I attended Visitor Day today at the Red Hot Referrals chapter of Business Network International (BNI). This is my review of the experience.
What is "Red Hot Referrals"? It is the White Bear Lake, MN chapter of an international real-world network of business professionals, called BNI. Similar to a chamber of commerce, members give each other business referrals.
What sets BNI apart from a chamber of commerce is that each chapter allows a maximum of one member from each type of business. For example, there is only one lawn care specialist in the Red Hot Referrals chapter, based in White Bear Lake. This creates an atmosphere of "preferred referrals" within the chapter and "locks out" the competition. If you join BNI, you will never see a "rival" company in your chapter. This lets you breathe easy and just be yourself. And trade lucrative business referrals with other members.
Pretty smart, right?
It costs about $400 a year to be a member of BNI. You have to attend meetings about once a week. "It's not netsitting, it's not neteating, it's networking," as they say.
The benefits of the organization became obvious to me when I attended Visitor Day today. Many long-time members attested to the effectiveness of the organization. Some members said they get as much as 70% of their business from Red Hot Referrals alone.
Everyone seemed to me very real, very genuine. I detected little to no bullshit whatsoever.
Those at RHR who I spoke with, please feel free to get in touch with me via http://willconley.extendr.com. Also: Comment right here freely.
Those who are not in BNI: Consider joining. It's awesome. And comment here freely.
I hope you enjoy the review.