April 25, 2017

A BNI Success Story: Useful Marketing from a Painter in Medway, MA

Dave Stewart knows what it takes to get the most out of a BNI membership.

how to succeed at BNI


In order to make your BNI membership meaningful, you have to think more about the other group members than you do about yourself. Stop being promotional, and start being useful.

A Painter who Understands the Power of being Useful

In am not a member of BNI. On rare occasions, I substitute for one of my clients. At a more recent BNI event, I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Stewart of Stewart Painting, Medway MA. 

I have only been to a few BNI sessions over the past year. When I started attending the sessions, I was curious to learn how it worked and who was getting results. 

Now that I have met Dave, the formula for BNI success is a simple one. If you want to get referrals from your BNI group, you have to constantly be on the look out for how other BNI group members can be of service to the prospects and customers you encounter.

What is BNI?

BNI_SuccessBusiness Network International is a member only networking group for local business owners. You pay a fee to become part of an exclusive group of business people in your area.

The idea is that people in the group serve each other by giving each other referrals. It’s exclusive in that first, you pay a fee. Second, if you are, for example, a CPA, you might be the only CPA allowed in the group. 

I don’t know for sure if BNI is for everyone. The general concensus seems to be that the more generic your audience is, the more likely you will be to succeed.

For example, an electrician can serve just about anyone. A lawyer who focuses on China Law exclusively, will not get much out of BNI.

What I can say is, of you are in BNI or planning to sign up, the more useful you are, the more likely you will get a return on your BNI membership.


Useful Marketing

Dave wouldn’t know who Jay Baer is if I showed him a picture of Jay. Dave does, however, understand the marketing philosophy of Jay’s book Youtility.

Jay’s perspective is actually pretty simple. If you want to attract people to your business, be useful to them. If you want to get referrals from people, be useful to them. If you want people to talk about your business, be useful to them. 

Just be useful.

3 Ways Dave is Useful

  1. Going Beyond Painting – When Dave goes to a home to provide painting services, or to meet a prospective customer, his mind is not only on his work. In fact, as a matter of course, Dave is scanning the home for trouble spots, keeping an eye open for problems he know other BNI members can solve.
  2. Solving Homeowners Problems – When Dave sees a problem at the home that he knows another member of the BNI group can solve, he connects the homeowner with the other BNI member.
  3. Helping a Business Owner – By connecting the homeowner with another service professional, Dave is not only helping the homeowner, but also contributing to the success of a fellow BNI member.


To my knowledge, Dave get’s more referrals than just about anyone else in the group. In fact, his entire revenue stream comes from these types of referrals, both in and outside of BNI.


Most dentists, lawyers and accountants that I have come into contact with have suggested that they haven’t had much success with BNI. Some of this is probably due to the niche they serve. More likely though, it is due to how they approach BNI.
If you want to become part of BNI, or are already a member, follow Dave’s lead and:
  • Know who the other members are and what they can do.
  • Keep your eyes open for problems that fellow BNI can solve.
  • Connect other BNI members to the people you encounter who need help.

Pretty simple really, and very effective. Just ask Dave.


Most of your BNI referrals are going to check out your internet presence before giving you a call. 





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