Chick Gallagher, executive director of BNI in the Delaware Valley Regions, where the average chapter produces more than $2 million in new referrals each year, joins Dr. Misner on the podcast today. Chick is addressing questions people ask about why business owners should join BNI.
“Why not join a cheaper referral group? Why pay so much for BNI?”
Cheaper groups don’t have professional expertise or support, which limits their productivity. BNI has a system that works. Your time at BNI is always well spent.
“Why not join a referral group with fewer rules and less structure?”
Structure is what makes an organization. Animals and people survive and thrive on structure. BNI members were involved in the creation of all BNI’s policies and procedures, resulting in a professional environment where high-quality referrals are the rule, not the exception.
“Why join BNI and not a local group?”
BNI has an internationally recognized brand. No matter where you go in the world, BNI has a reputation for doing business networking and referral marketing right.
“What kind of Return on Investment will I get from BNI?”
The ROI on BNI is so high that we don’t advertise it, because people wouldn’t believe it. Only members who have experienced the results from BNI believe it. But be aware: it takes time.
“What’s BNI Connect and why should I care?”
The integration of online networking with face-to-face networking is the future. No other organization has this platform for cross-chapter and cross-state referrals. Both online and face-to-face interactions in BNI are bound by the same code of ethics.
Here are two articles on BNI SuccessNet about why BNI’s policies are so important:
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of Episode 407 –
Helo everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan. How are you doing?
I am doing great,Priscilla. Thank you very much. I have a guest with us today. His name is Chick Gallagher. He is the Executive Director in Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Chick opened his first BNI chapter in 1992. 1992. We just had hundreds of chapters back then and now we have over 7000 chapters.
The Delaware Valley regions are consistently among the top BNI regions in the world. The average chapter produces over $2,000,000 USD in new referrals for its members each year. He has over 150 chapters under his management. Chick was one of the first of 15 Executive Directors in BNI. We now have hundreds and hundreds of BNI Executive Directors. He was one of the first 15 Executive Directors. He has served as the Chairperson for BNI’s International Advisory Board, which is sort of the membership committee of the BNI organization worldwide.
Chick is a retired US Army officer with 25 years experience in the service. For many years- I didn’t even know this until I saw your bio. You were a dedicated sports parachutist with thousands of free falls. I knew you did some parachuting but I did not know that you were in the US Army Joint Parachute Team and you did a lot of air shows with the Navy’s Blue Angels and the US Air Force Thunderbirds. I am impressed, Chip. It is great to have you on the podcast.
That’s why I walk funny.
Well, you can’t walk too funny. You managed to go to school and get an MBA and MS in Military Science. You are married and you have three kids and three grandchildren. I am looking forward to that day, Chick. You have three grandkids. I understand grandkids are your reward for not choking your kids.
Yeah. That’s right.
It is great to have you on the podcast. Today we are going to talk about why BNI over other networking groups. You wrote an article that I really love. It is going to be in SuccessNet in the not too distant future. One of the questions that you posed in the article that you wrote for SuccessNet is why not join a cheaper referral group than BNI. I love this question. I love your answer. Do you want to talk about this a little bit?
Well, you have heard this many times. You get what you pay for. The cheaper groups that you join, they don’t have any professional expertise for support. Their productivity of the group is severely limited by the lack of professional expertise and the group waivers. I estimate that those groups only produce a very small percentage of BNI productivity and the feedback that I have gotten from thousands of former members of those groups who come to BNI only reinforces my opinion. They tell us that they are getting ten times more referrals and ten times more dollar return than they were getting from their former chapter.
So it is a big difference between a cheap group and what BNI can do for us. We have a system and our system works. It has been working in many countries for many years. Now it is working in 59 different companies in six different languages.
Yeah. There are a number of independent groups and it always surprises people to hear me say I actually love the independent groups because it makes me look better. I have had many situations where people have come from an independent group and they said it was a total waste of their time- because the biggest commitment in BNI is not the money. It is actually the amount of time that people spend trying to build their business through referrals. If the time is well spent, it is worth it, but if it is not well spent it is not. I get that a lot from people who came from independent groups into BNI.
So here is the second question. Why not join a referral group with less rules and less structure. Let’s talk about that.
That is because structure is what makes an organization. Animals, children, old people, and groups of people. They survive and thrive on structure. If you change the routine of one of them, you get unpredictable results. We have the perfect structure and that is because our members were involved in the creation of our policies and everything we do. Our policies and all of our procedures were structured by members in a highly supportive business environment where they can exchange high quality business referrals. IT become the rule, not the exception.
We have been doing this with great success now for a little over 30 years. We benefit from the input of our own professionals, hundreds of thousands of BNI members during those 30 years. So we have a system that really works. The cheaper ones, they don’t.
