BNI is the World’s largest networking organization. Did you know that referrals can come from different sources?  On The Official BNI Podcast: Episode 548: Founder and Chief Visionary Chairman Dr. Ivan Misner talks about the five levels of a referral.

  • Level one would be considered a recommendation. You are the one providing the information. Name, number, and business is what is normally shared throughout this level. The individual whom you’ve recommended is aware that their information has been shared.  
  • Level two is where you would share additional information when recommending someone. Such as, their website, business card, and in some instances marketing materials.
  • Level three is where you would give a verbal recommendation. You would spend some time sharing some background information on your referral, and about how you know the individual, etc. This could also be known as a giving a testimonial.
  • Level four, you guessed it, you are the referral source. This is the level where you would introduce your referral and the prospect. This mostly happens during a phone call. You facilitate the meeting so the other two individuals can get to know one another.
  • Lastly, level five is where you now make an in-person introduction with both individuals. There is considerably a lot of time that goes into this level, so you want to make sure it is one of your more serious referrals.

On The Office BNI Podcast: Episode 266: Dr. Misner also shares what he considers would be good referrals.

  1. Tip #1, “listen to other people’s needs
  2. Tip #2, ask them if it’s okay for your BNI colleague to call them
  3. Tip #3, be entirely honest about what you know about both people, if the referral is hot, pass it right away, don’t give marginal referrals”

Referrals within BNI come from various individuals, including, National Directors, members, and even team members looking to expand business opportunities.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining a BNI chapter you can start here. And, if you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Master Franchise within BNI you can find more about the franchise opportunities on our website.

About BNI

The BNI system is comprised of approximately 285,000 members and more than 10,500 chapters operating in over 72 countries and territories worldwide.  BNI has multiple websites to help answer specific questions.  Please visit us at,, and

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