Local brand built through BNI

by Mackenzie McCarty10 May 2012

It was only three months into his mortgage broking career – back in late 2007 - when Andrew Skinner first heard about Business Networking International – or BNI.

“I got involved through a client,” he says. “The client had a relatively new business as well, and he started telling me about BNI and within three months a position had come up.”

A broker with Aussie Home Loans in Hampstead Gardens in Adelaide, Skinner says BNI meetings have become a regular part of his Friday morning routine ever since.

And the results are impressive. Though admittedly a large time commitment per week, Skinner says meetings yield quantifiable business – a reason he keeps coming back.

“It was hard to start with, but it has become part of my routine. I’d feel strange if I got up on a Friday morning now and didn’t go to a meeting. The leads have been something that have grown and grown. On average I get a good half a dozen well-qualified leads on a monthly basis, and while dollar value is up and down, from that perspective it does cover the time.”

For Skinner, the formalised structure of the referral meetings – as well as everybody being in the room for the same business building purpose – was a good reason to join the group.

And he says it is a complement to Aussie’s ‘big brand’ marketing. “Being with Aussie, whatever I may do is like a drop in the ocean, so I like to promote myself locally,” he explains. “When I got to BNI meetings, I talk more about my personal experiences and what I do as opposed to the brand I work with, as I don’t need to push that,” he said.

Skinner says he has managed to build solid referral relationships with a ‘core group’ of local BNI members, including an investment property dealer and IT professionals.

He recommends any broker not involved in a local BNI chapter should consider joining.

“The mortgage broking seat is one of the seats most quickly filled, so it may be a struggle to find a lot of chapters that don’t have one,” he said. “But I’d recommend checking it out to see what they think. I’m sure all brokers have been to a networking function, but the difference with BNI is the format, which is structured and professional,” he says.


  • by Ian 10/05/2012 9:56:07 AM

    Absolutely agree. I have been in BNI for 10 years and would write about half my business from BNI referrals.
    BNI is limited to only one of each business type, but if the broker spot in your local chapter is full, start your own chapter. Contact the local director from the bni.com.au website.

  • by MelbBroker 10/05/2012 11:41:00 AM

    It really depends on the chapter you join. I put in over 3 years with BNI and in the end I couldn't justify the significant time commitment with the level of business being referred. Good luck tho!

  • by Positive Broker 10/05/2012 1:16:36 PM

    I agree with Melb broker. 18 months and 1 successful lead! Having said that I know another BNI chapter in my area that perhaps really well and I have since joined a similar networking group which works well. Just google networking groups in your area.