Insights on BNI

You Invited a Visitor to Your BNI Meeting, Now What?

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As you know, visitors are the lifeblood of BNI. Natural attrition means 20% of members leave due to factors outside of the chapter’s control. Visitors provide the possibility of new members to maintain and grow the chapter. 

On average, visitors spend $1,000 on members’ services in a chapter, even if they don’t join, and they can add interest and energy to the meeting.

The Visitor Process

Once you meet someone who has the right attitude, ask them, using your version of something along these lines: 

“I’m part of a local business networking group, and I think you’d enjoy coming to the meeting. Can I invite you to next week’s meeting?” 

If they are interested, invite them to the meeting using BNI Connect App. If you invite them, they will still need to RSVP and register. You may want to consider using the registration link instead.

From here, the primary care of your visitor passes to the Visitor Hosts and the visitor process that the chapter has established.

The chapter’s Visitor Process ensures that visitors receive a consistently positive experience. It should also identify if they have further interest in applying to join and, if so, what is the next step.

The process starts following registration with an automated email to your visitor telling them when and where to come to the meeting. Following registration, visitors will receive two automated email reminders.

Ideally, one of the visitor hosts will also call them the day before the meeting to let them know everyone is looking forward to meeting them and ensure they know what to expect on the day of their visit. 

When we meet in person: On the day of the meeting, the visitor hosts will be set up by the door of the venue to welcome the members and visitors. Ideally, they will sign the visitors in, give them a name badge, take their business cards, help them order their breakfast and coffee, collect any fee payable, find them a seat to place their belongings, and introduce them to a member who will look after them until the meeting starts. All chapter members are visitor hosts from here on, and in fact, they should want to meet as many visitors as possible.

While we are meeting online, the President (or whoever is facilitating the Zoom session) could start the meeting with members doing 1-to-1’s in breakout rooms and have the visitors join visitor hosts who can welcome them to the meeting. 

During the meeting, the President will guide visitors as to how they participate in the weekly presentations part of the meeting and explain how they can contribute to the referrals and testimonials section.

At the end of the meeting, the visitor hosts will make sure each visitor gives their feedback about their intentions around applying for membership, so they don’t leave the meeting not knowing what the next steps are. The visitor process will work out if they are suitable applicants (if they even want to apply), and then the application process will ensure they are a good fit before the chapter accepts them.

After the meeting, the visitor hosts will contact visitors who have further interest in applying.

Summary

Once a visitor is registered, the responsibility for the visitor passes from the invitee to the chapter.

Once they are at a meeting, everyone in the chapter is responsible for making sure the visitor is welcomed and looked after. The visitor hosts have extra responsibilities before, during, and after the meeting, especially ensuring that the chapter and visitor understand the visitor’s intentions and any next steps they want to take.

Visitors don’t know our rules or processes, so it’s up to the President and the chapter to help them understand what is happening in the meeting and what they need to do.

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