Get Coaching Clients from BNI While Showing How Good You Are
I was in BNI for over 8 years. I coached the owner of BNI Kansas City for several of those years, served as an Ambassador advising new members, and found some of the greatest ways to get clients.
I was bringing up to 35 visitors a week, while getting about 25% of those wanting to do business with me in some way.
I will show you how to get coaching clients, as many as you want with BNI while showing BNI just how darned good you are at getting results, BIG results for your clients.
How to bring 20-30 visitors to BNI with 10% to 20% becoming some form of client.I held all of the records in my city, and maybe worldwide, well, wait a minute I showed my daughter this trick and she doubled my numbers, so I guess I did lose to her, but she used this trick. I held the record at 35 visitors, she hit 60+.
But this isn’t about just having the biggest numbers, this is about being able to bring the most visitors that can become your coaching clients. I figured that between 10% to 20% of those I brought became clients of mine in some way, either hiring me as a coach, or any of several other steps in my marketing funnel that helped them grow their business.
It doesn’t matter what kind of a coach you are, business coach, executive coach, life coach, career coach, health, relationship, whatever coach. This works.
LinkedIn –> BNI — Unlimited Visitors for BNI
LinkedIn and BNI are a really good match. They are both networking groups of a sort and that’s the key. Anyone who joins LinkedIn is looking for connections, networking, finding a customer/client or getting referrals to a customer/client. And every one of those things are what someone in BNI wants. So anyone who joins one could benefit by joining the other.
In fact, I would get really frustrated when I’d hear from other members in our group that they just couldn’t find visitors and I’ll bet you do too. So this is your chance to not only be the star, but to show others in your group how much of a top performer you are in everything you do, AND you will collect customers and followers from those visitors as you do it.
In any case, use the LinkedIn Advance search. Narrow down the search radius around your zip code to a distance that works for your BNI group. Some are really local, while others pull from all over the city and some beyond it. Then use the keyword box, and fill in either the industry name of a seat you don’t have in BNI, or of your ideal client, or both.
It’s possible that there will be a LOT of people on your list and either you can just start at the top of the list, or narrow the list to those closer and closer to your meeting location, or to your office, until you have a list size that you can call.
How to Make Cold Calls That DELIVER for BNI and for Your Coaching Business
By the way, you will learn a way of making these calls that you can use for your coaching business. And almost no one, near 100%, will accept your invitation . . . because your are making a call to offer them what they want. Remember, everyone in LinkedIn is looking for a good network, good connections, and customers/clients OR referrals to customers/clients, so when you offer them an even better opportunity at all of those . . . they will come runnin’.
This was my rule:
- It’s not about me, my products/services, my company, my processes, what I do.
- And THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, it’s not about you and your coaching, but it’s also not about BNI and what it does. Remember that. BNI will tell you to tell them about BNI. But, believe me, follow THIS process and you’ll be the leaders in bringing visitors.
- It is about them, what they want, and if you make it VERY VALUABLE they can’t resist.
The Cold Calling Script That Works
Remember, it’s always about THEM, not you or BNI. BNI has a recommended approach that talks about convincing people to come to a BNI meeting. My approach is about THEM not BNI. This will change everything about marketing for your coaching business if you follow this approach for that as well.
So let’s say that we are calling a carpet cleaner. Here’s how I’d start off.
Hi, Jim. I was looking for a carpet cleaner and found you on LinkedIn. What can you tell me about what you do?
NOTE: after every question, JUST LISTEN. Let them do the talking. Don’t jump in to gain control of the call. You are in control of the call with your questions. This is about them, so keep it that way. The more they talk the more they will love you. I promise. For most of the questions I’ll ask about how’s this going or that, you will discover that it isn’t working for them, so when you offer BNI it really is much better than where they are.
It’s likely that he’ll talk for several minutes about his business. If he doesn’t, then ask him more. Show a genuine interest in him and his business.
When it finally winds down.
Sounds really good, Jim. I’m calling because a group of top CEOs and business owners in _______ (name the city) have been looking for a top carpet cleaner. We are a little concerned that whoever we choose can handle the work load we might throw at him. Tell me, how many new clients can you handle at this point?
Listen very carefully. Don’t jump in too soon. You’ll hear a little of babbling right about now.
As I said, we are a group of successful top CEOs and Business Owners who focus on surrounding ourselves with other top businesses. We want people who believe as we do about building business by sharing business, and therefore we require a certain level of success and thinking like we do, giver’s gain. And we only accept one from every industry. Those that pass our requirements will OWN that seat and the referrals. The average company can get 10’s of thousands of referrals a year.
In any case, from what you’ve told me, I’d like to introduce you to the group next Tuesday at 11:00 at _______. Would you like to come?
NOTE: If you’ve still got time, asking them about how well BNI has been working for them will continue to build the relationship and they will also discover that BNI works better than LinkedIn, and that YOU coach, can show them many good ways to either build a business (this works for all kinds of coaches. Just always be someone who helps others reach new levels of success, and you are DARNED GOOD at it. You stand out way above the crowd with the big numbers you deliver and show others how to do.)
It will be rare that they turn you down. If they do it’s most likely because they already had another appointment. If that is the case, then, just suggest that maybe they can make the next meeting, but no promises, we are interviewing others this week and once the seat is gone for carpet cleaners, it’s gone.
