Is Anyone Better Than BNI?

Is Anyone Better Than BNI?

Without a doubt, BNI is the most recognizable and most popular referral organization in the networking world. With over 200,000 members and chapters throughout the globe, BNI has proved to the world that their take on networking works. In fact, BNI introduced the concept of having one seat per profession in each group, since it does not make any sense for a business professional to pay a fee for a shared seat.

Other networking groups such as Team and LeTip have attempted for decades to take market share for BNI, but to no avail. So is there truly only one option when considering joining a referral group? Is there no one better? Perhaps there is. Merely a few miles from where BNI was born is a new player in the networking world: MNO. 

Launched merely 3 years ago in 2019, MNO has been posting on various social media groups and platforms that they are better than BNI. But does this bold statement bare any weight? And who is MNO?

Before we get to what MNO stands for and how it started, we wanted to highlight 3 ways MNO is better than BNI:

1. The App

Technology has become the main driver for innovation for almost every industry, and the networking world is no exception. Noting how quickly the world is changing, the evolution of the way business is done is assuredly headed into the virtual realm. Businesses are starting to operate less frequently in person and are taking transactions electronically and appointments via platforms like Zoom and Google Meet. 

MNO has taken the first step in launching a revolutionary proprietary app that allows its members to share each others business links on social media with just a couple of clicks. The result of members collectively sharing each others links is organic traffic, which of course leads to new business without the need for costly advertising.

There are countless stories of members receiving inquiries for their businesses in response to social media posts about their products or services. Most recently, a financial advisor from one of their Southern California chapters, scheduled an appointment for a family seeking a college savings plan. They had seen a post on a Facebook group where a particular post about 529 plans on his business page was shared. All it took was a member from the financial advisor’s chapter to share his link using the MNO Member App. 

Not only is the app a link-sharing tool, but it’s also a logging mechanism that keeps track of the shares members do for each other. Additionally, the app sends a notification to the member letting them know that that particular member shared their link. 

BNI does not offer this feature in their app and they don’t consider the sharing of links as a networking activity.

2. Visitors

If you’ve ever been in a networking group, you know that visitors bring new life to the weekly meetings as these new visits bring new opportunities for each member as well as the visitors. On the flip side, having a weekly meeting with no visitors almost always creates a very discomforting air. This is mostly due to the fact that the meetings are conducted with the assumption that visitors will be in attendance. Another reason is because it’s a missed opportunity for the members to find new connections through whom they can grow their business.

To address this, MNO allocates part of its membership fees towards their inviting department to ensure that new visitors attend these weekly meetings. MNO staff is on social media every week promoting their networking zooms to give new and existing businesses an opportunity to promote their business and make new connections.

In fact, they invented the Post and Promo method, which serves as an effective way to find these entrepreneurs. Social media is filled with businesses looking for a way to meet other local business owners, and these weekly zooms offer visitors a one-time opportunity to meet them. Membership is offered to visitors whose seats are available, but the main purpose for their visit is to be introduced to the members in hopes opportunities arise. 

BNI does not have an inviting department, and instead puts a major focus on encouraging its own members to do all of the inviting. Indeed, the members benefit as the group grows in membership, but this prioritized focus on inviting detracts from the members’ efforts to pass referrals to each other. 

3. Membership terms

MNO realizes that with the national and global economy receding, cash flow is extremely critical for an entrepreneur. This is why membership is monthly and not annual. Another reason for the monthly membership is that it acts as a motivational force for MNO to continually provide value for its members. This is done by offering free trainings on how to become a better networker, providing new visitors every week, and to continuing to add unique features to the already-revolutionary MNO Member App. 

If you’re in a referral group, you may also have experienced member fatigue where a member “checks out” and stops providing value for their fellow members. They still attend the meetings and maybe schedule a meeting or two a month with members, but the passion and drive to pass referrals is gone. Monthly memberships allow members to step down when it’s time without losing out on unused months.

BNI memberships are annual and they take full payment up front with no refunds for members who wish to step down. This creates scenarios such as members who are already paid up stick around in hopes of receiving business but have lost the desire and passion to pass business to the members. 

