I am, Trevor Parrett, the Managing Director of PDS Digital Ltd and have been a member of BNI for nearly 5 years now. Why? Because it works.
I took myself along to Southend BNI and was very pleasantly surprised at how warmly I was received and how professional the meeting was
Like a lot of people I had previously heard that BNI is “just a breakfast club for people with nothing better to do”. That it was all very American with people clapping each other all the time! This just is not true. If you spoke to my wife and daughters they would tell you that I am the least “American” and “happy-clappy” person around. The point is I don’t listen to gossip or opinions, I make my own decisions and prefer to go and see for myself. Therefore I took myself along to Southend BNI and was very pleasantly surprised at how warmly I was received and how professional the meeting was, with just the right amount of social chat and humour combined with some good business.
Southend BNI has always had the right core people in the group who ARE there for business, but also appreciate you have to have some fun to get up at 5.30am (particularly in the winter). The Southend Group in Essex not only has this but has become known for this. We now have a reputation for, particularly enjoyable meetings. We have also passed £2.6 million worth of business to our members. Not bad eh?
The Real Value of BNI For PDS
PDS did very well from the start. The Printing Company seat is usually a very good one but you still have to be a good business with a great level of service and quality to succeed. My philosophy has always been to offer the highest of service and therefore PDS has a reputation of never being out-serviced in the Printing Industry. If it is possible and can be done, we will do it. The joy of a BNI group is that you get the opportunity to speak to the group at every meeting and you can mention various products and services to the team who are now your prospects, customers and becoming friends. They hear your philosophies and once they are confident in you, they will give you a try.
From year one, we have received a huge return on investment. We have even seen single referrals alone in the thousands! So this £23 investment a week is the best Marketing Money we spend on our business.
Once you begin to win some business, you prioritise this group of people (your new customers) too and make sure you do the best job possible. Why? Because you want your reputation to grow, you want the members to come back for more business and you want them to recommend you to all their contacts too. You also know you are going to see them every week which is an extra motivation to do a fantastic job for them. This way, they sing your praises to the group at the meetings following the business you have done and to their contacts and clients. Your BNI success story begins there and your reputation goes further and further afield every week.
Aside from thoroughly enjoying the meetings, the value from BNI for PDS is in the return from the membership costs. BNI costs around the £1000 to be a member every year. From year one, we have received a huge return on this investment. With a few good referrals out of the group to member’s clients (external referrals). We have even seen single referrals alone in the thousands! So this £23 investment a week is the best Marketing Money we spend on our business. PDS is all about high value and a great return on investment so this perfectly reflects our philosophy too. As a member of BNI you get to lock out your competition from the group, so you have the members and their contacts to yourself. Again, this grows and grows as time goes by and as you do more business with the members and their contacts.
The side of BNI membership that is often overlooked is the value of having great suppliers too! Yes, you will join BNI to win more business and if you are a good business and look after your customers, you WILL win more business. However, you also have every other good member around the table doing the sort of business that you need too. These people will also prioritise what they do for you as they are going to see you every week and because they want you to recommend them. Therefore you end up building a fantastic network of suppliers.
You not only become known for the business you do outside of your BNI group, but you become known as a good trustworthy person to talk to for contacts in other industries. This is great in several ways, not least that it keeps a regular dialogue between you and your clients, even when they are not necessarily in need of your services at this time.
Can BNI Be of Value To You?
There is no doubt that if you are a member of a good BNI group then it adds value to your business. You win more business, your reputation grows throughout your town and you become known by all the members in your group and all their contacts as THE go-to person to engage in your field. No matter what business you are in. Seek out your local BNI groups. If you haven’t been locked out by someone else in your profession, get yourself along there. As a guest, you get to network before and after the meeting and you get a 60-second presentation to the members and guests of the group. Exploit it, find out what the members and guests think of the group and particularly your possible role within it and then go for it ….. You never know, like SO many businesses before you and like PDS Digital Ltd, you might just find that BNI is the best Marketing Money you have ever spent.
If you are Southend based or live in the towns around Southend, have a look at our website and see if your seat is free. We would love to see you for a chat over a great breakfast at The Arlington Rooms on any Friday morning at 6.30am. Contact us and book your spot at one of our legendary meetings.