Is joining BNI worth it to get sales?

Am hoping to get some sales for my small business. Would you recommend I join BNI for this?

Mira Nathalea

24 Jan, 2022

1 Answer

Ariel Arcebido


BNI is pretty popular from where I'm at, and I believe it is quite similar in other Southeast Asian countries.

The main reason why BNI is popular is because you are able to get qualified leads for your business through referrals. This COULD BE a big deal because you can shorten the time taken to close a sale, and you do not need a sales team to help you get leads.

In my opinion, whether BNI is worth depends entirely on 2 things:

  • The quality of the group/chapter you join
  • The product / service you're selling

If the chapter leader brings together a balanced and "high quality" group of people, the opportunities for collaboration and promotion are much higher.

And if you're selling something that is in need and easy to promote, it'll be a lot easier for you to get qualified leads.

I would define a good BNI chapter as:

  • A balanced group of people from various industries
  • Like-minded and supportive people (everyone contributes and not just "takes")
  • People are active in the chapter

Often times, many poor-quality BNI chapters are riddled with salespeople who are MLM, insurance, or real estate agents. While there's nothing wrong with people in those industries, having too many of them in a single chapter makes it ineffective as you may not be able to get sufficient leads.

Drawbacks of BNI

Also, one of the drawbacks of BNI is the requirement to promote other peoples' businesses and to continue expanding/recruiting more people into the chapter.

While that may not be a bad thing (a bigger and more supportive chapter always brings more value in the long term), you may end up spending too much time on other peoples' businesses than your own.

Also, BNI can be pretty time consuming (4 sessions a week), and you have to suit-up and attend the sessions in the early mornings. Not every chapter is like that, but most are.

Oh and did I not mention, BNI can be pretty expensive to join (yearly membership fees can be up to 1-month of a fresh graduate salary).

So should you join BNI?

In conclusion, if you have a clear goal to why you're joining, have an easy product/service to sell, are part of a high-quality + supportive community, and are willing to fork out the yearly membership fees, then I'd say it's worth it to join BNI. 

Treat it like a time + money investment that brings potential customers and lots of new friendships.

Otherwise, just run some Facebook lead-generation ads and call up your prospects.

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