Are you being cheap?

Networking Expert

20 July 2010 | 13 Comments

There seems to be an interesting new development in various networking groups, where many members of individual networking groups are visiting their neighbouring groups or Chapters to visit. Supposedly this is for gaining extra business visibility.

All fine, except that some are being cheap about it. Let me explain:

You see, when you visit a particular group, you need to follow the due course to inform the group’s leadership of your intention and then on arrival, do settle your own meal dues, which could be anything from RM15 to RM30, depending on venue.

But unfortunately, some of these cheap buggers (pun intended!) are announcing that they would like to visit a particular neighbouring Chapter or group, and as such, is there anyone in that group needs a substitute to represent them that particular morning.

In doing so, the following thought comes to mind:

1. They are being cheap. Period. Because you are expecting someone to settle your meal dues.
2. You are encouraging or facilitating a member in that group you are visiting to take the easy way out of the meeting commitments of not arriving to meetings and not participating. Often, these members are the ones without any contribution for the week, hence to escape scrutiny, are always looking for a ‘get out of jail’ card.

Why would you want to even visit a group where the attendance is not full? Why?

Now of course, the pundits will say, that they are helping members in the groups they are visiting by avoiding them being counted as absent.

But no… you see, inviting a substitute to represent you in a meeting if you need to be away is your sole responsibility. Not anyone else.

So you see, in hindsight this is seen noble, but on foresight, it is very counter-productive.

Stop being cheap. That’s the message here. Only visit groups that are 100% in their own commitments in making their own group succeed.

The other side of the coin…. what makes this worse is that some members in the group actually put up their hand by saying that they are going to be away on some trivial matters hence would appreciate the substitution offer!

Hey, you are killing yourself by informing your colleagues in your Chapter that there’s something else more important than meeting their networking colleagues to generate referrals. And these people often wonder why they don’t receive good quality referrals.

I have data to proof that the good members always work for their colleagues in a referral generation group, and that they will never miss a meeting unless for genuine case of being away on vacation, business trip, being unwell.

So let’s wise up. Shall we?


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13 Responses on “Are you being cheap?”

  1. Yvonne says:

    Yes I agree with this thought… I always think that only substitute to represent someone where there is a genuine need but not be there to wait or try your luck on!

  2. Mama Min says:

    Personally, if I had already made up my mind to visit a chapter, I would be prepared to pay the breakfast fees myself. I do not want to give the members from another chapter which I’m visiting the wrong impression. And I do assume that everyone in the chapter I’m visiting to be present for meetings unless they are not able to physically (away on business) or incapacitated (illness).

  3. Philip Lam says:

    As I have always said, I want to be there personally to receive the referrals which a member has been working so hard to get for you. If you are not there, it shows you are not so committed as well as being ungrateful. It also discourages this member to work so hard for you in future. Eventually the referral stream dies off and you wonder why.

  4. riyazadmin says:

    Excellent thought, Mama Min. You are spot on!

    Yvonne, absolutely right. We have to be careful to impress with proper visibility.

  5. Riyaz this is an interesting post as I have never thought of it the way you have in this article. On the Gold Coast we have what we term as “Professional” Substitutes – (only a few as we don’t encourage this behavior), they are generally former members who for whatever reason aren’t members any more but are happy to step in when required. But what I realise after reading this is that they are being cheap. If they can attend a chapter meeting at least once per month they are still getting some of the benefits of BNI but not actually having to commit to membership, weekly meeting etc. So they are in fact being cheap.
    And you are right, why would you want to visit a chapter who doesn’t have 100% attendance and commitment!

  6. Thomas says:

    IMHO, being a substitute only if you are requested by other members, as a favor in helping them due to certain emergencies perhaps. That way, you earn the credibility in their eyes by extending out your helping hands when needed.

    I think offering yourself as a substitute is somewhat awkward. Just like offering a football team being the reserve (bench) player, which can really downgrade your impression to others.

