SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

September 26, 2012

Networking group marks $600K in referrals

SWAMPSCOTT — When it comes to networking, BNI Red Rock, the Marblehead and Swampscott chapter of Business Network International, has a pretty impressive record. Since last October, its members have referred $600,000 in business to each other.

The group has 30 members who meet one morning a week at the First Church in Swampscott, Congregational on Monument Avenue.

Attorney Julie Rubenstein, a Peabody resident who practices with Anthony G. Keck and Associates of Salem, has been with the group for six years and is now the president. She chatted with The Salem News recently about how the referral network works.

How is this different from other networking groups?

The concept of BNI is one person per profession. Obviously, there is a little leeway among professions; for attorneys, it’s more specialty area. But that’s what makes it unique ... the fact that you have one person per profession. So, you don’t have 17 bankers or 20 mortgage brokers or five Realtors. You really get to know the person individually, and you really get to know, like and trust that when you refer business to them, that you know them, you know how they work.

I had never heard of the organization before.

There are chapters all around the area. It’s quite a large international networking organization, but it based its whole purpose on referral-based marketing, and one person per profession, so it doesn’t have the same feel as a chamber.

Tell me how a referral would be made.

Everyone has their natural referral sources, like the mortgage brokers and the real estate brokers, their natural referral source would be each other. ... We have an auto repair person, and he works really hand-in-hand with the auto collision person, but you would be amazed once you come into a group like this the number of people that you know who might need services. If you have an issue where you need a contractor, we have a contractor. Me, being an attorney, it’s helpful having other attorneys in the room who cover practices areas I don’t.

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