+ What is referral marketing?
Just like it sounds; if your business depends on word-of-mouth referrals, what we do is referrals on steroids - a commitment by every member in our chapter to refer business to each other when the opportunity presents itself. But the power of referrals at BNI Chapter 3 goes way beyond a single referral - it's similar to the way a flu virus moves around :-) Here's a typical example: A real estate agent sells a home, that becomes a referral to our mortgage banker and the title insurance member. Once the closing occurs, the resident needs to move to her new home and it becomes a referral to our mover. With the new acquisition of a home, the owners needs to update their will (a referral to our estate attorney), they need homeowner's insuance (to our property & casualty member) and they are also contemplating some renovations (to our architect). This is very typical and every "seat" in our group can experience this chain-event type activity.
+ Who is BNI?
For over 30 years, BNI has used a simple but elegant philosophy that exemplifies membership, "Givers Gain," or in other words, "what goes around comes around."BNI's global network has 8,400 local chapters and 233,000 members who passed 10,000,000+ referrals worth over $14 billion! Our "Givers Gain" principal ( or "what goes around comes around) facilitates growth & longlasting relationships among chapter members - you can expect personal and professional development within an environment that is based on integrity and professional code-of-ethics.
+ What is unique about BNI Chapter 3?
While we are clearly biased and shamelessly unobjective (smile) many of us have been around the 'networking block' a few times. We leave the rigid and unfriendly world outside and instead we focus on creating an environment fun to conduct business. Don't get us wrong - we are dead serious about the reason why many of us get up very early each Wed and why we spend additional time knowing each other - we do this in order to grow our business. But we want this to be done in a casual, friendly and very accommodating atmosphere - many people are timid and not comfortable speaking in public -- we'll get you there, we've all been there (and some of us are still nervous speaking in public).
+ Can I belong to another networking group?
Of course you can, but why would you? Seriously, if you commit to investing your time in a professional group as well as referring all of yoru business to your fellow members, why would you spread yourself too thin? You can certainly belong to ad-hoc networking like the Chamber of Commerce or industry associations, but we highly discourage you from joining another referral-based group - it's counterproductive to the concept.
+ How do I apply and get accepted?
First thing first -- you should visit us and experience BNI chapter 3 for yourself. We make a lot of claims here about what makes us unique and you have to judge for yourself. Check the HOT OPEN SEATS on the site and if you're it, start by visiting. You're allowed 3 visits and after the 3rd visit we expect you to apply for membership. The process is simple - an application with references (and we check each one)followed by an interview by our membership committee. No, we don't accept just anyone - only those who come across as professionals/experts in their field and those who also fit our culture. (did we say friendly, warm, accommodating, supportive?)
+ How long is my membership good for?
Your membership is good for one year from the day you were accepted. Renewal is not automatic and the membership committee evaluates your performance and productivity before you are invited to renew.
+ Can I bring guests to the meeting?
we LOVE visitors. You're welcome to bring a guest but everyone must register to visit - we let our members know who is visiting in case there is a referral opportunity for you during your visit. But, we also want to ensure that no visitors directly compete with one of our members (remember, each "seat" is exclusive and proteced from competitors)
+ I am not comfortable speaking in public. Should I still join
You're not alone! The majority of us have been there but we have a solid guideline and roadmap to help you prepare for your 60 seconds (initially it may seem like an enternity). You can even read from a written pitch - the most important part is to ensure that everyone knows what you do and how/why you are different and better.
+ I am new to networking what is your process to make me feel comfortable and to help me succeed?
Once you are accepted you will be immediately enrolled in our Mentoring Program. An experienced member of our chapter will work with you for the first four weeks (or beyond if you need it), walk and train you to "evolve" as a referral partner. There is NO pressure on you to perform and it takes time to understand and get comfortable with not just the BNI model but also getting to know everyone.
+ How are results of our group reported?
Accountability is a big deal at BNI Chapter 3. We keep track of each member's performance (referrals given, referrals received, how much money you made as a result, 1-2-1 meetings with members, etc.). The report is transparent, is printed each week and handed out to everyone including visitors.
+ What is accountability?
The definition says it best: "an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions." When we join BNI Chapter 3 we commit to being a productive member of the chapter - to passing referrals to other members, to attending each meeting, to not being late, to meeting members after the meeting so we can get to know each other, to conducting ourselves according to a code-of-ethic that requires us to live up to standards of our profession. It sounds serious because it is -- and it is also the reason why you should consider being part of our professional team.
+ What is a “sub?”
You are required to attend each meeting but if you must miss it you should arrange for a 'substitute' who will cover for you. They get to read your elevator pitch but they can also present what they do as a visitor.
+ Am I obligated to pass referrals to other members?
Yes and No (don't you hate this answer :-) Here's an example: If you currently do busines with a CPA, there is no obligation for you to leave your CPA and give your business to our CPA. But, if you come across someone who states that they are looking for a CPA, you should refer ours to them. Why else what you be part of our group? Generally speaking, we expect and hope that you recommend our members - remember our motto: Givers' Gain. The more you give the more you will get back.
+ Can members get “fired” from a group?
It is rare for a member to be fired -- however, if a member is continously absent from meetings, or does not leave up to the ethical standards of his/her profession (i.e., referrals report a bad experience) they will be called to the membership committee and will be held accountable. There is a process in place in the event members do not comply and the first step is to remove exclusivity and make their seat "open" to others.Our chaptes HAS NOT experienced anything that required this action. We are selective with who we approve and our track record is exceptional.
+ I provide multiple services. What if I want to change my “seat” or area of specialty?
When you are accepted and given a "seat" it is very well defined and specific. However, in some cases you can petition the membership committee for a "seat change" and it is considered and either approved or disapproved by the committee.