The Importance of Substitutes

The Importance of Substitutes

Each week our Education Co-ordinator James Brooksbank provides us with a 3-minute insight into how we can become better networkers and help our development.  This week he focussed on the importance of subs:

This isn’t talking about subway sandwiches, as I know you all understand already the importance of them. But this is more focused on substitutes for those times when you can’t make it to the meeting.

Firstly attendance is an important metric to your traffic lights, and if you need to take a morning off for reasons varying from business to illness, the only way to keep your attendance figures at 100% is by having a substitute lined up.

Aside from the traffic lights, there is an impact on the meeting. If for whatever reason you aren’t here, then firstly, there is no one filling your seat, this can have a knock-on effect to your reputation within the chapter, and the reputation of the chapter. Secondly, you may have some news which you want to get out and you miss your chance to advertise, even if it is through someone else.

But the next thing to bear in mind is who makes a good substitute.

There is a BNI hierarchy recommended:

  • Your client – who else represents how good you are at your job than your client, with the added benefit of new blood being in the chapter even for a week.
  • A potential client – well if you can convince them to come, then they will see the large network you have and how valuable you may be to them not just by providing a service but as a useful person to find resources for them.
  • Work colleagues –  they themselves will have information on the inner workings of your business and can give members an idea of a different perspective on your organisation
  • Family members – well depending on your family this can work… if you can trust your little sister to appear without telling the chapter about how many times you dressed as Superman as a child or any other family secrets, then they will be a good advocate for you
  • Other chapter members – as a last resort, I say last resort because, it’s more than likely they will already be known in the chapter and may not be the best representative for you, more focused on their own networking than yours.

When you have a sub, you should take the time to prepare them. Get your sixty seconds ready. Let the rest of the chapter know and make sure that the chapter has people ready to welcome your sub in the meeting, nothing can be worse than someone not known to the chapter arriving before anyone else, this obviously does go for visitors as well.

Also, make sure they have any referrals or contributions you want mentioned in the contributions section.

If your sub has never been to BNI, then make sure they know how it works and what they can expect from the meeting.