Should I Refer You?



My friend Mike asked me to substitute him at a BNI meeting yesterday. Since I have never been to a BNI meeting, I thought it would be fun to check it out.

BNI stands for Business Networking International. It is a business networking and referral organization founded by Dr.Ivan Misner in 1985. The philosophy of BNI is “Givers’ Gain”. BNI believes that by making business referrals for your chapter members, they will do the same for you.

Not a bad idea. You only get as much as you give.

The only issue is what if I don’t want to refer certain people. What if that person is no good?

After all, you are who you know.

If the person you refer sucks, does it mean you suck too?

The other day my friend Joey highly recommended the duck fried rice (one of my favorite Thai dishes) from this new Thai restaurant. I tried it and I didn’t like it.

Do I hate him for it?  Of course not.

But do I have doubt about his taste from now on? Absolutely.

Think About This…

Who (or what) are you willing to put your name next to? Even more importantly, who are willing to put your name next to them?

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11 Responses to “Should I Refer You?”

  1. on 08 Sep 2007 at 9:09 pm

    i completely agree with you. before i started my private practice, i ran a very successful little social service agency. it was built completely on reputation among our clients. one of the reasons why we had such a good reputation was because we were scrupulous regarding referrals. we would try to find out as much as possible about these referrals, would try our best to give our clients as much information as possible about them, and do our best to only recommend top referrals.

    interestingly enough, i then got a contract job from one of our prime referrals. coincidence? i don’t think so.


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  3. on 10 Sep 2007 at 9:49 am

    What a great post! As a matter of fact, I met with two people this morning that were upset that they have not received any business from their leads groups, and we discussed their “referrability”.
    I cannot and will not refer someone unless I have done business with that person or someone in my A+ group has done business with them. my reputation is more than golden - it is priceless.
    We need to refer the person that is best suited for the job therefore in communicating your business you must let others know what is an ideal client for you.
    Reputation is SO important. Only refer people you know will do 120%.
    Sharan Tash
    The Professional Networker


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  9. on 19 Dec 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Found your post in trying to find some actual info about BNI outside BNI.COM; looks like our local groups are all business-to-consumer services; I’m curious about anyone’s experience in building business-to-corporate relationships that way.


  10. [...] reputations reflect on each other. Thus, as they help each other improve business operations and quality of referrals, they become increasingly visible and valuable for each other. Yet, as Cyndi Wiley [...]

  11. Carlos on 04 Apr 2008 at 8:57 am

    I have been a member of 2 referral organizations and my experience has been quite miserable. You are almost ‘forced’ to refer within your groups which consist of new businesses which I thought were quite questionable to say the least.

    It was a one way street. There were very few referrals and it was mostly a 1.5 hour ‘pep’ talk. Moreover, no one in the group was interested in learning about my business. I never got any return e-mails or phone calls from any of the contacts from my group. Only if I had a referral for them.

    In short, BNI is a horrible ’scam’. I would never again refer one of my clients to a BNI group member or use their services.

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