When I was just starting out as a holistic health counselor, I needed to attract clients and fill my practice. Once I learned about BNI (Business Networking International), I joined a chapter. My first practice filled up quickly through this remarkable networking group. To find clients, I offered people a free health assessment which worked really well.
If I was going to start all over today, I would do the same thing again. The great thing about BNI is they offer exclusivity based on your business type. So, for me, there was only one holistic health counselor. Or for business types with many specific areas like the law, there might be a few attorneys with different niches like divorce, trust, real estate, etc. This way, every member is without competition within your own group.
5 Steps to Choose the Right BNI Group
So how do you know which chapter will be right for you? Being a member of this internationally known business group requires a significant commitment of your time and money. That’s why you want to pick a good group to attract clients. To make this important decision, here’s what I recommend:
1. Look up the BNI chapters near you. Some cities have more than one group, which is great.
2. Go visit several groups – there is no charge until you make the commitment. See which group feels right to you, who is friendly and welcoming. Each group has its own personality.
3. Find out how long the chapter has been around and if it is well run. You don’t want to pick a chapter that might be struggling.
4. Determine if there are a few people who serve the same target group as you do since they’d be good referral sources. For example, I looked for other health-related professionals such as chiropractors, fitness trainers, and acupuncturists.
5. Check with your local group to see if you can visit the groups you like for a second time. Several groups allow this to help you choose the best group for you. You may be available to visit a group twice before joining.
Another great aspect of BNI is that once you become a member, you can still visit other chapters. They encourage this because the more people you know, the more potential referral sources you can have. If you find other groups without someone in your profession, you can become a substitute there, which allows you to sit in occasionally for a member who can’t make a meeting. Just be careful not to step on any toes or compete directly with someone in the same business.
Your Client Attraction Assignment
Are you ready to fill your practice? BNI is one great networking resource. Check out which chapter feels right and join. Then work on your 30-second pitch so you can get referrals from members and attract clients.