Saturday, August 23, 2014

New BNI chapter kicks off in Windham this week - By Michelle Libby

On Tuesday morning close to 75 people gathered at the Windham Veterans Center to network as members and guests of the newest chapter of BNI in Maine. This makes the total chapters in the state to 24. Tim Roberts owns five BNI franchises which includes over 109 chapters from Maine to Florida. His passion is the “sexy topic of networking.” He dropped by to speak to the group about networking and how not to waste time doing it wrong. 

“Ninty-nine percent of people who are networking are completely wasting their time. We are the largest structured business organization,” Roberts said. 

BNI was formed as a way for small businesses to learn how to and to network in an environment where they have business relationships with business owners in all industries. At BNI only one business from each industry is in each chapter. Once that slot is filled, another real estate agent for example, could not fill that opening.  

He encouraged referrals. “Closing ratios are higher with good referrals when they are efficient, effective and enjoyable. That makes business fun to do,” said Roberts. 

Most businesses fail in the first three years because they have been beat down by the word “no”. The world is changing into a word of mouth marketing system, he said. People are looking for value. They buy when the perceived value is higher. They also look for trust and credibility when working with someone. 

Referrals with BNI are helpful because A. The person is in the market for what you provide. B. They know they’re in the market. C. We’ve already talked about you and they’re waiting for a call. Those are the successful referrals BNI is based on. In Maine $75 million net has flowed through the local economy with referrals, said Roberts. 

BNI and Roberts want to make sure that their members are successful by providing member success training and other educational opportunities. Through podcasts and other media, the members are able to learn how to market their business and be successful.

“I love the word success because everyone has a different definition of it,” said Roberts. BNI wants to help small business owners become more effective and efficient. “Don’t get so busy working in your business that you’re not working on your business,” he concluded.

There are still openings in the new BNI Lake Region Business Alliance. For more information about that chapter or others, contact Jason Buchanan, Managing Director of BNI Maine at or Kelly Mank, Director Consultant BNI Maine at

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