Submitted by Cassandra Franklin, Better Business Boosters, Wenatchee, Washington
We opened our franchise three years ago and were given a lot of networking advice. Much of it involved cold calling dealerships, real estate agents and other businesses. It was uncomfortable, I was treated like dirt, or I would end up doing jobs that had no profit to them to try and keep an account. We visited a BNI chapter the first year, but did not make our move. Huge mistake. After a year and a half of struggling, I visited all three BNI chapters in our area. I ended up joining the Better Business Boosters, because they seemed to follow the BNI processes the closest.
I went to the Member Success Program twice in six months, and have completed many networking exercises. I regularly read Dr. Misner’s books and blog posts. It all just makes since I was doing everything wrong when networking before BNI. I was out there trying to convince people to do for me without any kind of relationship or trust. Now if I cold call someone, I leave with a friend and life-long customers. The amount of business that has come from BNI has substantially changed my business. The word-of-mouth from my chapter has traveled to ofther BNI groups, and they refer me now.
I brought all of this back to my franchise at our last reunion, and corporate is recommending to the rest of our franchisees to join and participate in BNI in their own areas. They all believed before that it took too much time to get any reward out of BNI. I spent way more money and time doing something I hated cold calling before. Now I have the privilege of spending time each week at a chapter meeting and conducting One-to-Ones. It does take effort to keep the group interesting, and bring visitors in but I find it to be fun and exciting.