Today’s question comes from Victor in Latvia.
I know a person I’d like to invite as a visitor, and I’m pretty sure he would join as a member, but his category is already taken in our group. Since he can’t join our group, our group couldn’t benefit from inviting him? Should I still invite him? If he joins another chapter, how can our chapter benefit?
The short answer is “Yes, absolutely you should invite him”–but first talk to the person in your group who represents that profession. Reassure that person that you are not bringing the visitor in as competition.
How can your group benefit from inviting a visitor who can’t join your chapter?
- Inviting this person is an investment in social capital. If you want to build a powerful personal network, you need to build relationships with many professions.
- Building strong chapters near you helps to create a strong BNI brand. The better BNI looks overall, the more likely good people are to want to join your chapter.
- If you help a group nearby, the more likely they are to help you.
- Any visitor, whether or not they join your chapter, has a network and can refer members of your group to them.
Send your questions to [email protected]
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of Episode 452 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you today?
I am doing great today, Priscilla, and I have a really interesting question. It is a long one, so stick with me. It is kind of detailed. The question comes from Victor, A BNI member in BNI Wagoner in Riga, Latvia . Yes, we have chapters in Latvia, which I think is so cool. It is a long question so let me read it to everyone and then we will talk about it.
He says, “I know a person who I would like to invite to BNI, and I am pretty sure that he would join as a member, but his category is already taken in our group. So inviting him to the meeting and introducing him to the BNI program, he may like the meeting, but he wouldn’t be able to join my chapter. He could possibly join another chapter in a nearby city where his category isn’t taken. But in that way, the whole group and I really couldn’t benefit from bringing him in.”
So here is his question: “Should I be selfish and not invite him or should I invite him? And if I invite him and he joins another group, how can we as a chapter benefit from that? How can we benefit from bringing in somebody who we know can’t join?”
That’s his question. Interesting question, don’t you think?
Yeah. I can come up with a reason, at least one reason why he should invite that person.
Alright. Hold that reason because I have two and I would love to hear your reason.
So I have two comments anyway. One really good reason, but two comments for sure. The first is if you are going to invite him into your group- and I think the short answer to the question of should I invite him, the answer is yes. Absolutely. You should invite him.
Before you do, first, talk to the person that represents that profession in your group. Make sure that they are not surprised. Now, you don’t have to ask for their permission to invite them, but you don’t want to blindside them, either. So you want to make sure that they know that you are inviting them, but you are not trying to encroach on their classification. And that you want to bring it to their attention that you are not bringing them in so that they can do business with other members of the group or that you are going to do business with them, but that you just want to show an associate, someone you know, what BNI is all about.
Just make sure that the existing member feels your commitment because if you don’t show that, it is going to be a problem because the existing member is going to be very upset that you basically brought in someone that is in a similar classification. That is the first thing that you have to do.
So to answer the question of how you can benefit, that is easy. That is so easy. This is a classic example of givers gain. If you want to build a powerful personal network, you need to build relationships with many professions. And sometimes overlapping professions.
Now, the best way to build a relationship is invest in your social capital with other people. Invest in other people. Help them. If you can find a way to help people, that is the quickest way to build a relationship. So view this as an investment in the social capital with this person.
Here is a third one for you: helping to build strong chapters near you helps to build your group by making a stronger brand. Let’s reverse this. If a group next to you, Victor in Riga or anyone listening to this podcast- if a BNI group next to you is horrible, it reflects badly on your group because it gives a bad reputation to BNI so that when you invite someone to BNI, they go, “No, no, no, no. I don’t want to go to BNI near you. They were awful.”
Flip that. If they go to a group next to you that is strong and it reflects well, it then reflects well on your group it helps your reputation. They may have gone to another group and they couldn’t join, “I went to another group. They were fantastic but I couldn’t join.”
That helps you as a group. So the stronger that you make nearby chapters, the stronger your group can be.
I will give you a fourth reason. If you help a group nearby, you are better able to get them to help you. You can help them if you can help build their chapter. Then reach out to them from time to time. Say, “Hey, we sent you a couple visitors. How did they work out?”
“Oh one of them became a member. He turned out to be a great member and he has brought four or five new members.”
“Fantastic. Here are a couple of categories that we have open in our chapter. Do you have them filled?”
“Yeah, we have them filled.”
“If you know somebody in those categories that you have filled would you send them to us because we need them?”
“Yeah. We would be glad to do that. We would be glad to reciprocate.”
Right. That is really a good idea.
It is really about looking at the world from an abundance mentality versus a scarcity mentality. If you view the world with an abundance mentality, you go through it and you are just trying to help people. You are building a better brand. You are building relationships with people. And you are building a relationship with the other chapter. It will be a reciprocal relationship where they want to do the same thing.
So there are four- one comment and three reasons why, Victor, I think it is a good idea for you to invite this person to your group.
Priscilla, you had a good one. What was it?
Yeah, so it’s the reason that you want to invite guests whether they can join or not anytime- because they have a network and since he hasn’t pledged himself to that group yet, he is not dedicated to the people in that group so when he meets the members of your group, he might refer them to his network. So there is definitely a benefit to the other members.
That is one that I didn’t even think of. Priscilla, that is a great observation because, Victor, you may be assuming that this guy would want to join your chapter or would want to join another chapter. He might not. You know, every week might be too much for him or who knows what the reason might be. But he might know of people who could benefit and would be interested. And he would most likely refer them to your group.
I think that is your point, right Priscilla?
He may actually invite someone to your chapter even if he doesn’t join BNI. So I think that is a great additional point.
Victor, this is a fantastic question. I really appreciate you sharing it with me, and I hope I have answered your question. Priscilla, you had a great addition to it. Please feel free, everyone, to keep those questions coming. I can’t promise to answer every one. I get a lot of them but I try to pick the ones that I think are coming up most often or are the most important, critical ones and try to answer those. Send them to, was it [email protected], I think?
Yep, that is it.
Okay, great. That’s all for today, Priscilla.
Okay, thank you, Dr. Misner. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.