Being There

What’s the single most important element that contributes to your success in BNI?  Is it referrals?  1-2-1’s?  Power Teams?  An argument could be made for each of those things, as well as many others, but certainly one of the most vital, in any number of ways, is attendance. Just being there, week in and week out, is so important!

Sure, we’ve all had days where we’ve considered not going to the meeting, for whatever reason: lots of work to do, golf course calling your name, bad hair day, bad mood. Particularly this time of year, routine attendance can be difficult to achieve. But it’s essential to remember that when you don’t show up, it affects others as well as yourself.

Consider this situation: The accountant in your chapter has a client who’s looking to buy a home. You are a real estate agent, and he’s been talking you up to his client, maybe for several weeks, finally convincing him to come along to a meeting so that he can introduce the client to you in person. Trouble is, you woke up this morning and decided that it was a perfect day for a trip to the lake!

So what are the results from this? By making the decision not to attend at the last minute, you’re probably unable to find a sub, so there’s no one there to meet the client, and therefore, very likely no business. And not only do you look bad to the client, the client’s trust in your accountant is also damaged, as is the accountant’s trust in you. An unfortunate situation all around, which could have been avoided simply by showing up!

Of course it’s not that black and white, and just coming to sit in the corner at a meeting isn’t going to do a whole lot for you, or your business. It’s also crucial that you take advantage of the opportunity to network while at the meeting, particularly with guests. You never know who you might meet, or conversely, you never know who you might have missed meeting if you don’t make the rounds and get to know the visitors to your chapter.

For example: Say you own an automotive service shop. One day your chapter’s commercial lender brings a guest to the meeting, but you woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning and just don’t feel like talking to anyone, so you never get around to meeting the guest, as his business doesn’t have much in common with yours. What you don’t know is that the guest’s brother owns a car rental agency, and by not getting into a conversation with him, you don’t find out that the brother is unhappy with their current service arrangements. You have just missed a golden opportunity!

So keep in mind the next time you consider not attending your meeting that you could be hurting not only yourself but others as well — not only the other members in your chapter, but the potential clients who will never get the opportunity to experience your great service! And refer you to their friends, who’d refer you to their friends, and so on, and so on, and so on…