You mentioned that members had been involved in the creation of the program and that is very true. Of course, you have been involved since 1991 so you have been in the organization years before you came on board. The Board of Advisors is made up of BNI members so every single policy that exists in BNI was either created by or approved by the Board of Advisors.
For those of you listening, that is what Chick is referring to. The program works because it is members who helped designed it. The policies are very important and there are two articles that I recommend if you have a chance to take a look at. Go to BNI SuccessNet and look at “BNI Light Just Isn’t Right” and “All Games Have Rules”. Great articles about why policies are important. And “All Games Have Rules”- I love that one because basically hockey with no rules would be boxing. You have to have some structure to have success at whatever you are doing.
A couple of other points, Chick, that BNI has an internationally recognized brand name, and you have some strong feelings about that, which I love. Do you want to talk about that and doing a Google search on our internationally recognized brand name?
Yeah. You know, if you get involved with a local group that has a minimal number of chapters across the country and you do a Google search for them, you only come up with a limited number of responses on it.
If you do a Google search on BNI, you can probably spend a lifetime reading the billions of responses that you get because we are everywhere. We are in all these different countries. BNI is the Coca-Cola of the referral business. We have a brand that people identify with as an organization that does it right all the time. That is our brand.
If you google BNI, you will get Business Network International. That is number one. Even if you put in something like “business networking”- I just punched it in and there were 127,000,000 hits. BNI popped up right there on the very top of the list. We are the brand leaders of networking.
I think that is important ?when you are inviting people into the organization. But another really important thing is the return on investment and you talk about that in the article- ROI in BNI. Do you want to discuss that a bit?
The return on investment is so high we don’t even try to advertise it because people wont believe it. It is in the tens of thousands of percentages and it can go up into the high tens of thosands. The only people who are actually going to believe and talk about it are the members who experience what it is. We don’t try to tell people how high it really is because it sounds too good to be true.
This is one of those organizations where it really is true, but you have to come. You have to sit down and really participate. You have to do the right things. There is nowhere else you can get this time of effect on your business than to be a participating member of a BNI chapter
It really is true. Those of you listening, you heave to realize when I started BNI, I was a management consultant. My return on investment for traditional advertising- now. I am a believer in traditional advertising. I think most businesses need to do it. But as a business consultant, traditional advertising was not a good way for me to get business. I got very little business from it.
But through BNI, I got a ton of business. That is what helped me open up additional groups to help other people. So the return on investment can be amazing. The one thing that you have to remember is it takes time. BNI is not a get rich quick scheme. But there is another great article on SuccessNet called “More Referrals, Quicker Sales- Amazing ROI in BNI. Take a loot at that and you will see some of the numbers that Chick is talking about.
Alright, Chick, we are almost out of time. but there is one other thing that you mentioned that I think is really great. That is BNI Connect and BNI. Would you like to talk about that a little?
BNI Connect is still evolving, but it is the future. There is nothing else like it in the world and it is very unlikely that any other group will ever have the wherewithal to ever create anything like this. The integration of face-to-face with online networking is the future. Any group that doesn’t have it isn’t going to do justice to their members. And we have it.
It is working now. Our members are beginning to see that it is not just a management tool, that it creates a platform for cross-chapter referrals, cross-state, international referrals. We have a lot of members who have informed us that they have gotten a surprise referral through BNI Connect. They had no idea it was coming and it had a lot of zeros behind it.
It is fairly commonplace now that the members are looking for referrals coming through BNI Connect. It just turned out to be a phenomenal tool, not only to manage the organization but for our members and their productivity. It is the future.
I agree with that completely. I think that there are a lot of online networks out there and there are a lot of face to face networks, but there are no networks, none, that has the online capability that BNI does through BNI Connect and the, at this moment, 7100 chapters around the world that are meeting face to face. It is the integration, as you said, between the face to face and online networking that makes BNI stand out. There is just no network anywhere in the world that has that tool that can connect. You can be in a local chapter and literally have a global network overnight.
I just want to add one thing to that. Whether it is online networking or face to face networking, it is all bound by the same code of ethics that has held us together for the past 30+ years. No other organization has that. That allows trust to build very quickly because everybody in BNI is responsible for the same moral conduct that everybody else is.
Very true, Chick. Listen, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. You have been a valued Director for this organization for more than two decades. I really appreciate what you have contributed to our organization. Thank you for bring on our podcast today. You had some great content.
If you are listening to this podcast today, I would love for you to chime in and talk about why BNI? Why does BNI stand out to you as a great organization to build your business through referrals?
Chick, thank you so much. Priscilla, over to you.
Great. Thank you both so much. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.