“Having 121s with members is a great way to get to know people...”
Case Study: Ian Wilson of Barrett & Coe Photography
Photography is a popular specialism in BNI with a variety of different photographers offering everything from portrait and commercial through to weddings and drone. Portraiture photographer Ian Wilson is with Barrett & Co in Caversham and has been a member of BNI Central in Reading since February 2011. Here he explains how he became involved in BNI and the difference it has made to his business:
“I was invited to BNI by local solicitor Bill Montague actually. Because Bill was recommended to me when I was considering Barrett & Coe. So, I engaged Bill to look over franchise agreements and look after my property and he invited me along to BNI.
“He first invited me in around November 2010. And I finally joined in February 2011 and while Bill is no longer a member, his firm, Dexter Montague, is still represented in the room and still support my business.
“I was very impressed with BNI. I liked the camaraderie and I could see immediately it was a way to get a business known in a very wide area very quickly. Referrals came gradually.
I picked up a couple of marketing partnerships with a couple of the guys, where they gave my family gift packs to their customers. Some came along for some of their own personal portraiture and that just gradually gathered pace. Referrals covered the investment in BNI in the first year and continues to grow ever since. From my own marketing efforts, I would say about a third of business comes from BNI.
“Having 121s with members is a great way to get to know people and I us BNI for print, personal Virtual Assistant, advice on social media, business, legal advice and more.
“The best portrait photography reflects the personality and character of the client. And I can’t just have someone walk through the door straight into the studio and achieve that connection, so everybody, I chat, talk to clients for 15-20 minutes at least before we get close to the studio. And in that time I’ve found lots of people I’ve bought along as visitors – two or three of them have joined, which is nice. But I’m always looking for referrals for my fellow members as well. In conversation anything can come up. Whether it’s moving home, insurance, painting and decorating. All sorts of opportunities for members to help.
Real Member Stories: Studio Photographer
“About a third of my business comes from BNI”
We did a lot of public sector work, we used to attend of public sector networking meetings. Our idea of networking was to go to the functions, drink all the wine, eat the food, stand in the corner and talk to each other. And occasionally chat to other people as well. And thinking back you just realise how utterly clueless you were!
“BNI has changed that and I’ve just learned absolutely masses. Wind back to when I first joined BNI I couldn’t have walked into a room of strangers and feel as comfortable as I do now. I’ve even spent a year as Chapter President, running the meetings and helping to grow the chapter.
“I’m sure that people that really work at BNI will all say that same thing. The training is fantastic value; you’re not going to get this level of training at this level of cost anywhere else.
So is BNI when you look at what you get from it, I think it’s great value for money and I really enjoy it.
Of course, the added benefit that we all have as well, is that I’ve got a huge raft of really trusted friends and suppliers, you know people who I trust and who won’t let me down and who will go over and above the same way that I do for them. It’s real sort of mutual self-help, isn’t it?
“I’m a big advocate of BNI throughout Barrett & Coe, because I train quite a few photographers as they join the group and I always tell them, you should find out your local BNI and join it. But the way to use BNI is not, for me, it’s not looking for work. I don’t go to BNI because I want to take photographs – that’s a bonus. I get that obviously, a lot of guys that ask me to take their corporate shots and I’ve done a couple of weddings through BNI, that sort thing. That’s not what I go for. I go to BNI to distribute my corporate gift packs. To find avenues to distribute my packs, because my packs are the way are the way I market my business to put my name in front of people who are thinking of having portraiture. Through charities, through schools, through businesses giving the packs to their customers to say thank you for their business – that’s how BNI works for me.
Contact Ian Wilson
Call: 01722 820400 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Visit: www.barrettandcoe.co.uk
Tagged as: Product & Consumer Services
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