I was a member of BNI in Smithtown, NY. There were great people in my professional sphere - three attorneys, real estate agent, home inspector, mortgage broker. In the 15 months I spent as a member of BNI, I had to meet at a dinner once a week at 7:00 am, Spent 1,200+ dollars for membership and quarterly breakfast dues, and received 10 appraisal "referrals" in that time. 1 from the real estate agent (his house), 1 from the mortgage broker (his house), 8 from the elder law attorney. I ultimately grossed about $ 4,000.00 and netted about $ 2,700. I didn't think it was worth all that sacrifice. I think BNI works for some people - like print shop owners, florists, caterers, gift baskets comanmies, life insurance or anyone who does repeat or referral business WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC. BUT for an appraiser, business is sporatic, at best, and many times I went long stretches without a referral and would periodically wonder if it was worth it. Until I finally left. The one bright spot - if you are really patient, you can develop good business relationships with professional business people. And I did go away with several good business relationships BUT you have to be reeeeaaaaalllly patient.
I was forced to go with my first mentor years ago. Then when she couldn't go she asked me to fill in for her b/c you HAVE to either go or have someone fill in for you if you can't make it. The meetings were at 6AM in the morning.
Not only are the meetings too early for me but they forced public speaking at that hour. :Eyecrazy: You had to come up with leads for others even if you didn't have any. It all seemed very forced. Honestly the meeting felt like an Amway meeting because everyone was way too anxious and desperate to sell you something. I did see some good in these meetings. I liked the one on ones and the networking theme is great IF you are in a good group.
I prefer the Rotary club! It's really the same thing when it all comes down to it. But the Rotary club actually does things for the community and you are dealing with high quality people who are not there to sell you anything. But when it all comes down to it it's all about networking so joint the group you feel most comfortable with.
I do not think It is worth the time or money from my personal experience. I joined few years ago and I only got 1 order from it the whole year. I had an LO in my group that was working for a large mortgage company and forced by his company to order appraisals through a specific vendor the owner of the company was in bed with. He is a great guy and all but i did not get anything from him because his boss wants him to use somebody else, and there is nothing he can do about it other than quit his job and go work for another company for him to be able to order appraisals from me. My wife will not do it for me, so i did not expect that guy to do it either. Bottom line it is all about luck. you might join a group with an LO that closes 20+ loans a month and he does not like the appraiser he works with, then you will get all his business and it can the other way too.
I was a member of my local bni chapter for about 3 months. The meetings were extremely early and the meetings did not yield much result. Given the members were of various fields, not many in the real estate industry I got a trickle of 2 or 3 orders over those months however when I left the chapter they continued to distribute my cards as I was not replaced. A local loan officer audited one meeting, did not join however took my card and was one of my best clients for years. Plus it kept you on top of your public speaking skills and got your name out. If you can handle the early morning meetings, I doubt it could hurt however I suspect there are better opportunities, more trade defined would probably produce better results.