clark County community. News Photo Galleries Woodland vs. Reader Photo Galleries Reader photos September: I work full-time, and this chapter meets 90 minutes during business lunch times, which meant it would require that I take time off work. I imagine that other people would have the same problem, unless they owned their own business. Now I feel sorry for those people who stood up and joined. This is a great point. It looks like you got yourself a small cult following since my last post.
I want to give you some updated information on BNI in my area. BNI had three local chapters, but is now down to one and that one is barely surviving. They blame the recession, despite the fact that BNI promotes being in BNI would help business owners survive a recession.
Two of my friends and former BNI colleagues had their membership terminated due to the strict attendance policy. One has been fighting cancer and missed several meetings due to her chemo appointments.
They tried to restart the chapter, but it failed miserably. Facebook, LinkedIn and other social internet sites have hundreds of thousands of members and cost nothing to join. I hope more people who are thinking about joining BNI find your blog and think before they blow their hard earned money. I want to make some points on BNI and my experience I have to agree with some of your points and disagree with others.
I am a local business owner that sell Web Design services. I found most of the junk that you mentioned above. However after spending 6 months on the BNI website I saw a new chapter was starting near me during the noon hour. I messed very well with most of the members in the group and although we follow the standards of the meeting we are more laid back. I find during the non hour BNI takes up most of your day. Therefore I find our members have their 60 second pitch pre-written and we take notes on what each person talks about.
However we have never had to terminate a member yet. We have been a active chapter for over 1 years and we only had 1 member not renew. This is also true for myself. I referrals I have received have been of high quality and I have passed high quality referrals. Now I know just from my visits this could be the exception not the rule.
When I invite my clients and colleges to BNi I tell them. BNI may not be for you. But please do your leg-work and find one that makes the most sense for you.
We are greeting by a very smiley man in his mid forties. He shakes our hand and we continue up to the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs we are greeted by another man,. Finally upstairs we are greeted by 3 more people. As i look around the room i notice 2 distinct groups. US the newbies on the other hand were slightly lost and bemused by the amount of people there.
Wow, this could be a good meeting i thought. As i fought my way through the crowd to get a coffee and a dry bacon sandwich, i caught the sight of someone who looked decent to talk to.
After a few minus of nattering we did they usual of swapping business cards and moved onto the next group of people. All of a sudden and without warning all the BNI members sat down. As if a switch had been flicked and they all obeyed. I wonder how getting in contact with the Finance director of an airline can help my IT company supporting the town i live in. So after 20 minutes or so, i was getting a little tired by now and the speakers voice was starting to drone, we all got up and had 1 minute to exchange business cards with as many people as possible.
WOW, making contacts and maybe getting some good leads. As i sat down counting my newly found contacts, another speaker appeared and proceeded to tell us about the BNI and how joining it is great.
Ok, now we can get on with some networking.. First the 2 chapter leaders got up to say thank you for coming and why joining the BNI was excellent. The membership forms come out. Finally he finishes and we can do some networking. What we had witnessed, and paid good money to go too was a 2 hour long hard sell.
Grumpy- Let me start by saying that article was one of the best reads I have had in Months. Very well written, and very entertaining.
You have a new Blog follower. I was a member for almost a year and I loved it. My work colleague was a member for 3 months and just quit today. BNI is only as good as the people in your group. I genuinely liked the people in my chapter and I closed some good business from the referrals I got.
When my chapter broke up, I have kept in touch with the people and would continue to send them business. It worked for me because the people in my chapter were cool. My colleague had a terrible experience. His chapter members were self-serving and his Leadership team was condescending and arrogant.
His take was why get up at 5am to be treated like a jerk. If I was in his group, I think I would have had the same viewpoint. The bottom line for me is the BNI formula is going to bring out the best or the worst in people.
I can easily see how a bad group is going to pass bogus leads and generally be a big waste of time. Conversely a cool group of people and a leadership team that encourages participation without condescending to its members can definitely profit from being a part of BNI.
BNI is only as good as the people in your group and the few people running your individual chapter. Sounds like there are a lot of the same symptoms in a lot of different chapters. I alluded to my current chapter being fairly successful. I think I can see some reasons why. First and foremost, all the folks in our chapter see BNI simply as a marketing and networking tool.
