How to Get Clients with BNI

I’m about to share a secret that will totally turn your business around . .

After being in BNI for over 8 years, being a BNI ambassador for quite a while during that time and having coached an Executive Director through building his region, I’ve learned a few things about actually filling a BNI chapter with members and getting lots of clients from BNI.o

I have heard many people in BNI say that they struggle to bring visitors, or can’t find visitors. Well, here’s a how to regularly bring LOTS of visitors to each BNI Meeting and will change your business because it’ll also bring you lots of people interested in your business. When I was doing this, an hour or two of calling resulted in 20 to 30 visitors on a regular basis, and many became my clients because my focus was on helping them get what they want.

Here’s a step by step process I used where I brought 20 to 30+ visitors, and most of them became my clients.The key to your success in doing this, and, frankly the success for your business is this quote from Zig Ziglar

Find enough people to help them get what they want, and you’ll have everything you ever wanted out of life.

It’s very important to understand that you are here to help everyone you touch to get what they want, and ultimately you will get from them what you want, friends, a great income, by:

  • Helping people get what THEY want
  • Finding enough of them
  • Understanding what THEY want.

It’s NOT About You, It’s About What THEY Want

Whether you are trying to get visitors to BNI, or whether you are trying to get clients directly to you, please notice that none of these points are about what you do, nor what BNI does. This is about getting their attention based on what THEY WANT, not about what YOU SELL. As you get to know them they will discover they very likely will want what you sell. Putting the horse before the cart frequently results in losing the horse.

This is the way really effective marketing works, so don’t try to go into an explanation of you, who you are, or what you do.

Let’s try to get some visitors to BNI as an example.

First, who is the IDEAL customer?

Actually those who join LinkedIn do so to get

  • effective networking that delivers lots of referrals and customers
  • clients/customers
  • increased sales

They are looking for what BNI provides.  A perfect match. They should respond nicely to you bringing them to a BNI meeting. But remember when you contact them, it’s not about BNI, it’s about them and what they want.

OK, so what are the steps.

  1. You can start with one of two targets. Either what are the empty seats in BNI, or who is your ideal target market, and maybe they overlap.
  2. Use the advanced search on LinkedIn to search for the ideal target (for the BNI seat or your business) by putting that into the keyword block, and choosing either your zip code, or the zip code where the BNI Meeting is and a radius that fits with the range your BNI targets. Frequently that will give you a really big list, and either just grab those on top, or even better, narrow your radius to get fewer even closer.
  3. How many do you want? I wanted 20+ most times, therefore I’d pull a list of 30 or so, but when you follow the steps below you’ll learn how to get almost everyone you call to come. Imagine! Once you learn how to do this for BNI visitors not only will many of those want your products/services, but now you can apply the same principle to directly get clients. It works exactly the same way.
  4. Are there some from this list that would be even more ideal? Then select them.

What Do You Say When You Call Them That HOOKS Them?

BNI has some guidelines for what to say about BNI. But what BNI says is about BNI. My rules above are about making it about the person you call and what they want. So let’s develop what you say that does exactly what the person you are calling wants.

Let’s think about this. If you call a carpet cleaner, what does he want?

Someone interested in cleaning their carpets, right? He also wants more clients for that, referrals to more clients for that, more business, more dollars. So let’s keep the focus there and not on BNI or you, at least until we get them to BNI.

We’ll have time to talk about BNI and our own business at the BNI meeting.

So, here’s how I would make the call to a Carpet Cleaner.

“Hi, Jim. We’ve been looking for the right carpet cleaner for quite some time,  and tripped over you on LinkedIn.

(NOTE: This is true, we are looking for a carpet cleaner for a BNI seat. Now, do you know anyone who wouldn’t want to get this call? It doesn’t sound like the typical sales call that starts out to explain about us, or BNI. It gets them excited about this call from the beginning.)

“We are looking for just the right carpet cleaner. Can you tell me about what you do?

(He’ll likely tell you about him for 5 or 10 minutes. That’s great. Let him talk, and even ask questions about his business . . . Show interest. Remember this is about HIM.

Notice that at no time was I talking about me or BNI, I was asking about him and his business.)

“Oh, by the way, being that we are both on LinkedIn, how’s that working for you.

(Most times they’ll either give you a b.s. answer that’s rather vague, or simply admit that they haven’t gotten anything from it. OPPORTUNITY!!!!)

“The reason I called was that we have a group of top CEO’s and Business owners in Kansas City who have been looking for the right carpet cleaner, someone who does really good work, and will represent our group well. We have only one spot for a carpet cleaner, and we’ll share clients back and forth. We just want to make sure that you can handle what we hand off, and do it well.

“Those who work with us typically get about 90% of their business from this group in a few months.

“By the way, from what you told me about your business, I’d like to introduce you to them on Tuesday at 11:00 for a luncheon meeting. Are you interested?

There are very few who won’t accept and show up with bells on.

Just imagine if everyone in the chapter started doing this. Let’s say that every member of a chapter shoots for bringing 5 to 10, and that is REALLY easy. I was bringing 20 to 30. In any case a chapter of 20 would then be bringing over 100 visitors each time.

Our chapter was upwards of 80 visitors or so for some time and for visitors days over 120.

Now, once you start doing this for BNI several things happen to your business. One is that I was getting between over 20% of those I brought who would take some form of next step hiring me.

The other is that once you understand the principle that it’s about them and not about you, your products/services, your processes, your company, that you can make these calls for your own business and have them lined up outside your door.  It’s better than the proverbial sliced bread.

When I was doing this my record was about 35, but one day my daughter called me to tell me that she needed help with the business she was starting. I told her to find a BNI chapter in her area. It turns out that all of the BNI chapters had web developers. So I gave her the instructions above and she started her first BNI chapter with 60 people that she had personally brought to that first meeting. This does work.

Another is that you can use these principles while networking anywhere, making it about them, and you’ll walk out of any networking with people interested, at least if your ideal target market is at the networking event, or someone who could refer you to them.

Later, in another blog post, I’ll show you how to get 10 to 15 calls a week from LinkedIn.

Alan Boyer

Helping business owners reach another $100K to $1M within months and to stop thinking small when attracting new clients

Author of the upcoming book “Secrets to $100K+ Coaching/Consulting Business”

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