Q: Can anyone join a chapter?
A: There can be only one person per professional specialty in each chapter. So if you are a residential real estate person and the chapter already has one, you can be referred to another chapter or you may learn how to launch another chapter in your area. 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: Each chapter has a Membership Committee that carefully screens each applicant prior to accepting their membership. Membership Committees may check business references, conduct in-person One-to-Ones, facilitate interviews and conduct research on each applicant. BNI is based on word-of-mouth referrals, so before applicants first come to a meeting they have spoken to someone or been invited by someone in the group. Each member has a sponsor, or one is assigned to them. Each applicant is interviewed prior to acceptance.
Q: What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?
A: Each chapter has a Membership Committee that acts like a Human Resources Department in handling complaints. It is imperative that anyone who gives or receives a referral and finds out that it was not satisfactorily handled must report the issue to the Membership Committee, who will investigate.
Q: What occupations benefit the most from networking?
A: It is not the occupation, rather the individual that is successful in BNI. 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 chapter.
Q: Are members supposed to bring visitors?
A: You're encouraged to bring visitors in the professions that are currently open, exposing your referral network to other high-quality people who would benefit from membership and bring value to the existing 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 In the event that BNI's general rules could potentially violate a professional's ethical code, BNI's rules are superseded by the dictates of the professional's ethics' code.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.
Where Does the Money Go?
Your membership dues go toward providing exceptional training and programs that help make each chapter better equipped to provide referrals to members.
We provide the tools to run the chapter meetings and the infrastructure such as regional and chapter website, referral tracking system, exposure to a global business network, member profile pages, chapter support and access to ongoing education and training. Our staff work tirelessly to help you reach your potential in BNI.
BNI is a business just like yours and we have the same expenses that you do. We have staff, office space and expenses that are used to improve the membership experience by providing updated training and materials so that you can grow professionally and personally. Think of BNI as the college business course you never received—designed to help you be more successful in your business!
Many members report that 20 – 50% of their revenue comes from referrals through BNI. For a relatively small investment it is possible to receive a substantial return on investment.