In my observations of chapters that seem to struggle and folks that have shitty experiences visiting chapters for the first time, I can see some key problems. It seems to me that those chapters are focused on simply building up their numbers and membership instead of making money. Our chapter has battled this in the past and it can be annoying. Instead of BNI being a means to an end, it becomes the end in itself. Great for the BNI franchise owners, but piss-poor for all the members that have shelled out hundreds of dollars to hopefully increase their business.
Also, i have noticed that the description of some of the meeting agendas and formats are way off the reservation! Every meeting in any part of the world are supposed to be the same. I still maintain that BNI is the Walmart of networking organizations and I think it would be fun to see a huge shake-up in the structure and methodology of it.
Damn the man and curse it for actually working sometimes!!! Just think this article and the comments are mostly based on the meeting itself. Imagine the bullshit and propaganda that is provided at at a director level! My objection to the organization was the constant pressure from our area director to sign new members. It was explained to me that there was more financial incentive for him to do things that way then fortify existing chapters. This made the whole thing seem a little insincere.
I felt for the money there should have been a little more customer service. When the number of members in our chapter were deemed insufficient by BNI corporate, our area director put us on a program which was according to BNI designed to bring us back up to snuff in 6 weeks or thereabouts, I forgot the actual number. Well, he showed up to one of them and essentially cast us adrift afterwards only to show his face one more time several weeks later to tell us that our chapter was going to be dissolved.
It made me wonder what I was paying for. My advice to anyone thinking about joining one of these chapters is investigate, investigate, investigate. Go to a few of the meetings before you shell out the money. Grab every business card you can and call everyone to get their opinion on their chapter. Many of them will BS you but one or two will give you the straight skinny.
If your business is complimentary to the business of existing members for example my business was complimentary to the Architect and Interior Designer who were already members of this chapter and vice-versa then it may be a good idea to add BNI to your marketing arsenal. Just start a networking group. The same people with the same contacts and the same drive that build up a group for BNI could just as easily build their own group.
In fact in many ways I think they detract from good networking. In my experience good quality business is done by people that know, like and trust each other.
Many other people that were doing B2B sales felt exactly the same way. Most business that was passed was low level retail or very low end B2B. That has a lot of value. What would that do to my reputation with my trusted associates? To sell them out to all manner of shysters and subjecting them to high pressure BNI sales tactics. Dutifully doing so amused my 11 year old daughter as she has wanted a Facebook account for some time and I had been stalling her. I figured it would be a good way to check it out before I gave my OK.
In short - 11 year old girls. This woman girl posted at least 30 times a day. Every bar she went to, how much she had to drink, whether she was getting it on that night. My, My…those photos… There is no way this woman could have been doing any work at all for BNI or her business. It was one drunken sortie after another. What a great way to promote BNI. Anyway - I am in the process of leaving BNI 3 people have left within the past month and if I find the time I will pop back and tell about A.
My quest to find a new chapter before deciding to finally dump these thieves and B. There are a lot of things that all of us do in our personal life that is completely inappropriate in the workplace. Perfect example; write an angry alcohol fueled rant blog about everything that pisses you off in life. That is something that needs to be separated from your work life. I have an entire rant about the stupidity of Facebook and an even angrier rant about Twitter.
The average literary content on Twitter makes facebook look like the deans list at Harvard. BNI has reduced what is an acquired art to a Billy Mays infomercial.
BNI is to networking what krystal burgers are to cuisine. In my case, as I have a business for which finding referrals is easy, I quickly earned back the annual membership fee, although if you calculate in the time investment, membership may not be profitable. However, some of us have noticed that even for the easy-to-recommend professions, almost all sales closed are for services directly purchased by other members of the group, rather than outside referrals.
This goes against the concept of BNI, in which we are a sales team for the group, rather than selling TO the group. And I fear that some of these internal sales are a result of the pressure to achieve recommendations: If this is true, it makes membership considerably more expensive.
Is this not borderline ilegal? What do the Exec Dir and Dir get exactly? I do know that some people love BNI and are dying to get in though not anyone I contacted. They are at odds with each other. BNI teaches you to get to know your fellow members over time so you can trust them and feel comfortable passing them a referral.
