Why BNI Reading Oracle is not a business networking group

Are you a business networking hunter, or a business networking farmer?You may be surprised to hear that BNI is not a business networking organisation. When you come to meet us, you will see members passing business to one another every week and watch us busily networking before and after every lunchtime meeting. But in fact, BNI is first and foremost a referral marketing organisation.

What's the difference? Well, it's the difference between "hunting" and "farming". At other business networking meetings in Reading you'll find people prowling around the room handing out business cards and hunting for prospective customers. If you're not in the market for what they're selling they will politely (or otherwise) brush you off and move on.

You won't find BNI members acting like that. Whoever you are, they'll take an interest in what you do and ask you probing questions about it in the hope of cutivating some business for one of their many contacts. Because no matter what line of work you're in, they almost certainly know someone who you ought to meet.

Being a hunter means:

A lot of time wasted

Talking without listening

Being forgotten as soon as you leave

Being a farmer means:

Getting to know, like and trust people

Learning from other people's experience

Being well known

Which one are you?

If you're reading this, you are probably the kind of person who already appreciates the difference.

Being a BNI member means being one of those people who always knows someone who can help. And that's good for business.

Just picture the scene:Do you know a photocopier engineer in Reading? If you were in BNI, you would!

An office, Reading, Berkshire. The Office Manager is busy working at his desk when the Office Junior comes in looking frazzled.

Luke (Office Junior): The photocopier's not working properly

Mark (Office Manager): What's the matter with it?

Luke: It's printing alright, but the pages are all wrinkled up. We can't send it out like this - look

Mark: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Luke: It didn't seem to help. This is the third batch and actually I think it's getting worse. What should we do? Is there a local photocopier engineer we can call?

Mark: Hmm, we've never needed one before...

Picture the scene - BNI business networking in actionLuke: I'll find one on Google. Or do you want me to try calling the manufacturer?

Mark: Wait. Before you do that, let me call someone.

Mark picks up 'phone and dials

Mark: Hello, Laura? Hi, it's Mark here from AN Office in Reading... Hi, yeah, very well thanks, you? How's business?... That's great, congratulations. Listen, we're in a bit of a pickle and I wonder if you can help me out. You know everyone who's anyone in Reading... Come on now, don't be modest... I just wondered if on your travels you've ever come across a local photocopier repair company you could recommend...? You have? Have you got their number handy...? That's fantastic. I owe you one, Laura. Bye!

That's how it works when you are in BNI. You might not have needed to use the services of a photocopier repair company yourself, but you almost certainly know one that you can recommend, because in the course of your regular attendance at our weekly meetings, you will have met a photocopier engineer and you'll know someone who has used and recommended his services.

Would you like to be like Laura? When someone in an office in Reading says "I know someone who I can ask about that?" would you like them to be talking about you? Then come along to one of our meetings and find out how easy it is to give up hunting and start farming.