BNI Sterling: What To Expect When You Visit A Meeting
We're a friendly, diverse bunch ...
Posted by Steffi Lewis on 07/07/2022 @ 8:00AM
Many people see BNI as a stuffy network of old men in suits, but the truth is far from that. At BNI Sterling, we have a mix of business owners from organisations large and small as well as a healthy balance of male and female members of all ages and from a wide variety of industries ...
The one thing we all have in common is that we want to build trust with our peers, grow our businesses and support each other whenever we can. We're not just out for ourselves as you'll find in non-BNI networking groups, we instil a group culture where the rest of us are your sales team and, by extension, BNI Sterling is your best customer.
"So, what can you expect when you come to a meeting?"
BNI Sterling meetings are at lunchtime on a Thursday. Park up around 11:20am, head in through the front door of the Old Northamptonians then go up the stairs. You'll be greeted at our welcome desk and as we're a covid safe group, we'll take your temperature. Although we don't insist on it, if you feel more comfortable wearing a mask then no one will judge you either way.
We have open networking to start and a visitor will never be left alone. The person who invited you can introduce you around and as we're a friendly bunch, you won't be lacking for conversation from the moment you walk in.
Tea and coffee flow freely so if you want a drink, just go help yourself and food is put out for you to grab then go and sit down and enjoy it. We usually have a selection of sandwiches as well as hot food that caters for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. If you have any special dietary requirements, just let us know when you book on to the meeting and we will accommodate you.
At 12 noon precisely, our president, currently Kirsty Parris, opens the meeting and we have a slide deck to run through to ensure we finish on time. Once all the members have done their 60-seconds introduction and providing you don't compete with one of our members, you'll be offered the opportunity to tell us all about your business too.
Our 60-seconds intros are not direct sales pitches, rather they're along the lines of, "today I'm looking for warm introductions to ..." and the more specific you can get the better. You never know, if you ask for a particular person at a specific company then someone in the room may already know them.
We then have a 10-minute talk from one of our members who'll tell you all about their business, or their career or an amazing hobby. Well, the choice is there because the 10-minute presentation is about getting to know them better so whatever is important to them is what they're allowed to talk about.
How easy would it be to start a conversation with a stock-car driving electrician? It's very easy to break the ice with our members when you know more about who they are. It's even easier to refer them if you know what they do.
And finally, for each meeting, we have the positive contributions section. President Kirsty asks each member to announce what referrals, testimonials or visitors they brought to the meeting. If someone has 3 positive contributions, then they get a round of applause. If they have 5 positive contributions for that meeting then they get a standing ovation.
We run a traffic light system in BNI Sterling so all the positive contributions you make each week count towards your stats and encourage you to move from grey (normally when you first join) to green. Our president Kirsty leads by example by always being in the green, mostly at the top of our scoreboard.
"BNI Sterling is a regular commitment!"
You should attend each week or send a substitute if you can't make it, and always be on the lookout for possible referrals to other members in the group. You need to have regular one-to-one meetings with other members and if someone does a great job for you or people you have referred to them, then do a testimonial for them in the positive contributions section.
Ok, that sounds like a lot of hard work, doesn't it? Well, maybe, but remember that all of the members of BNI Sterling are your sales team, so if you find new business for them, then they are encouraged to do the same for you too.
And if you think that networking is difficult then don't worry. Our parent BNI organisation runs many training courses, hosts workshops and publishes podcasts. As for BNI Sterling, we have this blog to publish information about members and other networking ideas as well as run our own workshops and have social get-togethers.
Personally, I love BNI and I'm glad that I joined. I have got business from it and I've made some good friends along the way too. I started as a substitute and eventually came along as a member myself.
I highly recommend you visit BNI Sterling soon!
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07490 373980 and let's see how I can help you.
Developer, blogger, photographer, videographer, foodie, cat lover, sci-fi nut, cancer survivor, countryside dweller, and creator of The SLO Personal Contact Manager.
I've also worked as a professional photographer in Los Angeles, USA and been a Vision Mixer and Producer for live television in my time.
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