Qualify, Qualify Qualify . . . Take ONLY The Most Successful — Bigger and More Referrals
For some BNI groups this part is a little hard to understand. As a coach I’m sure you get it, but most BNI groups are focused on FILLING THAT SEAT. I’m focused on filling that seat with the best referral source there is, which is totally different, believe me. The more successful they are the more clients they have to refer to everyone else, and the bigger the referrals will be.
Here’s a thought you should keep in your mind. The Small Business Administration says that 90% of all startups will fail in about 2 years. Which means that if you fill that empty industry seat in BNI with just anyone who comes along, 90% of those seats will be churning, constantly being replaced with other struggling businesses.
YOU AND BNI don’t want struggling companies in those seats. They don’t have referrals. By definition they are struggling start ups, and haven’t build a big list of clients. Some will have ZERO, some 1 or 2, or a few. But if you focus only on VERY SUCCESSFUL businesses then they have A LOT of clients to refer to you, and it’s also very likely those referrals are bigger and have more money.
Let me cue you in. When I started out in coaching, I was in a group of several hundred coaches and consultants nationwide. I would always ask them where they got their leads and clients. BNI always came up, but it came up two ways. One was, “Greatest thing since sliced bread”, but the other was “Doesn’t work for coaches, and most people I know. Don’t do it!”
When I’d ask them for a description of the two different BNI groups, I’d hear something like this.
- For the “greatest thing since sliced bread”, it would be: Group is about 50 members, they are very selective. They allow only bigger, more successful businesses, and there are LOTS of referrals and they are BIG.
- For the “avoid” one I’d hear: Groups are 20 or less, they take almost anyone. In fact they are full of desparate, struggling businesses. They have such small business that they believe that they can’t afford coaches, nor do they even know someone who can hire a coach. Most have their hands out for a referral and aren’t giving any.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe strongly in BNI groups, but associating yourself with the right one, OR making it the right one by who you bring as your visitors, then you can design this group the way you want. In the group I was in we had two difference coaches who felt as I do, and we would regularly have 80 to 100 people at our meeting, and especially our visitors day.
You Bring the Biggest, Most Successful Visitors
I would also focus on bringing million dollar and up businesses. Whether they joined the group or not, they always looked at me as a “connector” and I’d get between 10% to 20% of my visitors buying coaching, or one of my programs. So I made it work for me whether I got referrals from anyone else or not.
I have found that the million dollar business owners regularly pay for coaching. They are used to hiring those who can help them get what they can’t get on their own. But the smaller business believe they can’t afford coaching. So I go where acquiring clients is EASY.
Be Seen as a High Performer at Everything You Do . . . Including Coaching
And, because I was seen as someone who played in the big pool, I was always looked at as someone who could grow businesses successfully, and because I could do this, I could.
Here’s another suggestion on how to find the big boys in any industry group. Whenever you are aware that a seat in BNI is empty, or someone says they’d like to have a referral partner in this or that industry, THINK BIG. Don’t reach out for just anyone.
Reference USA is another great resource. It’s available in most libraries as an online database of businesses. Do your search for that industry in your city, but this time reach for either a $500K business, or a $1M business. For instance, when it came to this carpet cleaner, within 5 or 6 blocks of our meeting place there were 5 carpet cleaners doing over $1M.
So don’t accept the first one that you find, get all 5 of them coming to the next meeting. It’s not unusual for BNI people to think small. Your job is to lead them, be the lead coach and lead them to where they need to be to be successful. So don’t let them make that mistake of bringing in the smallest, the least successful. You should be surrounded by the most successful people you can, and that means either that you find them, or you make anyone in your group more successful by how you lead them, and where you lead them. All of you will become more successful by surrounding yourself with the most successful people you can. The referrals will flow, and they will be 10’s of times bigger.
Lead Those Around You to Higher Performance . . . Don’t Let the Unsuccessful MisLead You
I have been the ambassador in several citywide BNI groups. So I’ve seen the small thinking, and the big thinking and the success the big thinking creates. Don’t be pulled down by small thinkers. I’ve been called many names when I suggested that we don’t take several start ups that had only 1 or 2 customers after 6 months. I was told that we owed it to start ups to help them out. I was challenged to remember that I needed a hand up at one time.
But that’s not why we are here to give charity. In fact, once a chapter is FULL of those needing charity then there is no one to do the charitable giving. No one can help out and the chapter falls inward. So, be the leader, and make it a very successful chapter by surrounding yourself with successful businesses. The chapter will grow and you, coach will to. LEAD in the right direction.
In any case, I brought 20 to 30 visitors most every time from about 1 to 2 hours work weekly, and those frequently turned into my clients. I taught my daughter this same approach when she started her business and had no BNI to join. She started her own and had 60 people at her first meeting and, as a web developer, she immediately had more work than she could handle. I taught this to another client who was in a sales team of 600 people who, within just a few months was #1 in sales. This WORKS!
By the way, I’m looking for coaches to work with me as I complete my book. I’d like to hear what you are currently doing to get clients, and how well that is working. I will share with you great ways to get lots more clients, and I’ll use you as an example in my upcoming book with your new success.
Email me if you’d like to participate and grow your coaching business … I’d like to have a wide range of all types of coaches…
Helping coach/consultants reach another $100K to $1M within months and to stop thinking small when attracting new clients
Author of the upcoming book “Secrets to $100K+ Coaching/Consulting Business”