These are just three of ways that MNO is promoting that they’re better than BNI. But there are many more; in fact MNO has created a comparison chart to highlight the others which you’ll find below. 

An MNO Comp Chart An MNO Comp Chart

A little about MNO

MNO is a networking organization based out of Tustin, CA and were launched in 2019 by ex-BNI director Emo Alaeddin. In addition to being a business owner and professional networker, Emo is a prolific musician and produces his own original music under his last name Alaeddin. He came up with the concept of the app when he released his latest album and could not get a single member of his BNI group to attend a show or share his album on social media. Except for one: the life insurance agent of the group, whom we’ll get to in just a bit. 

Before the app was developed, Emo put together his first group (mostly of musicians) to come together and share each others links on social media and log them on an excel sheet. When the first group was successfully formed, Emo stepped down from BNI as a director and a member to focus on what he named Music Network One, or MNO. In celebration of the launch of the first group which he called The Founders MNO, Emo invited his friend, the life insurance agent of his former BNI chapter, Melissa Levin to attend. 

During that one meeting, two of the musicians who attended sent her referrals and she was able to promote and support both musicians in return. Despite her being a business professional, she submitted her application for membership at the close of the MNO meeting that she attended. Melissa saw MNO more than just a group for musicians, but something bigger. Something for all. 

MNO allows only one seat per profession, but it allows multiple musicians to join since they don’t need the exclusivity to secure posts and shares by their fellow members. This unique two-tier system allows MNO chapters to potentially grow to sizes much larger than BNI that does not have a shared tier for musicians. 

The false narrative has always been that MNO is just for musicians. But with one visit, you will find that MNO is truly for all. What brings these different industries together is their collective desire to help each other grow and find new opportunities. 

So is anyone better than BNI? Is MNO better than BNI? Only one person can decide: you.

Music Network One, Inc or MNO is currently run and operated by Emo and Melissa, who married in March of 2022. 

Wedding Reception photo Wedding Reception Photo Wedding Ceremony Emo & Melissa on the beach

Visitors: the Easiest Way to Pass Referrals

Visitors: the Easiest Way to Pass Referrals

Inviting Visitors is easier than you think

Six Ways to Play it Forward in Networking (Part 4): Inviting

The fourth installment of our blog series will focus on ways to invite visitors to your networking event. But first, we will cover why a culture of continuous inviting is a great way to help those in your network grow their business as well as yours.

Why invite?

A big part of networking is nurturing relationships with existing members of your referral group. Moreover, a great way to strengthen these relationships is to introduce your members to new connections. In the world of networking,  professionals strive to pass referrals to each other, but often overlook inviting as an effective method to generate referrals. Although you’ll want to invite entrepreneurs looking to promote their own business, you’ll find that they’ll have a need for the services of one or more of your fellow members. And those two reasons is why you should have a routine of continuous inviting.

Who should we invite?

In a nutshell, all should be welcome to attend a networking event, regardless of whether their seat is taken or not. Although this may sound counter-productive because they wouldn’t be able to join the group, you have to remember why you are inviting in the first place. If it’s to generate new business for your fellow members, then it doesn’t really matter whether they join or not. As an example, the mortgage broker in your chapter would love for you to invite a realtor every week to the meeting despite the chapter already having a realtor. Introducing the mortgage broker to a new realtor every week gives them the opportunity to grow their business through those new connections. The realtor in the group should not feel threatened by a one-time visitor attending a meeting since they stand no chance of earning referrals from the members with established trust.

How should one invite?

When joining a referral group like MNO, members enjoy a unique benefit of having new visitors every week. This because they have devised a highly effective two-part method to invite called the Post and Promo method.

The first part involves generating a post on a local business group on Facebook. There are a handful of business groups on Facebook that are local to all US metro areas, each with a least a thousand members looking to grow their business. The language of the post should include an announcement of the day and time that your group meets and that you meet in order to pass referrals to each other.

