I was skeptical when first invited to BNI Tuscaloosa by my friend Robby Hart. I knew of BNI, in that I had merely heard of the organization. The meeting was structured and altogether unremarkable. I remember thinking it was kind of corny. A lot of stuffy older gentlemen in a room delivering a sales pitch to each other so I thought.
That was 4 years ago. Another friend, Tyler Jolly, recruited me yet again for a new BNI chapter launching in Tuscaloosa. I went and my first impression still rang true as it was very wrote and structured. I couldn’t see past the clichéd way meetings are run to see just how effective BNI can be. Two hours after leaving the meeting, I received a call from Josh Angel with JMF Technologies alerting me that he had referred someone to me who needed exactly what I offered.
Well, I still serve that client today. I vacillated for about two minutes between the cliched, wrote style of BNI meetings and the mechanism that powers the whole show. I joined. I now see the reason behind the structure and I fully buy into the concept behind BNI. I have since worked with Trisha Conyers, Mary’s Cakes & Pastries, Zealco Insurance, Ryan Whitson Insurance, and Tech Smart. Those are just the people I have worked with from within the group.
BNI is the perfect marketing vehicle for traditional industries like insurance, real estate, construction, and service industries. Those are represented by American National, Blue Creek Realty, TitleWorks, Holman Contracting, Tech Smart, Reeves Landscaping, Craig Worley, Colonial Printing, and Burnum Hahn.
However, as you all know, BNI may not be for everyone. For example, my friend Scott Parrott with Legacy Automotive came to one of our meetings on “Visitor’s Day” just to see what BNI was really all about. After returning several weeks, he decided that it wouldn’t be a good fit, so he didn’t join. So, all that to say, there are a lot of positives that come with BNI but it depends on the nature of your business. Every BNI group is different and you will never know if BNI is right for you until you try it out.