Farnborough Jets BNI
How does it work?
BNI works through a referral system. You join a group, attend the regular meetings, and over the course of the weeks and months you find referrals for other people while they keep an eye out for referrals for you.
A referral is a chance to do business, not a guarantee of billable work. What’s important is that the referral should be “warmed up” – that is, the person whose details you have been given is expecting your call. BNI is not a cold-call organisation. You should not have to make any cold calls during your time as a member.
What’s unique about the system – or the biggest element of it – is that only one person from each profession is allowed to join a group. So if an accountant gets into a BNI group, then no other accountants can join in at those meetings.
What happens in the meetings?
From my experience, they work one of two ways. Most BNI groups meet early doors – 6.45am for a 7am start. You will always be finished by 8.30am, allowing you to carry on about your business. It seems early, but once you get in the habit of going – and if the referrals keep coming – then it’s really not so much of a chore, and it’s very similar to a lot of other networking organisations out there.
Some groups, it has to be said, meet later than that – 9.30am, or even lunchtime – although these are few and far between at the minute.
There is open networking – a chance to catch up with fellow members and visitors – a formal meeting where referrals are passed and general BNI business is taken care of, and a breakfast element either before or after the meeting. There’s always plenty of coffee, understandably.