So you are running a BNI Chapter Visitors Day to boost membership numbers. What is the best way to go about it?
Identify missing professions
One of the best ways to identify which professions would most benefit the chapter is to listen out to members 60 second presentations.Often the request for introductions to certain types of businesses will come up again and again. Most wanted professions may also be mentioned by the leadership team during the membership committee report.
Another way is to look at the current top list of professions in BNI and identify which business categories are missing from the chapter in question. Those would be good businesses to invite, since they are most likely to benefit from BNI membership.
Identify the catchment area
Google Maps is a great tool to identify the towns and cities around the BNI chapter meeting place to invite professions from. Not only should you take into account a radius around the venue, but also places within a 20 to 30 minute driving time. If the venue is just off a motorway junction this could be a large catchment area.
Don’t just invite businesses from the town or city that the chapter meets in. This gives you a greater choice of businesses to invite along to your meeting.
Find businesses to target
Now you have a list of business classifications that are missing from your chapter, and a list of towns and cities – you can simply use Google to search for businesses and invite them along to your BNI Chapter visitors day. A simple email or phone call is all that is needed.
Send out the invitations and follow-up!
The invite can be either by phone or email. Keep the initial contact brief and to the point. Explain that yourself and 30+ other local businesses are getting together to network and discuss referral opportunities, and would they be interested in coming along.
If they are interested you can then email a more detailed letter including the venue address, time, cost for the meeting, what food/refreshments are included, and remind them to bring PLENTY of business cards!
It is good practice a day or two before the meeting to call and ask if they are coming by themselves or bringing any colleagues or contacts with them. This could lead to extra visitors, and you can double-check for any category conflicts prior to the event.
Don’t ask “are you still coming?”, since that provides people with an easy get out!
Other tips for further success
Whenever possible always invite two weeks ahead. Don’t leave it until the week of the meeting – or worse yet the last minute! Most professional people book their diaries at least a week ahead – so inviting two weeks ahead definitely produces a higher response rate.
Use the specifically-designed Email Marketing Robot software to send out your initial invitations. This will save you loads of time, since the robot can deliver up to 90 targeted invitations per hour to the business types and locations that you supply it with. This frees up your time so you can simply respond to those who are interested.
Gone are the days of ringing through newspaper ads, or trawling local supermarkets for business cards to find people to invite!
The Email Marketing Robot has been successfully used to launch and relaunch many BNI chapters throughout the UK and Europe. BNI National Office have even purchased a copy, and it is used by many BNI Area Directors and Executive Directors too.
Please see the video demo for further details.