The Importance of Being Earnest

A client of mine recently had the need for a service that I do not provide.  Which is not unusual, of course, as no web designer can be all things to all clients — the field of web development is just too large.  What was unusual, however, is that I could not refer my client to a fellow Business Power Network member, as the service in question simply wasn’t represented by anyone in our chapter.  Nor had I done business with any company providing this service in the past.

So I did what any good BNI member would do given the circumstances  — researched the other chapters in our area to find a business I could refer my client to.  Of course I found several; quite coincidentally, one had just recently visited our chapter, and even though I did not get to meet them in person that day, it only took one short phone call for me to feel perfectly comfortable in referring my client their way.

Why was it so easy to send a referral to someone I’d never done business with before, and in fact had never met?   Keep in mind that this (or any) referral will impact the relationship I’ve developed with my client either positively or negatively, and if the latter, could cause me to lose future business or even lose the client altogether.  The answer lies within the BNI system itself, and is one of the root causes of why the BNI model is so successful:  trust.

Because the business I referred to was a member in good standing with their particular chapter, I had absolutely no qualms about trusting them to give good service to my client.  Consider this:  In your own chapter, you interact with other members by doing business with them, talking with them at meetings and 1-2-1’s, and so on.  By doing so, you instinctively develop a level of trust with a member — this is how the BNI system is designed to work.

And it does, specifically for this reason:  If there are members in your chapter, or in mine, or in any well-run BNI chapter, that are not honest or forthright in their dealings with other members, that level of trust is never developed.  Referrals stop getting passed, and without referrals, the reason for being in BNI is gone, and the member eventually leaves.   The BNI system naturally rids itself of those who do not belong within it.

The moral of this story?  Always be earnest; always mean what you say, and do what you say you’re going to do.  Not only will this improve your level of trust and your standing within your own chapter, it will keep the window of opportunity open for you to gain business from others whom you may never have even met, but who trust the BNI system to work as it was designed to do.