We encourage you to visit a chapter before joining BNI. Without the benefit of having experienced one of our inspiring meetings, the information below may seem strict. BNI requires a commitment as shown below, and that commitment, without knowing the benefits, may suggest BNI is not for you. We rarely find that to be true, and feel it is important you visit a chapter in order to understand all that BNI has to offer.
If you haven't visited a chapter, STOP. Click HERE to find a chapter in which your professional category isn't taken. Ok, I know you want to know more about what BNI is. Watch the video below. This is a 90 minute BNI meeting culled down to 4 minutes.
Now that you have visited a BNI Alabama chapter and decided you wanted to learn more about becoming a member, let's make sure you have all the information you need to make a solid decision. Now you can get started building your business and increasing revenues with referral, network marketing.
BNI Code of Ethics
Because referral business relies primarily on you receiving references based on your work performance, and providing references to other people about another member's work, ethics are of the utmost importance to the BNI Alabama membership. You want to be certain, for instance, that anyone you refer business to, will complete the job for the amount quoted, in the time frame agreed upon. As a visitor or a new member, you should know that every new BNI member is required to abide by the following Code of Ethics:
To provide the quality of services at the prices quoted
To be truthful with members and their referrals
To build goodwill and trust among members and their referrals
To take responsibility for following up on the referrals received
To display a positive and supportive attitude at all times
To live up to the ethical standards of my profession
Attendance is one of the most important commitments you make to your BNI Chapter. By joining BNI Alabama, you are committing to being present at weekly meetings, and not letting absences exceed more than three in any 6-month period. When you are absent from a meeting, members can't get to know you or learn about your business. People must get to know you, like you, and trust you, in order to get you the referrals you want. With the exception of medical leaves (8 weeks) preapproved by the Membership Committee, they may issue a warning if you are persistently tardy, absent, or leave early.
To help you abide by the attendance policy, we have a substitution program. If you know you are going to be unable to attend a meeting, someone else can attend the meeting in your place. Potential substitutes may include your customers, clients, patients, friends, family, employees, and former members. According to Executive Director, Meaghan Chitwood, "A substitute should be any professional who can represent your business for 90 minutes and share your sales manager moment with the chapter. Your substitute advances information about your business to the group and provides a fresh face representing your business for whom the group may never have met otherwise. It's a win-win situation."
A very important component in making referral marketing successful for you, Givers Gain® advances the idea that the more you give, the more you are going to get. For this reason, chapters expect every member to bring forward referrals, provide quality testimonials, and invite visitors to the chapter, all in the spirit of making everyone more successful in their businesses. As a member, if you contribute as much as you can, you will be successful.
If you represent a multilevel marketing company, you may only sell and refer your products and services, but not the business opportunity itself.
The Chapter Membership Committee will review your application, paying close attention to:
Any competitive aspects between your professional specialty and the professional specialties of any existing members of the Chapter
Your business references
What you expect to gain from the Chapter
What you plan to contribute to the Chapter
Clarity of personal information so you are accessible to all members during business hours only
Your written commitment to BNI mandates on attendance & referral/guests
If we haven't answered all your questions, below is a list of frequently asked questions or you can click HERE to talk to a business networking consultant that can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can anyone join a chapter?
A: We only take one person per professional specialty. So if you are a residential real estate person and we already have one, we can refer you to another chapter, or allow you to open another chapter. Of course, if you are a commercial real estate person, you could be eligible to join this chapter.
Q: How do you know new members are reputable?
A: The application asks for references and we have a membership committee that checks them. It's word of mouth, so before they even come to a meeting they have to have spoken to someone or been invited by someone in the group. Everyone has to have a sponsor, or one is assigned to them, and they interview them.
Q: What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?
A: We have an ethics committee and it is imperative that anyone who gives a lead and finds out it was not satisfactorily handled must report that to the membership committee, who will investigate.
Q: What occupations benefit the most from networking?
A: It is not the occupation, it is the individual. The occupation can be anything. If you're focused and you have a dream and you're willing to make a sacrifice, you are the person we want in the group.
Q: Are members supposed to bring visitors?
A: You're encouraged to bring visitors for those occupations that are open, after the visitor has been prescreened, if they're a viable candidate. It's pretty much a closed meeting except for potential members.
Q: Do ethical rules for certain professions prohibit participation in BNI?
A: BNI understands the importance of the ethical concerns governing certain professions and acknowledges that rules can differ by location. As such, BNI therefore requires its members to uphold the rules of its profession so as not to violate the professional's ethical obligations. In the event that BNI's general rules could potentially violate a professional's ethical code, BNI's rules are superseded by the dictates of the professional's ethics' code. Significantly, a primary objective of BNI is to educate its membership in ways to market and grow business. It is BNI's intent to ensure that this is permitted.
Q: If I specialize in a field within my profession, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects of my profession?
A: BNI understands that many professions are broad and that people often specialize within their profession. BNI does not expect, nor does it encourage, any professional to participate in an area in which the professional does not have expertise. On the contrary, BNI prohibits professionals from acting outside of the scope of their abilities.
Q: My profession does not let me directly solicit business. Is BNI still right for me?
A: BNI's primary objective is to assist its members in ways to improve their business and to educate them concerning how they can effectively network. Business people get business when their expertise is known and others reach a comfort level with them. BNI provides a forum that allows members to meet other business peers who need to know effective and efficient business people.