Q1: Can anyone be a member of a chapter?
A: We only take one person per business specialty. So if you are a residential real estate person and we already have one, we can refer you to another Chapter, or we may work with you to open another Chapter. Of course, if you are a commercial real estate person, you could be eligible to participate in this chapter.
Q2: How do you know new members are reputable?
A: The application asks for references and each chapter has a Membership Committee that conducts reference checks. There are also interviews. It's referral marketing, 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.
Q3: What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?
A: We have a Code of Ethics and it's the Membership Committee's job to make sure it's respected. It is imperative that anyone who gives a referral and finds out it was not satisfactorily handled must report that to the Membership Committee, who will investigate in a professional manner.
Q4: 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 take action, you are the person we want in the group.
Q5: Are members supposed to bring visitors?
A: You're encouraged to bring visitors to help promote the Chapter and the Members.
Q6: 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 In the event that BNI’s general rules could potentially violate a professional’s ethical code, BNI’s rules are superseded by the dictates of the professional’s ethics code.
Q7: If I specialize in a field within my industry, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects of my industry?
A: BNI understands that many industries and professions are broad and that people often specialize. BNI does not expect, nor does it encourage, any person to participate in an area outside their expertise.
Q8: 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.
For more information contact the BNI Chicago office by calling (312) 629-9500 or send an email.