This guideline is intended to be used by members when briefing their substitutes, and by Vistor Hosts when they brief Substitutes at the BNI meeting.
If you are a substitute thank you for your efforts. In BNI our philosophy is “givers gain”. Giving up your time to represent a member is very much appreciated by everyone.
Over the past 27 years, BNI members around the world established the policies and practices that make BNI work for them. These policies and practices translate into referrals and $. The most important BNI policy concerns attendance, which is why all BNI Chapters have a goal of 100% attendance at each meeting.
Experience has taught BNI that reaching the 100% attendance goal is only possible through members establishing strong substitutes, and the use of these by members to ensure they are represented at each meeting.
Guidelines for substitutes:
( 01 ) When arriving at the BNI Chapter, Substitutes need to introduce themselves to the Visitor hosts to be briefed on any Chapter specific matters. For example, if your business conflicts with a member’s business, then the Visitor Hosts need to brief you on appropriate conduct (eg avoid promoting yourself or your business to members and/or visitors).
( 02 ) Members of the BNI Chapter are pleased that they have the opportunity to meet you, so thank you for taking on this role.
( 03 ) It is good practice to avoid apologising for the member’s absence. BNI has a “no apologies” philosophy as in the context of BNI an apology is simply a reminder of a negative event. BNI meetings are designed to be 100% positive at all times, so thank you for avoiding any apology.
( 04 ) Substitutes are present at meetings for the purpose of representing another member.
( 05 ) Substitutes are welcome to inform members of the nature of their business during the “open networking” part of the meeting (ie the first 15 minutes of the meeting before everyone sits down.
( 06 ) At the meeting, Substitutes deliver the Sales Manager Minute of the member they represent.
( 07 ) At the discretion of the Chapter President if; a) time permits and b) the substitute is not a conflict to a chapter member’s or applicant’s product or service, c) Has not spoken about their business in the members spot (see point 6, this must be explained) or d) a former chapter member (see guidelines for members 7); The Substitute may give a Sales Manager Minute with the Visitors.
( 08 ) During the “I have” part of the meeting, Substitutes say thank you for closed business, pass referrals and/or give testimonials, as appropriate. If none of these apply, Substitutes may briefly tell the Chapter what impressed them the most about the meeting.
Guidelines for members:
( 01 ) BNI recommends that you limit the number of meetings where you have a substitute represent you to 3 meetings in any six month period, unless they are from your own business.
( 02 ) BNI encourages all members to have their own substitute. We encourage members to bring Substitutes to the meeting beforehand so they can experience it for themselves, and be briefed on appropriate conduct.
( 03 ) If you are absent, please ensure sufficient notice is given to your Substitute and that they are properly briefed before the meeting.
( 04 ) Members are to provide their Substitute with a written Sales Manager Minute and, if possible, referrals, thank you for closed business and/or a testimonial.
( 05 ) Members are to brief their Substitute on any issues that may arise during the course of the meeting.
( 06 ) Members are encouraged to choose substitutes diligently so that they are well represented at the meeting.
( 07 ) Members are advised not to invite former members as substitutes, as they will not be able to speak in the Sales Manager Minute and they can possibly ruin a Visitor Prospect becoming a new member of your chapter.
( 08 ) An individual may only sub at a chapter 3 times within any 6 month period, no matter who they are subbing for.