My BNI® Story

The Impact of a One-to-One

Submitted by Donald Church, BNI Premier, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, United States



I joined BNI back around 2010. I didn’t know much about it, but I knew that part of the process of building trust among the members was to have One-to-Ones with others. 

My very first One-to-One was with our chapter’s  commercial litigator. I joined him at his office and we both exchanged information about each of our businesses, what we do and what an ideal referral would be. At the end of the meeting, I told him that I sort of felt bad. Of course he wondered why, as though he had said something wrong. I told him that now that I know more about what he did, I didn’t see any likelihood that I would ever be able to refer any clients to him. I really didn’t run in circles where anyone had ever asked me where they could find a good commercial litigation attorney. 

He laughed and said, that’s really not how BNI works. He said that the way it works is that he may refer to me, I may refer to other members and other members will refer to someone else. He may not necessarily be a natural referral for me. In addition, what he was looking for was a little different than most other members. He said that his goal was to get one solid referral per year. I thought that was odd, as my business relied on many repeat referrals, most of which were smaller dollar amounts. He said that as a commercial litigation attorney, one good and solid referral could change his business.

That first One-to-One had an impact on me and I have told that story to many new members that I’ve met through many years as a BNI member.

I hope that in some way, what I share with other new people to BNI will make as big of an impact as what was shared with me as a new member. 

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