As replies are generated on the post, you’ll have a wide selection of entrepreneurs expressing interest in attending the zoom. Depending on your group, you’ll want to send them the information that they’ll need in order to attend. MNO has a great feature in its app that allows members to register visitors to attend with just a couple of clicks. Visitors will get a reminder the day of, thus ensuring a higher attendance rate.

MNO is quite unique in that its members use its revolutionary link-sharing app to promote each other on social media. Most of the entrepreneurs that you’ll find on social media groups like Facebook groups understand the value of sharing links on social media. Organic traffic helps websites and profiles climb search ranks and often generate new business from this traffic.

The second part of the Post and Promo method is perusing these same Facebook groups and seeking businesses that generate their own posts to promote their business. Simply replying to their posts and inviting them to attend your meeting and promote their business there tends to spark interest since attending will satisfy their need of getting their business out there.

Make the most of the visitors

When visitors attend a meeting for the first time, they are sometimes a little nervous. It’s very important that you welcome them and introduce them to members who would make great connections.

This introduction could act as a catalyst to generating new business for your fellow member. If a referral is generated from this introduction, you’re building a stronger relationship with your member who will do what they can to pass a referral to you in return.

The Followup

Don’t forget that you’re also looking to grow your own business, so when the meeting is over make sure to reach out to the visitor and offer your services. It’s recommended that you share their business links in one of the various Facebook groups and tag them too. This small act could help them decide to use your services or recommend you to their network of friends, clients, or family members.

 

MNO: The Alternative to Traditional Networking

Fortunately, there’s a California-based company called MNO that developed an app that makes all what we suggested possible. The MNO Member App allows members to share others’ links across social media in a more effective way than ads.

Members create and share each others’ links through the app on social media in order to build each others’ business. Members also use the app to log all referrals passed between each other. In turn, members are able to log business bucks that are generated by these referrals. These logs help elevate the stature of members who play it forward to others, and this stature helps bring referrals their way. This is because there’s an understanding that they are a professional networker and know how to pass referrals to others.

If you’d like to visit an MNO chapter and promote your business one of our networking zooms, click here and register to attend. You can also visit their Facebook page to learn more. These zooms give a glimpse of the MNO Member App as well as a chance to meet other professionals.

Referrals Referrals

 

Sharing on Social Media for Others

Sharing on Social Media for Others

Posting for Others

Six Ways to Play it Forward in Networking (Part 1)

As most of us know, karma is real. What you put into the world is what you get out of it. In the world of networking, Play it Forward means helping others build their business in hopes of them helping grow yours. Sharing the links for your fellow professionals is the way to go.

Selflessness is a virtue and it is a trait that is becoming increasingly prevalent in the world of networking. Entrepreneurs are realizing that as they create opportunities for other professionals, their actions are reciprocated.

In this six part series, we’ve put together a list of the most effective ways for you to play it forward. This selfless act will in return help bring new business your way.

Sharing links for others

Since the pandemic, most entrepreneurs have taken their businesses online and now offer their services virtually. The challenge has now become how to market themselves effectively, especially on social media.

There are groups on LinkedIn and Facebook as well as searchable hashtags on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. These groups enable us to share business links to prospects that fit our demographics as well as location preferences. If one would like to expand their business in California, they can share their links on a Facebook group like this one.

Three types of posts that you can share

Instead of sharing your own links, try sharing the link of a person you’d like to network with. If you’re a mortgage broker, for example share the link for a realtor you’d like to partner up with. Make sure you post in certain groups that will put the realtor in front of prospects hoping to live in the area that they cover.

You may want to also share links that cover a few aspects of their business. If we stick to the realtor example, you can share links that promote their services as a listing agent. This may entice those who are considering selling their home to choose your trusted realtor. You can also share links that will promote their services as a buying agent. These types of posts may entice those who are moving to the area and are looking for a realtor.

Another out of the box idea would be to create a post in business groups that you’re looking for a financial advisor.  Financial advisors love partnering up with realtors to share clients, and your post will introduce one to your realtor. In the world of networking, these are called connections and they are the gifts that keep on giving.