    It is my opinion that if any members wish to visit other chapters to promote their own chapter or to get to know more other members, just be a gracious guest and visit the chapter, settle the breakfast fees, and enjoyed being welcome by the chapter’s host as a prestigious guest, and not a substitute material. (No pun intended!)

  7. Riyaz,

    My thots on this matter:-

    Do take on an offer to be a substitute if you know the inviting member is genuinely needing a substitute. Can you choose? yes, I believe we can. We are in no way obligated to substitute or a better word, represent a member if we think his character is ’shady’ ( cannot find a better word ) or that member is taking the easy way out.

    Also, should we really substitute a person who besides sickness and ‘truly emergency cases’ request us at the very last minute, like at 9pm the day prior to the meeting? Do not be afraid of being unpopular if you do reject the offer to be a sub.

    Lastly, do be truly professional to give your best 60 seconds for the inviting member, kindly DO NOT READ from a HANDPHONE. It truly shows forth your laziness or lack of effort in at least copying down the sms or email onto a note pad . What if your phone dies off on that day? You would really be caught with your pants down.

    Just my few thots

    Have a pleasant day .

    I have truly enjoyed my 10 years in BNI and ever more refreshed .

    Cheers

    Ken

  8. riyazadmin says:

    Good point Ken, and I am planning to write about the art of substitution sometime soon. It would cover elements such as empowering your substitute to represent you in a powerful manner, and some basic things to do and not to do.

  9. Kematzy says:

    Another interesting post, Riyaz. I did not see this point, until you pointed it out so clearly and eloquently. So well done!

    @Natalie Yes, these “professional substitutes” sound really cheap when you think about it. The original thought behind it was good, but the outcome might not be good.

    @Thomas I think your final point is indeed very spot on. I now regret how I behaved when I did my first (and so far only) substitution in another chapter, after a personal request for substitution. I’ll act differently the next time.

    This blog is really starting to buzz, and is now very high up in reading order on my daily RSS feed. Keep it up.

  10. riyazadmin says:

    Thanks, Mats.

    And yes, I am in the process of enhancing the outlook of this site. Thank you for your input.

  11. Michael Ampang Chapter says:

    In my honest opinion it should not be encouraged that asking a visiting member from another chapter to sub on arrival of the meeting day. This is spoon feeding a member who is going to be absent.

    This should not be the practice just to achieve KPIs. I wonder sometimes if the traffic lights in some places are faulty. The people in charge there should not encourage it, when they do thats when you attract these freeloaders/pundits.

  12. Hayati says:

    I have heard confession from few members on why they substitute members in another chapter. Person A said, I like to substitute because all my meals are covered and this is a person who can sub up to 2x a day. Person B said I am proud that I have substituted 80% of chapters in Klang Valley – cheap way to promote their business. But to my opinion, if you want to promote your business, go visit and pay whatever amount due. Why do you have to call all chapters asking if they need substitute? Not only they look cheap.. they sound cheap and they are cheap, but this is only my opinion… Unfortunately, who is going to stop these people from doing what they do? It is a member’s responsibility to look for a substitute who is willing to sub them and get in touch with them, communicate via voice so this people who sub you will do your 60seconds sales minute presentation from their heart, not just reading the text provided via email or sms. Also, don’t forget to text them thank you or better still, call them up personally to wish them thank you. This way, you create a relationship with the person substituting you and the relationship will grow to the next level.

  13. Thomas says:

    IMHO, I think we should not encourage substitute, nor make substitute sounds like a “part-time” job for BNI members. I come across many people who still haven’t learnt about the implication that they did to their own impression to others in the process of “looking for subbing opportunities”. (It sounds like knocking on employers doors and begging for a job.) I just come back from visiting a BNI chapter in Penang, and they have sort of like a traffic light scorecard system for each member in the chapter. Absence will get a -5 to their score, whereas absent with substitute will get a -3 in their scorecard. I am still unsure on how rational is implementing this system, but the clear principles that we can see in this context is to discourage substitution.

    @Mats – It is good that you realize it. We are human anyway, and we live to learn. That’s already way ahead of many others who still haven’t learnt.

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