My BNI® Story


The Referral Effect

By: BNI Staff
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    My BNI® Story

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    BNI Staff

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This BNI success story was submitted by Barry Thomas, member of BNI Peak Performers in Toronto, Canada

Does BNI work? I assume the answer depends on who you ask, but if you ask me, after being a member of the Peak Performers chapter since February of 2005, the answer is a resounding “YES!”. I’m in the car business as a broker, working with the HAV-A-KAR Auto Group in Toronto. Simply put, I can supply any new vehicle available in Canada, while providing leasing, financing or cash purchase options for my clients.

I should also mention that while cars are my business, they are also my passion and my hobby. In my chapter, I’m known as The Car Guy. What I do doesn’t seem like work to me. I truly believe this passion about what I do comes across to my clients and makes the process much more enjoyable for them. My love of cars also enables me to help my clients in a more informed way, better than if they walked into a dealership showroom and were bombarded with details specific only to that brand.

Here is a story of how one referral from a chapter member blossomed into an amazing amount of new and repeat business. To my mind this is the true power of BNI.

In my first year as a member, we had a home builder join our chapter. Shortly afterwards, he referred his wife to me, since she was looking for a new van. As always, I made some recommendations based on my knowledge of the current vehicles on the market. Once she decided, I delivered her new family van to her door, a service I offer to all of my clients. She loved it and shortly afterwards gave my name to her neighbor, who also selected the same van (out of courtesy, a different colour).

The neighbor also loved their van and my service, so they referred me to a relative in a northern suburb. This led to yet another van being delivered. Seems like I was cornering the market on mini-vans. This latest client now referred me to her mother, who lived about two hours west of Toronto. A bit of a trip, but I happily made the drive to drop off her new suv.                                

Now let’s cycle back to the home builder, who started this chain of new business. He needed a  pick-up for his business and again after I made some suggestions, he was able to order exactly what he needed. A little later in the year, I delivered a second truck, this one to his associate. I was on top of the world, as this was a BNI referral that kept on giving.                                     

In the meantime, the lady with the suv, referred me to another of her daughters back in Toronto. Yes, I was fortunate to earn her business and also that of her husband. Wow, BNI was working exactly as I had been told it would.

Since each new client needed insurance, I was also able to refer them to the agent in the Peak Performers. Even more business from that first van referral.                                           

Several of these deliveries were leases. That means they have an end date, usually after 36 or 48 months. So, if I’ve done my job right and made their initial experience a pleasant one, then they would come back to me for their next vehicle. And they did.

My suburban van client has returned to me several times since her first delivery back in 2005 and in December, 2018, I delivered her fifth car. Now I’m working on something for her son. Hopefully, the start of yet another longtime relationship.

The home builder left our chapter years ago, but the relationship we built still endures and he continues to lease his and his associate’s trucks from me. I believe the count is now up to seven pick-ups since his first delivery.   

My business with these clients is built on relationships, but without the initial BNI referral, none of these deliveries would have come to pass. I wouldn’t have had access to the business of any of these people and they would not have known about me.

This speaks to the power of BNI and the people that it can get us in touch with. It shows how one referral can lead to many other contacts and much more closed business over many years.

Does BNI work? YES! A thousand times Yes!