Should You Join BNI? What Professions Benefit Most?

If you join BNI and need an online marketer to help you rank higher on Google Maps or to advertise on Facebook, Instagram or Google, contact Francisco.

If you are a business professional looking to expand your networking opportunities, BNI may be the right fit for you. BNI is a group of business owners and professionals who meet weekly to network and exchange referrals. If you are in a service-based profession, BNI can be an excellent way to connect with other professionals in your area. However, it is important to note that ecommerce companies, restaurants, and businesses with retail shops typically do not do well in BNI. If you’re unsure whether or not BNI is the right fit for you, read on for more information about what professionals benefit most from joining this networking group.

What types of businesses do well in BNI

Lawyers, realtors, accountants, and marketers are just a few of the professions that typically do well in BNI. These professionals offer services that other businesses can use, and they often have a large pool of potential clients to draw from. If you are in one of these professions, BNI can be a great way to connect with other professionals in your area and build long-lasting business relationships.

Here is a list of professions that I saw did well over my 3 years at BNI:

  • Lawyers
  • Bookkeepers/Accountants/CPAs
  • Handyman
  • Catering Companies
  • B-to-B Companies
  • General Contractors / Construction
  • Personal Property Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Cookware
  • CFPs
  • Commercial Insurance
  • Mechanics
  • Local Marketing Companies

What types of businesses should avoid BNI

Ecommerce companies, restaurants, and businesses with retail shops typically do not do well in BNI. This is because these businesses are more transactional in nature, and they don’t offer services that other businesses can use. If you are in one of these industries, it may be wise to steer clear of BNI and focus on other networking opportunities.

  • Restaurants
  • Bars/Breweries
  • Venues
  • Apparel Shops
  • Online Businesses
  • Multi-level Marketing
  • Ecommerce
  • Web Developers
  • Programmers

For many industries, it may be better to join an association that focuses only on your industry.

How to get the most out of BNI

If you decide to join BNI, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of the experience. First, make sure you attend every meeting and come prepared to network. Second, be sure to actively participate in the meetings and share (don’t sell) your services to other members. Finally, always follow up with any leads or referrals you receive from BNI. By doing these things, you’ll be able to make the most of your membership and build long-lasting business relationships. These are just some of the basics.

One-Way Referral Sources in BNI

I didn’t realize that the most successful people in BNI were ones that constantly got 1-way referrals. For instance, since I help local cafes, grocery stores, pizza shops market their businesses on Facebook and Google Maps, I was able to get my buddy, who owned a pest control company, into the door to meet the owners. We would simply eat at my clients’ restaurants and met up with them.

Who would have thought the online marketer would be a consistent referral source to the owner of a pest control company.

But that was nothing compared to the Don the handyman who was starting his life over. This guy was in his 60s and starting a new handyman business. This was his first company. His referral source was a fellow BNI member named Steve, the home inspector. Talk about lighting a fire under someone’s ass! Steve sent so much business to Don the handyman, that Don had to upgrade his beater minivan to a real work van, with shelves and everything.

So, should you join BNI? The answer depends on what type of business you have. If you are a lawyer, realtor, accountant, or marketer, BNI is a great way to expand your networking opportunities and connect with other professionals in your area. However, if you are an ecommerce company, restaurant, or business with retail shops, it may be wise to steer clear of BNI and focus on other networking opportunities.

Visiting Other BNI Groups

In BNI, you are encouraged to visit other BNI chapters. In southern California, there are literally 100s of other potential referral sources from other groups. You will have their information via your BNI portal so you can reach out via email, phone or text. The best thing about BNI is that every prospective referral source is open to networking, even if they are in a different group. Why are BNI members so helpful? Because everyone believes in BNI’s motto.

BNI’s Motto: Giver’s Gain!

Make a New Circle of Strong Friends

Most people don’t come from a family of entreprenuers. In fact, many friends will not have your interests when it comes to buildingt a business because they struggle with fear.

In BNI, you will meet people who have been in business for many years. You may even make a friend who becomes a mentor. For instance, I switched account firms and started using the BNI accountant in my group. It’s so nice to talk about taxes, depreciation, marketing, employees, and office drama. All this over lunch and you write it off on your taxes! You won’t be able to have a conversation with childhood friends or family members the way you can with other business owners.

Nailing Your Elevator Pitch

Every week you’ll get 45-60 seconds, depending on the size of your group, to pitch your service in front of your fellow BNI members. This is known as an elevator pitch.

Here’s Planet Marketing’s elevator pitch:

Planet Marketing is an internet marketing company specializing in paid advertising. We use Google Ads & Facebook Ads to get your company leads. Don’t wait for business to come to you. Go out there and get it! Advertise Today, Get Sales Tomorrow.

You will hear many of the elevator pitches of BNI members. This will help you develop our sales pitch. In fact, when someone new signs up for BNI, there’s normally an introduction class for the entire region that specifically focuses on developing your sales pitch.

Getting Over Fear

Many people are frightened of talking in front of a group. You will see big burly men with beards looking all macho get nervous to speak in front of a few people, while some people were built to speak in front of audiences. It’s great see people overcome their fear of speaking. The overcoming of fear is a great skill to have, especially when you’re selling your service.

In addition to your weekly 45-60 second sales pitch, every few months you’ll get about 8-10 minutes to talk your service in front of the group.


The cost to join a BNI group is going to vary depending on the region. I joined in San Diego, CA. This is one of the most expensive places to join, so most likely your fees will be less. This is only an example. You MUST see your local BNI chapter fees.

Here are the sample fees for joining BNI in San Diego:

  • Application Fee: $199
  • Participation Fees: $545 for a one year membership, or $899 for a two year membership.
  • Chapter Quarterly Dues (room rental & weekly breakfast): $200/quarter

Therefore, the initial investment to join BNI is $744 for one year or $1,098 for two years. Don’t forget about the quarterly costs.

Here’s the breakdown to join BNI San Diego “Partners in Excellence” chapter:

1 Year Costs
$199 + $545 + $800 = $1544/yr

2 Years Cost
$199 + $899 + $800 = $1898


Before paying for anything, visit 2-3 chapters. Talk to the chapter president and to potential referral sources in each chapter. Remember, you can also network with members of other BNI chapters. Consider the costs of joining your local BNI chapter. How many clients would you have to land in order to pay your entire BNI costs? If all you have to do is land 1 new client via a BNI referral, join today.

BNI isn’t for the broke business owner. I’m happy to pay the fees because it weeds out the salespeople who typically storm the local chamber of commerce.

You’ll most likely come out with new friends who are also business owners. Right now as I’m typing, I’m working at a Starbucks with a friend from BNI. He’s a criminal law, car accident law, and immigration law attorney. Next week, I will have breakfast with my accountant friend.

At the very least, you will surround yourself with like-minded people.

If you join BNI and need an online marketer to help you rank higher on Google Maps or to advertise on Facebook, Instagram or Google, contact Francisco.

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