BNI Corridor, a professional organization that allows only one person per profession or specialty in each chapter, hosted an open house recently in hopes of increasing awareness within Red Deer.
The organization’s aim is promote word of mouth referrals and advertising while acting as a networking and marketing tool for local professionals.
Currently the group consists of 18 members, with professionals from a variety of backgrounds including photography, real estate, design, finance and more.
President of BNI Corridor, Kristi Fischer explained the foundation of BNI is for people to understand and see that a word of mouth referral is ideal.
“I had a problem in my own business where clients would ask me, ‘Do you know a plumber, a painter, or this and that?’ They would ask every question you can think of and for a long time I didn’t have an answer, and that bothered me,” said Fischer. “When you get referred to by another member that’s someone that’s being given to you because you have been spoken highly of and because you do a good job.
“By getting to know the people in your group and understanding what they do, if you have a client who needs that person’s services you are going to refer to them to a person in your group and vice versa.”
For this reason, BNI only allows one person from each background to receive membership, however not all those who apply will be accepted.
“You have to be committed,” said Rod MacWhirter, vice president of the club. “We want someone who is as committed to BNI as they are their own business and if they’re not then they probably aren’t the kind of people you want to be recommending.”
He added the local chapter, despite its size is one of the smallest groups to generate over $1 million of closed revenue for chapter members – which he explained is profit in members’ pockets due to referrals from other members.
With over 600 chapters in 50 countries, the global BNI network has proved increasingly valuable with the launch of their own social media platform for chapter members from around the world to gain access to connections in other cities, officials say.
“BNI gave me the team to say to that client confidently that yes I do have a solid realtor, photographer, or what have you,” said Fischer. “In return my fellow member can then come back to me and say ‘Thank you, that is a valued customer I couldn’t get anywhere else’.
“By going out and referring each other as much as you can, the more you support other members the more you’ll get back.”