Additionally, you’ll find that sharing a link to your realtor’s Facebook business page, LinkedIn, Instagram, or even TikTok would be helpful. As their followers grow, the platform will  recommend their profile to other users looking for those services. Engagement, although indirect, is a great way to help the realtor that you’re trying to build a relationship with.

Make it known that you’re sharing

Next, you’ll want to let the realtor know that you’ve shared their links. They’ll know that your efforts may bring them new clients. We help others in hopes that others help us in return, so  make it known that you’ve played it forward for them.

Don’t hesitate to ask for a playback, as most people need to be asked before they act. Networkers know that if they play it back to you, you’ll continue sharing their links too. This will further increase the chances of securing each other prospects or connections.

The App that Simplifies Sharing on Social Media

Fortunately, there’s a California-based company called MNO that developed an app that makes all what we recommended to do easier, faster, and more effective in getting it all done. The MNO Member app allows members to create what are called feature links which are then shared by their fellow members across social media with just one click of the button.

Feature links can be created to build a member’s social media profile likes, locate them new clients, or connect them with other professionals who can recommend each other to their clients.

What’s also great about the app is that a notification is sent out to the member whose link is shared letting them know that that member has shared their links. This notification is designed to entice the member to play it back to their fellow member and share their link in return.

If you’d like to visit an MNO chapter and promote your business via a fun and engaging hour-long networking zoom, click here and register to attend. You’ll also get a tour of the MNO Member App and hear from all the members how they played it forward for each other.

MNO App posts directly to any platform

The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App

Next Article: Part 2. Sessions

There are so many other great ways to play it forward in the world of networking. Next month we will cover how sessions can be a great way to play it forward and build your business.

Sessions: the Best Use of Networking

Sessions: the Best Use of Networking

MNO

Six Ways to Play it Forward in Networking (Part 2): MNO Sessions

The second installment of our blog series will focus on the difference between regular meetings and MNO sessions.

A session is when a professional meets with another professional in order to build relationships.

What are MNO Sessions?

But what’s the difference between regular meetings and MNO Sessions? Well, the MNO session has a few added elements than just a conversation or presentation.

  1. Each professional has a list of questions that their fellow professional can ask about their own business. Moreover, these member questionnaires serves as a way to elaborate more on what they in a more engaging way. This question/answer format encourages more interaction between the members and keeps the questioner plugged in. The two members takes 25 minutes on each others’ session questionnaires.
  2. The 10 remaining minutes of the hour long MNO session allows each of the members to like and invite their Facebook pages or other external sites.
  3. In addition to liking and inviting a couple of friends to like or follow, the two members can give each other an online review or testimonial.
  4. If a member thinks of a friend or family member that may be interested in their member’s service, music, or upcoming event, they can qualify these leads by reaching out to them inquiring about their service.
  5. If they respond with an interest in connecting with your fellow member, make that introduction and BOOM there’s a referral to your member. When you pass a referral to someone, you’ve created a window of opportunity for you to receive referrals from that member.
  6. The 10-minute activities portion of the session ensures that we are putting words into action.

LMNO: Sessions

MNO offers a more in-depth training on MNO Sessions via their online trainings LMNO. You can become a member of MNO and access their numerous networking trainings including LMNO Sessions. It starts with a visit to any one of their networking meetings that they hold throughout the week.

MNO: The Alternative to Traditional Networking

Fortunately, there’s a California-based company called MNO that developed an app that makes all what we suggested possible. The MNO Member App allows members to share others’ links across social media in a more effective way than ads.

Members create and share each others’ links through the app on social media in order to build each others’ business.

What’s also great about the app is that it sends out helpful notifications. This notification is designed to entice the member to play it back to their fellow member and share their link in return.

If you’d like to visit an MNO chapter and promote your business one of our networking zooms, click here and register to attend. You can also visit their Facebook page to learn more. These zooms give a glimpse of the MNO Member App as well as a chance to meet other professionals.

Log Sessions with the MNO Member App

A screenshot of the MNO Member App

MNO App posts directly to any platform

The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App The MNO Member App

Next Article: Part 3 – Referrals & Business Bucks

There are so many other great ways to play it forward in the world of networking. Next month, we will cover how giving referrals can be a great way to play it forward and build your business.

