How to Get the Most Out of a Referral Group…
Referral Groups have been around for over 3 decades. They’re proven, and their purpose and objective is simple — create a local business community where members meet regularly, actively work to get to know one another, and support one another through referral. But to get the most out of a referral group you must follow four simple rules…
1. Attend meetings regularly
2. Meet with others in the group one-on-one, between meetings
3. Work to bring guests and your ideal referral partners into the group
4. Make a conscious effort to generate at least one referral for someone else every every 30 days
Attending Meetings Regularly: Attending meetings regularly is one of the keys to getting the most out of ones referral group. Regular attendance does three very important things… 1) Allows you to really get to know others in the group and visa-versa (an important element in generating referrals), 2) Keeps you top-of-mind with others in the group (When you don’t attend meetings regularly, people forget about you very quickly.), and 3) Creates a disciplined networking routine, which is an important component to making a networking payoff.
Bringing in Your Ideal Referral Partners: 80% of your referrals in a referral group will come from those professionals that provide non-competing, complimentary services to the same target clients you do. For instance if you are a financial manager, your ideal partners will be a CPA, Bookkeeper, Insurance Agent, Mortgage Broker, etc.. These professional provide financial services to customers, and your services compliment theirs. This make it easy and beneficial for them to refer you to their clients (and visa-versa). When you have your ideal referral partners in the group, it becomes easy to pass and receive referrals.
Meeting with Others 1-on-1: Meeting 1-on-1 with others in the group is critical to building relationships and discovering referral opportunities. As you meet with others in the group for coffee or lunch, you’ll learn who they are, what they do and you’ll begin to see ways to support one another through introduction and cross referral.
Work to Generate at Least One Referral Every 30 Days: Groups have a referral activity requirement because it forces everyone to make a conscious, committed effort to introduce and refer another, and it trains everyone to become a pro-active referral networker. Make it a goal to generate one referral for someone else in the group between each meeting. When you do this you’ll force yourself to actively think about who you can refer, and get in the habit of asking people if they need a referral for anything. As you work to do this each week your conscious effort will become unconscious habit, and you’ll quickly discover that generating and receiving referrals is easy when you actively look to help connect people with others who can help them.
Follow, these four practices consistently and in a disciplined fashion and you will see your referral group pay optimal dividends.