Coast networking group

Coastal Business Connections, a local chapter of the International BNI, is looking to welcome new members.

Twenty-four people are working to bring new business to Kristen Saurini, business development and office manager at Davis & Massey Insurance Agency.

Actually, all 25 members of Coastal Business Connections, the local arm of Business Network International, [BNI] are working to bring new business to each other.

Coastal Business Connections is a networking and referral group with the philosophy that “givers gain.” By giving business to others, members get business in return.

“We have 25 people in the group, so I have 24 people working in my behalf as sales people for my company,” said Saurini, who is the president of the local chapter.

“They are out referring my name and my business into the local community, and in return, I do the same for them.”

During one week in May, the local group “Passed more than $25,000 in closed business,” she said.

Since February, Coastal Business Connections has seen more than $125,000 in closed business.

According to its website, www.bni.com, “the mission of BNI is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referral marketing program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.”

There is a membership application fee and an annual membership fee.

Coastal Business Connections, which encompasses all of the Grand Strand, meets every Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. at C3 Coffee in University Commons.

Those meetings are mandatory for members, which, Saurini said, creates accountability.

People interested in the networking group can just show up at a meeting, or call Saurini at 843-839-9229.

Visit www.BNIsoutheast.com or see Coastal Business Connections on Facebook.

Owners or representatives of their businesses include real estate agents, electricians, medical personnel, plumbers, mortgage brokers, pest control companies and others.

Membership is “seat protected,” which means it is open to only one business of each kind.

“We look at each membership as a seat at the table,” Saurini said. “I am the property and casualty agent in this group, and nobody else can come in and represent that business unless I leave the group.”

The chapter president added, “Nobody leaves though, because nobody wants to give up their spot.”

Business categories are, she said, endless, and there are many open categories.

“A Mary Kay lady, a jewelry lady, a newspaper…any kind of business can join.”

The parent group, BNI, has more than 240,000 members with more than 8,500 chapters.

In 2017, BNI referrals generated $13.6 billion for its members.

“I’m super excited and I hope we can rival some of the showcase chapters which are Myrtle Beach and Surfside, and become one of the larger chapters,” Saurini said about the Coastal Business Connections chapter.

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