Networking in Springfield provides confidence boost

Networking isn’t just about gaining business – sure that’s why we all make the effort to meet new people and develop our contacts – but, often, there are by-products such as improving the ability to speak in public, grow in confidence, develop friendships, and grow ideas, and gain new friends. If you’re a new business owner, entrepreneur, or looking to develop your brand you need to consider visiting one – or all three – of the BNI groups in Springfield, Illinois. 

Jeremy Gebhardt of American Family Insurance in Springfield has been a member of BNI for three years having heard about the networking group from coworkers. “They were in other groups and shared how it had impacted their business,” he said. “I decided to join BNI because I liked how the networking meetings were structured. Not many networking groups or events provide exclusivity to your industry and most are a free for all. I also liked how everyone has to pay to play and there is an attendance policy. This places both a financial and a time commitment, and I knew that every week I would get to present to 15-20 people no matter what.” 
Jeremy, who is a member of the Springfield Thursday Morning Business Builders said BNI has made a huge impact on his business. “I’ve received many good referrals and grown my business, but I’ve also developed strong professional relationships and connections. Many of the referrals that I have received have become great customers, and I have even received additional referrals from those customers.”
Jeremy added that BNI is great for those who need to network to develop their brain, raise awareness of their products or services, and meet new people even if they aren't natural social or forthcoming. “Even those who are quiet get the opportunity to give a little presentation each week. In other groups, those individuals sit in the corner even though they have a great product or service and could really add value to the group.”
Handyman Gerald Klopfer launched his business in 2006 and joined BNI just three years later. “I was approached by a lady who was in BNI at that time. She heard that I was doing handyman/carpenter work and explained what BNI was and how it could benefit me and my business,” said Gerald. “After hearing her explain the possible benefits for my type of business I decided to give it a try.”
As well as gaining business by being a member of BNI’s Springfield Thursday Morning Business Builders, Gerald has also been able to develop new ideas too. “What I've gained probably most from being a BNI member is 2 fold, it generates on-going and new business and possible leads for new business and the friendship/camaraderie with the other BNI member's in my group and other BNI groups in the city.”
Gerald has also improved his public speaking and gained in confidence over the years. “I've learned to be a better speaker in public because it was hard at first being able to get up in front of people and speak about myself and my business.”
Marianne Jackson, the Branch Manager of US BANK, 2501 S. Veterans Parkway, like Gerald, has been a member since 2006. She said there are so many good reasons to join a BNI chapter. “You have 20 members who know 20 people each at least - that is 400 contacts right there who know 20 other people,” she said. “I have lifelong friends from BNI. And, when I get in a bind at work and need a good referral for something specific, I can find it at BNI.”
Marianne, who is also a member of Springfield Thursday Morning Business Builders, agrees with Jeremy and Gerald that there is so much more to networking through BNI than gaining referrals. “BNI offers training, motivation, and speaking opportunities you do not get in other groups. Weekly training and [an opportunity to] develop real friendships and business partnerships.”
Marianne said she wouldn’t be without BNI. “BNI is the only group that actually gives me successful leads. We hold each other accountable for referrals. It truly is the only group that has given me closed business.”