After all, it is your reputation on the line. Its kinda like drinking half a bottle of Absinthe in a sitting: To be sure, there are some really genuine people there who are extraordinarily supportive of you and your business, and for that, I am grateful.
I have gone from suspicious to livid to disgusted. I thank you for your website in which I have been able to vent my frustrations, and really appreciate the great laughs as I feel increasingly down about being involved with this organization. Soon, I will cut my losses…. Please do yourself a favor, quit now. Quit in a blaze of glory. Quit and tell as many members of that organization the truth why you are quitting. BNI is wasting valuable that could be better spent on more effective sales channels.
Tell them straight and leave. Thank the handful of people in your group that are worth a damn and bail. Grumpy Nerd, you are so right. Because most signed on for only one year and that time is almost up, and they know that they are going to lose a lot more people.
Well, stupid is as stupid does. Thanks again for the great, and frank, feedback that confirmed my initial suspicions. You are doing a great service. Thanks for your blog! I am a real estate lawyer who has been in my local chapter for 3 years, joining as soon as I opened my own shingle. Initally, it was good for me. The real estate same one the while time sent me a bunch of referals. Now she works with sellers and sends me nothing. Mortgage person does not send me s—t even though I know she is slammed.
Meeting is so long and too strucutred. Hey Jack, thanks for reading. One of the things that sticks in my craw regarding BNI is their religious blame overtone. Like the church I attended as a youth BNI puts itself above criticism. I remain convinced that real networking is done informally between people that like each other. Once you gain the trust of someone you do business with and once they like you they will introduce you to their other associates. This concept of structured forced networking that BNI mandates is absurd.
There are probably a handful of people that BNI works well for. Good follow up comments to mine, Grumpy Nerd. YOu are right that many of the referrals are worthless or bogus. The one exception was when the real estate agent was sending me closings with ratified contratcs.
You are also right about the religious overtones. You are made to think Ivan Misner is like the Catholic Pope and is speaking with infallibility of the Holy Spirit when he says anything. Think people, I am finally starting to. I just have to plan my exit. I have only been a member a short time 8 weeks and every week I sit in disbelief at the brain-washing mentality.
I am cynical and sarcastic by nature. When I stood up and told my chapter that I read Givers Gain and found it very insightful into the whole BNI story-I saw my mentor sitting across the room grinning from ear to ear. I find myself dreading every weekly meeting and even though I have already made the money invested in return, it is complete waste of my time. As soon as we sat down and the whole BNI is wonderful sales pitch came out, I just felt like this was a cult recruiting for human sacrifices.
I looked at the price for a years membership and wondered how I would break even, let alone make a profit from the poor quality referrals I would surely receive. There were two competitors from my industry at the meeting as prospective members and the leadership tried to play us off against each other to gain a signup from one of us.
But the funniest thing for me was when the guy controlling the meeting got people to start filling out the membership forms and everyone apart from me just picked up a pen and started as if they were actually going to join. I could not believe that these people had actually bought into it and had become sheep in such a short space of time.
Yup, a lot of ugly people in the early morning is way too much to take. But all kidding aside…what can one learn about someone in the 60 second commercials? Nothing other than what they do. Are they reliable, honest, what are their ethics…no one cares…as long as referrals are passed. My spouse in the last 2 weeks referred four members to valued business associates. Now HE looks like the ass…geez, what the heck did you refer these idiots for?
YUP, real proud I could refer these losers to you. Each week I would create a new second commercial and present it with enthusiasm in the hopes that I would get referrals, but each week I was further disappointed.
The lawyer, real estate agent and several home improvement business owners plumber, electrician, floor guy, etc. He then went on and on about how much business he had gotten through BNI. At the time I thought it would pay off. If anyone has figured out how to do it, please let us all know! Fictional Bullshit - the referral was simply fabricated.
Thanks for the feedback, Grumpy. Like any dysfunctional group, the BNI mucky-mucks made me feel as though there was something wrong with ME! Classic writing and great points. As someone that runs and reads blogs a lot I found the lack of the usual crass or moronic comments aside from my fellow wood toothed un-schooled Brit compatriot very telling.
