The key to success for your BNI chapter is to regularly have new visitors and to pass referrals. The new visitors ensure that you are developing your chapter numbers, and finding the right professions to make the power circles within your chapter as productive as possible. The referrals will build the value of the business that you pass to each other, and so increase the value of your “seat” in BNI – which will make even more people want to join your chapter. So, who would like more visitors?
Use LinkedIn to identify and invite visitors
As a chapter, you should determine which professions you would like to focus on inviting to visit. If you focus your efforts as a team on particular professions, rather than going after every different profession, you will have more success. This works particularly well for stack days. Analyse the professions of your chapter – do you have the start of any power circles that need more members? Identify which professions would sit best within those power circles.
Now work out what geographical location you would like your visitors to come from. You might choose a radius of 5 miles from where you meet to start with. For those areas where there are more than one chapter, it’s always good to discuss chapter development strategies with your Area Director and each other to make sure that you’re doing the best for your chapter.
Once you have a very clear picture of who your ideal visitors would be by profession and location, log on to LinkedIn.
- Into the search bar at the top right of screen, type in the location of the area that you wish to focus on, and then click on the magnifying glass
- This will bring up a list of people/professions that have included the location that you are searching somewhere on their LinkedIn profile.
- Take a look at the number of results available. In my case, I searched Basildon, and there are 2178 results. Plenty of opportunity for me, and my fellow chapter members to find some visitors.
- You will notice in the results that by each name there is 1st, 2nd or 3rd listed. 1st refers to those people who you are already connected to. These would be the easiest people to invite, as you already know them. Check their professions to make sure that they would fit in well to your chapter power teams, and to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with existing members.
- Send a LinkedIn message to invite them to visit. I use the wording from the standard BNI postcard invitation, and tailor the intro and signature to suit the individual.
- Once you’ve worked your way through your suitable 1st connections, now focus on 2nd connections. These are people who are connected to your connections.
- Be sure to connect with people you would like to invite first. Don’t send the standard connection request, be sure to personalise it, as it’s likely that you do not know this person directly, and they may wonder why you’re trying to connect. Don’t invite them through the connection request either, as that simply means that you’re trying to promote something. Instead send a connection request, letting them know that you are networking within their niche, and would like to connect to learn more about them and what they do. Then within the same request, ask them a question that will open a conversation. You might ask whether they already network in the local area, and which groups work best for them. Now you’ve not only made a connection in the local area (who could become a customer of yours in the future) you’ve opened a conversation where people are more likely to engage with you. Asking about networking gives you the opportunity to talk about how BNI is working for you when they reply.
- Once you’ve had a conversation about networking and how BNI is working for you, then invite them along to visit your chapter. Again, stick to tried and tested formats, we know the BNI invitation postcard works, so include the text from that in your invitation that you send via LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool to develop your BNI Chapter, so follow the above steps, and please keep me posted with progress made by commenting below.
If you would like us to talk to your BNI Chapter about how to use LinkedIn to grow your BNI chapter, or would like more information, please contact us: Tel: 0844 556 5116 Email: [email protected] Facebook: Sales Scene – Sales & marketing solutions Twitter:@salesscene Caroline on Google +