Insights on BNI

The ABC (and D) of Who to Invite to a Networking Meeting

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A steady stream of visitors is necessary to keep a chapter healthy and growing. But we don’t need to invite visitors just for chapter growth. Whether they join or not, visitors contribute to your growing network of business partners, potential referrers, and even new customers.

On average, visitors spend $1,000 each on the services provided by BNI members and add interest and energy to the meeting.

So, who should you invite to the meeting?

It’s just a matter of A, B, C, and D.

A = Attitude: If you are thinking of inviting someone to the meeting, the first and almost the only consideration is the potential visitor’s attitude. Do they seem like they would enjoy the vibe of the meeting? If the answer is YES, then invite them. After all, who wants to ask a party pooper to the meeting?

Why is the visitor’s attitude almost the only consideration? If we recognize that visitors bring business (an average of $1k closed business each) and energy to the chapter meeting, anyone with a good attitude makes a good visitor. The only other consideration is that if the visitor is in a business (a visitor doesn’t have to be a businessperson), that doesn’t clash with an existing member’s business. And that doesn’t have to be an issue either if it is handled properly. Possibly the biggest myth about visitors is that they have to be potential members. They don’t. We have an application process to qualify if visitors would be good members once they apply. Just invite freely.

B = Business: Visitors bring business to the meeting, again an average of $1,000 each. In essence, our chapter meeting is like a grocery store; each of our businesses is an aisle in the store, and our weekly presentations let them know what they will find down the aisle. 

Visitors come to our store, see what we have to offer, and choose to buy something from our aisle. The more visitors we have to our “store” the more potential for sales we can make. So, when considering who to invite, think about people with a great attitude that might need to hear our offer rather than if we might want to give business to them. 

C = Clash: If a potential visitor has a business that could clash with an existing member’s business, that doesn’t mean we can’t invite them; we just need to be considerate before inviting them. 

Calling the potentially conflicting member is the right thing to do. The member may even want to give the prospective visitor a call to check if there is a clash. There may be no clash, or the member may still be comfortable that the prospective visitor comes along anyway so they can meet up. Who knows, they could become Power Partners.

D = Deliberate: Using the “ABC” formula of who to invite can open up our “store” to more shoppers. We can be more deliberate by inviting specific visitors to build up a particular business category, Contact Sphere, or Power Team, or bring in a client or a supplier to create a referral relationship for another member. 

Looking in your contacts to see who you already know in business, who you already buy from or sell to, and inviting them to create or further build a referral relationship is very smart. 

Inviting to build your power team is also brilliant. Invite the best of the best to join your team. 

Summary

It’s as simple as ABC to decide who to invite. It opens up who we can ask to enjoy our meeting with us without worrying if they might be potential members. Deliberate inviting to increase membership is a complementary strategy, but we still must consider if they have the right attitude for our chapter.

So, in the coming weeks, look around you and see who you know that would like to come and enjoy the meeting.

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