The fact that people are pretty even keeled about their BNI experience speaks volumes to the veracity of it what you and they say are saying. Once there I soon cottoned on to the weirdness of it all - having had a relative marry into the JWs it was all too familiar.
That reference alone will bring you all kinds of sinister new traffic! Problem is that a keen radar gets well honed over the years and you know if only you trusted that first impression….
Now apart from this keen BS radar, I also have the vice of punctuality to the point where I am always stupid early to be on time. I should have realised something was up when I arrived at 6. The hubbub down the hall should have been the giveaway. I ventured along and stuck my head around the door and there was like 20 people there already. I laughed but no one else did.
The previous commenter mentioned the sudden rush for the breakfast table. Then the really odd bit struck me. Yet almost all of the script that the meeting chairman was reading out was directed at the benefits of joining. I looked around and saw many dead and trancelike faces, most of them chomping away at caterers packs of Kelloggs or drinking powdered orange juice. Then came those strange pitches by nervous mumblers reading printed out speeches like reluctant best men at a wedding.
Or did I imagine it? The next one did too. Then then next guy had a catchphrase - and everyone mumbled the punchline together whilst spitting Rice Krispies. Others meanwhile scoffed a disgusting breakfast of overcooked crap on a plate clearly not listening why would they? Finally at the end it seemed there would be time for a chat with the two or three people present who probably could provide useful referrals but no, us visitors were not allowed to participate in that.
Really this was supposed to be the sales pitch, the hard sell, but my mob were not hot on that. Well ,partly, but the truth is that these people had kept me for so long that I suddenly realised my parking permit had expired 5 mins ago and I did not want to get a ticket just to be polite to these characters. Yes, sorry I left so abruptly, I erm ah um… Yes of course take my credit card details.
Enjoyed the comments since I last logged in. Not surprised to know that BNI sux just as bad on the other side of the pond. I left BNI and joined a small local networking group. It is very similar to the BNI meeting, but it does not do about a half-hour of the pontificaitng that you do at a BNI meeting.
I had to give my 10 minute presentation at our chapter this past week. I had referred one of my staff and I was letting them know how happy my staff-member was with their services. This person then proceeded to tell me they tried to call me yesterday to see if I wanted to give one of their products as a door prize that day.
I said oh, I never got the message. What a greedy piece of crap whose business practices leave little to be desired..
Just got invited to a London BMI open morning and found this thread via Google after going through about 10 pages of various chapters. The whole thing doesnt feel right, just getting a random phone call and an invite by MAIL only, they dont appear to trust the internet.
Having read all this i am actually pretty tempted to go along and just see WTF all these people are on purely for entertainment value. There might even be an article in it i freelance. I understand your frustration. I am a lawyer and i only practice in 4 areas, mostly real estate closing. I want closings from the realtor and the mortgage person. They have not sent me crap recently which is why I am leaving. Like child custody and criminal. Have you been listening to my infomercial?
It is funny you say what you did. I had gotten these strange letters before. We had to send letters to 5 people or else. No one is going to respond to a stupid chain letter. Anyway, have fun and be ready to be recurited. The second was this morning when I was asked to attend by one of my clients. Considering we have a sizeable contract currently in negotiation I thought it would be prudent to attend and not risk offending them just as we are about to close the deal.
A number of things struck me as odd. I saw virtually no referrals from outside the group….. BNI has customers not members. Unlike a golf or service club, members of BNI have no equity in the organisation. They have no say in the rules or structure….. YOu only wasted 3 hours of your life instead part of 3 years. Jack that second article was good!
I had no idea just how many people felt taken advantage up by BNI until I posted this article. Thanks for your blog as a place to vent!
Thanks to your blog, we are able to spread the word about this evil organization. I have at times seen all that was reported, and I have also seen it all happen very differently — all in the same chapter at different times. Our chapter is what WE make it be. One surprize I have had is how much of this can actually be helped by an active education coordinator and by an active membership committee that truly reviews how folks are doing each month.
Small nudges made at the right time can keep the bad trends away, but this may not be happening effectively in many chapters. The big BNI organization well, just oru area director did step in at one point and give us a good slap in the face and kick in the pants.
