BNI Marketing Group... Scam?

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I received a letter from a friend and fellow business owner to join BNI or "Business Network International".

This is the second time I've been invited (by two different people), the first time I turned them down. From what I read online, it certainly sounds like a scam.

For instance, at this website:
http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=117590
Every poster that is in favor of them seems to have signed up for that singular purpose. Lots of shills.

Has anyone had an experience with this group? It sure seems fishy to have to pay to join a marketing group of this size.
I'd like any information you can provide, maybe I can still help my friend get out of this group before he becomes too invested.

So, keeping on topic with other 'is it a scam' threads of FWF...
Is BNI (Business Network International) marketing group, started by Dr Ivan Misner, a scam?

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Great business idea. Let's start a company where we get a bunch of professionals together to exchange referrals with each other. Than we'll promote this type of 'club' all over the country and because nobody apparently has the idea of cutting us out of the mix and just have a referral club on their own, we'll be able to assess dues to all of it's members even though we do nothing except provide a name and a 'process' that is so basic and simple it's literally unbelievable these idiots are paying us dues.

You mean like this^

They are legit. Whether they are worthwhile to you or not depends upon you and the makeup of your group. Basically, it is a leads group. You will be expected to give leads to other members of the group and they will be expected to give leads to you. The idea is to have people in different industries, so a group might have one realtor, one insurance agent, one lawyer, etc.

I have spoken to a BNI group in the past, but had no interest in joining, but they are definitely not a scam.

By the way, the reason why I would have no interest in joining is exactly because of what Dshibb said. If I wanted to do this, I would cut out BNI and hand pick my own group.

If I did join a BNI group or a similar one, this is what I would do:

I would meet everyone individually and try to get their business. After this, I would be able to get leads from them regardless of whether I was in the group or not, so there would be now reason to remain in the group.

I would probably join one temporarily if I was maybe selling something unique because they're just going to hand business to you. If you are an attorney or an accountant it could be a good return on your time. If your in securities or insurance you're wasting your time because those things are just filled with insurance and securities guys.

Regardless of what the situation was I would also do what Brody is suggesting and instantly drop the thing after getting to know the people.

Friend of mine is a member of BNI. He has referred me to a banker that is giving me a portfolio loan and a great rate and an accountant as well. He owns his own cleaning company and has received referrals from it.

As others have said, not a scam at all.

I joined our local BNI chapter in October. Today was my last meeting - I quit.

After a hefty joining fee ($595.00) weekly dues ($3.00) training fees ($25.00 per class) which are required if you want to be able to actually talk about your business in one of the meetings and "Visitor Day" requirements (you have to provide 40 names of people you know to give to BNI to invite to a Visitor Day event - if they chose to attend they will have to pay a $15.00 charge to attend the meeting - as a visitor) I had enough.

Lucky for me I was able to drum up enough referrals to cover my joining fee, so in the end it was a learning experience. Personally, I found BNI to be an average networking group - and I can find those types of groups for free.

You received the "invitation" because a BNI member needed to sell your name to the group to continue with their own membership. On the white board at this morning's BNI meeting, mine name was the only one with a zero behind it. I won't sell out my contacts to a high pressure group so they can make a buck.

^ I'm with stupid

Best thing I've ever done! Been in BNI for 10 years, and my 2nd largest customer is a direct referral from BNI. I don't make cold calls anymore, and 80% of the referrals given to me are sales. I give about the same number as I get. That's the beauty. It's not a leads group, it's much more. We develop relationships and are founded on "Giver's Gain". All of you who are trashing BNI are myopic in your view of what BNI can do for you. You don't "sell" to us, you treat us as your salespeople and it's our job to find business for you...then, we will get business in return.

This sounds like that Amway which they now have at Citi Field in Queens.

Anybody find it ironic that the OP asks if it's scam because every really really glowing review of it happens to be a new sign up, and then later in the thread here the most glowing review out of them all is someone who's 1 (and only) post up to this point has been about how great BNI is?

cougarnut said:   For instance, at this website:
http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=117590
Every poster that is in favor of them seems to have signed up for that singular purpose. Lots of shills.


And 1st time poster Stevijay, 1-hour after registering says:
Stevijay said:   Best thing I've ever done! Been in BNI for 10 years, and my 2nd largest customer is a direct referral from BNI. I don't make cold calls anymore, and 80% of the referrals given to me are sales. I give about the same number as I get. That's the beauty. It's not a leads group, it's much more. We develop relationships and are founded on "Giver's Gain". All of you who are trashing BNI are myopic in your view of what BNI can do for you. You don't "sell" to us, you treat us as your salespeople and it's our job to find business for you...then, we will get business in return.

o_O

These schemes seem to thrive n recessions, In the eighties, I was in partnership with a friend in the building trade, and we must have had letters/phone calls every month or so from similar organisations - all variations on a similar theme: i.e. join our 'club' and get referrals, cut out the competition, 'more business than you can handle' etc. Eventually we stumped up the 50 to join one - we were short of work (as were most tradesmen in the early eighties, in the UK.)It wasn't this particular network, but a similar one. They all work basically the same way: only one business person for each trade/profession allowed, and referrals are a two way street - you have to give as well as receive. But remember - there's no competition, and you haven't a clue who you're really recommending. We did get one referral - carried out the work... and waited 18 months to get paid - and only then after suing in the county court and sending the bailiffs in. We (rather reluctantly) recommended a solicitor in the group to a good customer of ours. We heard later (the customer never did business with us again) that he'd botched the sale of his house, cost him thousands in the process, and was later jailed for four years for stealing over 250,000 from the estate of one of his clients. A few years later I bought a business from a business transfer agent who was obviously in one of these cosy clubs. He recommended a 'financial adviser' to us, who arranged a mortgage, who in turn recommended a solicitor, etc, etc. When I met the solicitor for the first time, I didn't like the looks of him: frankly, he gave me the creeps. I got back to the financial advisor and told him I preferred to use my own solicitor. He kicked up a hell of a stink - saying he was pulling out of the deal, threatening to sue me for wasting his own time, etc., - all sorts of threats. Reluctantly I gave in and used his solicitor. A couple of years later I needed proof of the transaction and rang the solicitor's office. The business had changed hands. The solicitor I'd dealt with, and now wished to speak to was, the receptionist told me, on the run in the South of Spain. I was in a venue where a meeting of the local 'chapter' of this outfit(sound like Hells Angels to me)was being held recently. Over-hearing the garbage coming from the head table in the meeting, I wouldn't trust one of them as far as I could throw them. That's a personal opinion, granted, but schemes such as these are basically promoting monopoly (by only allowing one trade per 'chapter') that goes against everything that free enterprise stands for, is bad for the customers, and eventually bad for the tradespeople who become involved. Unfortunately quite a few honest people, desperate for work, get sucked in at times like these. I'd be very wary indeed of becoming involved with any organisation that 'fines' its members simply for not attending - it may not be a cult - it may not be, strictly speaking, pyramid selling, but it seems, from what I heard, to be spending most of its time promoting itself and pressuring members to recruit other new members. that's pretty damned close, in my opinion - and bearing in mind the fact that the groups never actually produceanything (just pass on names) it come as close as the description allows, to a scam.



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