Having been a member of BNI Hammersmith for a number of years now, I regularly evaluate the benefits of belonging to such a network group. The ongoing commitment is not to be underestimated – 6.30AM arrive every Friday in my case (or finding someone to “sub” for me if unable to attend) and generating “referrals” for other members within the chapter.
Passing night buses in the other direction early on Friday morning does make me doubt my own sanity on occasions and after a late night on Thursday it can be really tough, especially now the clocks have changed and darkness prevails.
But I’m so fortunate that BNI Hammersmith is located within close proximity of PrintHouse Corporation in Park Royal/Acton and is a thriving BNI group approaching 40 x professions
NB only one profession (i.e. litho printer) per chapter – this is the fixed rule.
Regular business is generated most months, by asking for and being recommended into organisations that I wish to establish contact. The key is to be specific: far better to say “I’d love to be introduced to the Marketing Director of Innocent Drinks” than “I’d like to print the Brochure for every company in West London (even if the latter may be equally true).
As a direct result of my BNI membership PrintHouse now print for not only a large proportion of people within the chapter, but also external contacts who have become regular clients. As others say to me, it is like having an extended sales team working on your behalf.
Are there specific reasons why BNI has proved successful for PrintHouse? The following may offer a partial explanation:
- We offer full FSC/PEFC environmental accreditation and take our environmental commitment very seriously
- I set time aside each week to work on quality referrals for other members – it’s true that “givers do gain”
- PrintHouse offer a broad range of litho printing services from a single London operation
- We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and advice offered – this is critical, as in many cases BNI members are recommending their own clients to me
Aside from the main reason why most people attend (to grow their business), in my case long-term friendships have been made that extend far beyond working parameters and there’s always a broad/expert knowledgebase on hand if ever I need it …
Does networking “work” for PrintHouse – in a nutshell, YES.
I don’t give testimonials lightly, but your prospects should know how outstanding your work & service has been
— Duncan Richardson, MD, Jdi (BNI Hammersmith member for 10 years)