The catch was that we really needed these pushes and I am thankful to the area director for the wake-up calls — they made our group much more effective. So why would I be using your points? Because they have alot of validity and I want to review where we stand this week with respect to them.
Simply pointing them out will do much to cut down on their frequency. I think we are OK overall but there are some places where frank comments are needed.
So dear readers, what to take away? What Grumpy Nerd reports can and does happen, but it does not have to happen and it does not always happen. It depends on the chapter. Here is one stat I love and it is available in almost every VP report in every meeting: That is a reality check. If you are in a chapter where these bad trends are happening, then step in and halt them.
The chapter is what YOU make it be and you do not need to be a senior officer to cause changes. Think of it as protecting your investment. It is your chapter, make it work. By the way, she manages a home products store that supplies products to the home improvement people. I have been on a writing binge. Here is one more.
I must have hit a nerve. Hahaha, you said everything I had in mind, thank you! Everybody has to act the same way in this system. Great stuff, I was bombed out for missing six meetings in a 4 month period, thank the lord for that. BNI is a complete waste of money.
My Chapter in the UK comprised the usual small smll town butcher, baker, candlestick maker. I received no referals for my meeting room and office space brokerage and was criticised for not passing on referrals when I had none to give.
If you want more punishment sign up to Ivan Misners Twitter account - Jeez, an endless stream of cod psychology and prattle. BNI is a complete and utter waste of time and money. We got tons of referrals in BNI. Exactly one of them was worth a shit and let me tell you how that got fucked up. I like to reward people for passing sales leads to us. So I struck a deal with the member who passed the lead that he would bill the client for the work we were going to do.
Great it was all worked out. We submitted our proposal to the BNI chapter member who was in turn going to submit it to his client. Which of course put our cost way out of the market. The rest were utter and complete fiction to make the member quota. As a regional manager in a large city my former employer would pay for any networking group as long as it made sense.
I figured man this guy is a legend in the military and doubted he would remember me as we had only met once or twice. I walked up to MG to introduce myself and told him I remembered him from our unit. His comments are ones that I will never forget as long as I live.
So are you completing the application or not? In all my years I have never been disrespected by another military member until that day. I knew then and there that they only gave a crap about money and nothing else. Every single RSM in the company joined and came to the same conclusion: I must differ with you. The problem is that winners to losers in our chapter my estimate were 20 to 1. So for every 1 person that did a good business in BNI 19 others wasted their time.
The pitch and show to new members was that a lot of business was transacted via referrals during the meeting. How would they know that most of those referrals passed were pure fiction.
Why would this blog get so much anti-BNI traffic? Because while there are a small percentage of BNI winners by and large it would seem that the majority of people that sign up for BNI waste their time and their money.
I went twice to BNI and decided not to join. I felt the only ones to benefit were the folk selling stuff that ever business uses. Printer paper, ink etc. Also I was unhappy with the simple formula one member of each profession.
This does not give a true breakdown of businesses in your area. I also felt that in a time like now in a recession, to spend 3 hours a week and pay through the nose for it was just not cost effective for me, a sole trader selling my own time as a database developer.
I am a bit short of the hours I want but its only 7 0r 8 hours a week short. If your looking for business try the chamber of commerce in your area, or some sort of non cult network organisation. Non-cult, well put Glasgow! That is exactly what BNI is. You definitely need to be in your chamber. I am in 2 groups, PNC and a local group. BNI was preventing me from getting out to change my business from closings to foreclosure defense.
I am getting with the people I need to be successful. It will take months for me to transition my business, but I will make it work without wasting 4 hours a week in BNI related things. Jack, are you running any ads on the Internet? What you are doing sounds like a good idea. How much does that cost?
Are you making good money with this blog? I am getting pennies, literally, writing what I have. I am patient, confident that my writing on anti-BNI and other topics will pay off eventually. I post my articles through triond. He did quite a bit of work for that money. What I was talking about is using Google advertising for your legal practice. Size of the city you practice in. How sophisticated your competitors are etc. Try it for a month to see if it works for your business. If it does great.
You also have to have a running website for your business and an easy way for people to get in contact with you from the website. What to avoid buying at warehouse stores Cheapism. Jobs that might not exist in 50 years Stacker. Famous landmarks that could have looked much different Lovemoney. How can we improve?
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