Frequently Asked Questions

BNI Rochester, New York

Q1: Can anyone be a member of a chapter?

A: BNI is exclusive; only one person per professional specialty is permitted to join chapter. If your specific "seat" in no longer available, we can refer you to another chapter.

Q2: How do you know new members are reputable?

A: BNI Membership Applications require business references.   Every chapter has a Membership Committee that reviews the application, conducts reference checks, and applicant interviews.   Everyone visiting must have a sponsor.   The Membership Committee also interviews this sponsor.

Q3: What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?

A: We have a Code of Ethics and it's the Membership Committee's job to make sure it's respected. It is imperative that anyone who gives a referral and finds out it was unsatisfactorily handled must report that to the Membership Committee, who will investigate in a professional manner.

Q4: What occupations benefit the most from networking?

A: One of BNI's Core Values is Building Relationships.  Therefore, membership focus is on the individual instead of the occupation. The occupation can be anything. If you're focused, you have a dream and you're willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be successful, you are the person we want!

Q5: Are members supposed to bring visitors?

A: Visitors bring fresh new energy, and expand the chapter's network.   Members are required to bring bona-fide referrals and/or visitors to their chapter.   BNI Chapters may establish a minimum number of referrals and/or visitors that is acceptable to maintain membership.

Q6: Do ethical rules for certain professions prohibit participation in BNI?

A: BNI understands the importance of the ethical concerns governing certain professions and acknowledges that rules can differ by location. As such, BNI therefore requires its members to uphold the standards of its profession so as not to violate the professional’s ethical obligations. If BNI’s general rules could potentially violate a professional’s ethical code, the professional's code of ethics supersedes BNI’s rules.  A primary objective of BNI is to educate members in ways that will market and grow a business.   BNI intends to ensure this is permitted.

Q7: If I specialize in a field within my industry, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects of my industry?

A: BNI understands that many industries and professions are broad and that people often specialize in their profession. BNI does not expect, nor does it encourage, any professional to participate in an area in which the professional does not have expertise.

Q8: My profession does not let me directly solicit business. Is BNI still right for me?

A: BNI’s primary objective is to assist its members in ways to improve their business and to educate them to become more proficient at networking.   Professionals earn business when their expertise is known, and when others reach a level of trust with them.   BNI provides a valuable forum that can facilitate introductions, build credibility, and increase profitability.

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