Networking = Confidence & Clarity
We were asked to write a guest blog for the BNI Westerham new website launch. Each month a member is going to write about their experience of BNI, why they got involved in a chapter and how it has helped their business.
Here is my experience thus far!
As a member of BNI for 3 years the main benefits for me and my company are being involved in a group local to ourselves; people you can relate to and see regularly. www.westerham-bni.co.uk
BNI has built Confidence! The thought of Networking in a room of 20-30 people at the beginning made me incredibly nervous as you are not used to talking about yourself or your business, but as time goes by the more you get used to it! With help and guidance from the group and training available you grow yourself and your business at the same time! I will always remember V+C=P which means visibility + credibility = profitability which really does work.
The “60 Second Slot” is the next daunting task..! It was a fumble at first but by listening to others each week talking about their businesses you start to get ideas, you break down and analyse your business – Who are we – What do we want to do – What is our Unique Selling Point – Who do want to do Business with? This is where we gained Clarity! We now know who we are and what we are trying to achieve so now we have to build on that to get there..
BNI is all about Givers Gain and the transparency of doing business with fellow members; this is what I really love about it. BNI makes you think about other members, their businesses and how you could help them grow too. If they give business to you then you will want to go out and get business for them! I now have a network from various marketplaces to draw upon when we need to; from plumbers & electricians to accountants, financial planners and acupuncture plus much more!
We have grown so much over the 3 years and have met and worked with some fantastic businesses. We have the confidence and clarity to go into the marketplace and deliver using our strengths and benefits to keep us going. When we started we were a small local decorating company working on small residential projects but with the help of BNI and fellow members we have grown into a bigger niche business in the Construction Industry working on new builds and renovations such as this one in Putney which came indirectly from a BNI referral! We were working on a project where we were recommended by a BNI member when another builder working in the same road came in and saw our work – we have worked on 3 projects for them this year alone! We now specialise in Spray Painting which we class as “the modern approach to decorating! We believe that the finish is far more superior to traditional decorating.
We have translated what we have learned into our marketing strategy too. Because I find networking so rewarding I now use Social Media Platforms to build online networks and link with other businesses I want to work with. We have a constant stream of content to use with updates on current projects plus focus on educating potential clients of the benefits of using PaintTech and this has really helped to get our brand out there! We use twitter for promoting ourselves on #kenthour #BNIhour and #surreyhour as well as using LinkedIn,Google+ and Facebook. We have also set up a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1439685999623969/) for fellow sprayers using our knowledge and systems to help others overcome problems we faced when we started!
The referral round is always and interesting point in the meeting, here you can see who has done business with who and for how much. You have the confidence to recommend members as the trust has already been built. These referrals really are hot leads that turn into profit. Each week we get a chance to say “Thank you for the Money” and last year alone our chapter gave business to the value of £1,825,669.87 with 3119 referrals given! This is proof that it really does work.
If you were ever in doubt about networking then just visit any BNI Chapter as I would highly recommend you give it a try..