(PRWEB) May 19, 2003
Fourteen years ago, a friend told real estate broker Bobby Miller of Century 21 EN Realty about a networking group that meets weekly to share business leads. Ms. Miller almost didnÂt attend. She had no idea of the impact BNI (Business Networking IntÂl) would have on her business.
Today, Ms. Miller is still active in the organization, and sheÂs not about to give up her coveted residential real estate spot. As part of its unique structure, BNI allows only one member per chapter per profession or category.
Ms. Miller originally joined thinking the networking group in Diamond Bar would supplement her business. Instead, sheÂs found her contacts through the group have become the foundation of her business.
ÂIt works. You grow your business, and itÂs solid,Â she says.
Dr. Ivan Misner, author of the New York Times bestseller Masters of Networking, founded BNI in 1985 in Arcadia, Calif., and based it on a simple philosophy: Âgivers gain.Â
BNI, which is the worldÂs largest referral organization, has more than 2,700 chapters worldwide, and more than 90 in the Greater Los Angeles area alone. The organization has posted double-digit growth every year since it was founded, and last year, BNI added 350 chapters worldwide.
ÂIf you donÂt genuinely attempt to help the people you meet, you are not networking,Â says Misner, who has dedicated his professional life to the study of networking and has been dubbed the ÂNetworking GuruÂ by Entrepreneur magazine.
With the economy continuing its slump, Misner says creativity in marketing your business is vital, and a successful word-of-mouth campaign is one of the most effective ways to build business.
ÂToday, more than ever, businesses need an edge over their competition,Â said Misner. ÂEstablishing a word-of-mouth-based business requires getting out of your cave and getting belly-to-belly with other business professionals.Â
BNI provides that opportunity. Each chapter has about 20 to 30 members, and each member is from a different profession. The chapter meets weekly with each member speaking about his or her business for a minute, and one member giving a more detailed presentation. Members are encouraged to bring referrals for someone else in the group, and leaders are trained and use a manual to run the chapters.
Miller, who has been in real estate 27 years, couldnÂt imagine doing business without BNI.
ÂI have 28 people that I consider my sales force, and they are out there every day looking for business for me,Â she said. ÂThereÂs no better form of advertising than having someone speak on your behalf.Â
Since BNIÂs inception, members have referred almost $1 billion worth of business to other members. For more information about BNI, visit http://www.bni.com.