The responsibility is on each of us to get our own substitutes (subs) for our BNI meetings, so we will review:
- Why have a sub,
- Who makes a great sub,
- The guidelines for subs.
The why is simple: We have a 100% attendance policy. By not being at a BNI meeting you are affecting your visibility, so have your presence felt by sending a really good sub. Using a sub does not count as an absence!
Who makes a great sub? What makes a quality Substitute?
- A staff member or co-worker, who can deliver your message as well as you can.
Tag team, trade off if your schedules are full.
- A client, customer, patient, who can speak highly of your work. They should be raving fans who love you and you can give great testimonials.
- A supplier, people who provide you a service. They can have a strong idea of your business and its strengths.
- A golf partner, or bartender, or therapist. They often know what is going on in your business.
- A neighbor, or a neighboring business.
- A friend. Perhaps a friend or contact from a service club or volunteer organization. Thy will know of your dedication and expertise.
- Family members who like you. A parent, a sibling, a child. They will speak highly of you and may even be able to share something about you that nobody knows.
Ideally, bring the sub as a guest so they can see what we are all about, so they know what to expect.
Divide your subs into lists by asking them: “Can you sub for me if I give you two weeks’ notice?” and “Can you sub for me if I give you 24-hours’ notice?” So you know who you can call on when.
As an added bonus, these subs might be able to use some of the services of your fellow members, so new, mutually beneficial relationships could develop.
Some rules for substitutes:
- Substitutes must understand that their primary purpose is to represent you the member.
- If there is a conflict between the sub’s business and a member’s business, it is up to you to tell the sub not to promote her/his business, only yours.
- When subs arrive, they need to introduce themselves to the Visitor Hosts, as subs.
- Tell your sub what to expect: the name and location of our meeting, a brief overview of what happens. This helps the meeting run more smoothly and gives the rest of us a better idea of who this person is.
- Give your written 45-second infomercial to your sub well in advance. Better yet, make it a brief 20-30 seconds. [read slowly] Some people read slowly, some quickly. Suggest your sub give a brief testimonial about you, a story about how you have helped.
- The sub does not need to “apologize” for your absence. An apology has negative connotations, so let’s keep everything upbeat. The member is still here, in the persona of the sub. Plus, we all work hard at our businesses, life happens. No apology is necessary.
- In some chapters, if the sub is in a non-competing business, and if time permits, the sub can do a second 45-second infomercial about her/his own business.
- Subs can pass referrals and give written testimonials.
So, as a quick overview, remember the BNI motto? Givers Gain :
GIVE: Always have a substitute (always be represented at the meeting)
GAIN: Visibility (your name is mentioned by your substitute), and Credibility (you are a “team player” and your substitute sings your praises)