Referrals: the Best Way to Build Your Business

Referrals: the Best Way to Build Your Business

Referrals

Six Ways to Play it Forward in Networking (Part 3): Referrals

The third installment of our blog series will focus on what referrals are and also how to generate them.

Professionals define referrals in many different ways, but we hope that our definition of a referral helps you understand the importance of passing referrals to others

What are referrals?

Most entrepreneurs and business owners are usually happy to add more clients to their business. Moreover, they’d rather bring on more clients with as little expense and effort as possible. In the world of networking, referrals are the cheapest and most effective way to build your business. There are two types of referrals: prospects referrals and connection referrals. Each referral type has its own definition and benefits, but they do share two elements that qualify them as referrals. But first, what are the differences between a prospect and a connection?

Prospect Referrals

Prospect referrals quite simply are potential clients who may sign up to use a professional’s services. Depending on the professional, a prospect may be either a business, an individual or both. But in a nutshell, a prospect pays for the professional’s services and in turn becomes their client. When joining a referral group like MNO, members pass each other prospect referrals to help build each others’ businesses. Aside from referral groups, professionals can pass each other prospect referrals as a way to help their fellow professionals but also those that they refer.

Top prospects are identifying factors of your typical clients so that others can easily source them for you. Identifying your top prospects should be a priority as an entrepreneur or business owner because these identifying factors are what your referral group members should be looking for. Examples of top prospects could be California businesses with 50 or less employees, empty nesters located in the Tustin area, or medical professionals in the California area.

Connection Referrals

Connections referrals are what we call the gift that keeps on giving. Unlike prospect referrals, connection referrals are not directly in need of the professionals services. Rather, they are introduced to the professionals so that they can partner up and recommend each others’ services to their clients. When joining a referral group like MNO, members pass each other connection referrals as an effort to help expand the network of trusted professionals for each other outside of their respective groups.

Top connections are certain professions who are able to refer business to you as part of their process of onboarding or nurturing clients. Typically, they are professions in the same industry who do not compete, but in fact whose services complement each other. An example of top connections would be CPAs and financial advisor or realtors and mortgage lenders. These top connections can easily recommend each others’ clients without risk of losing business. In fact, recommending each other helps build their own brands as being the go-to professionals for any needs that their clients may have.

Referrals’ two requirements

Before passing a referral to a fellow professional, you’ll want to satisfy two requirements: the need and the intro. Without satisfying both requirements the opportunity is merely a lead, and we do not advise passing leads to each other.

The Need

Even though the prospect may fit all the identifying factors for the person you’re referring to, they may not have a need for their services. An example of that is when referring a home owner to mortgage broker when they’d just signed mortgage docs three weeks prior. Establishing the need is extremely important since it prevents wasting both parties’ time. Establishing the need also applies to a connection referral. This is because they may already have an exclusive partnership with someone else and would have no need to connect.

The Introduction

Without making a formal introduction between a professional and a prospect, you’ll make it extra difficult for the professional to connect with them. For example, if you give the professional a prospect’s contact info, the prospect may never respond. But when you connect them on an email, text, or a phone call you’re bettering the chance of them connecting. The same thing applies to connections; it’s best to make introductions to keep both parties accountable in connecting with each other.

MNO: The Alternative to Traditional Networking

Fortunately, there’s a California-based company called MNO that developed an app that makes all what we suggested possible. The MNO Member App allows members to share others’ links across social media in a more effective way than ads.

Members create and share each others’ links through the app on social media in order to build each others’ business. Members also use the app to log all referrals passed between each other. In turn, members are able to log business bucks that are generated by these referrals. These logs help elevate the stature of members who play it forward to others, and this stature helps bring referrals their way. This is because there’s an understanding that they are a professional networker and know how to pass referrals to others.

If you’d like to visit an MNO chapter and promote your business one of our networking zooms, click here and register to attend. You can also visit their Facebook page to learn more. These zooms give a glimpse of the MNO Member App as well as a chance to meet other professionals.

Referrals Referrals