Referral groups are a proven way to expand your existing customer base. They are characterized by members commitment and highly-structured agendas which aim to maximise results in each meeting. Despite the benefits that come along with these groups, different people have diverse opinions about these groups.
We asked entrepreneurs and business owners their thoughts on referral groups.
#1- Yay, they're very important
Referral networking meetings are vitally important for many small business owners. Ask any group of entrepreneurs where their clients come from, and referrals will always be toward the top of the list. But referrals do not just come from previous clients; they can also come from people who know, trust, and like you. Consistently going to networking meetings, whether they are national organizations or independent, will help you be known by other small business professionals in the area and will help get more referrals.
Thanks to Dr. Ty Belknap, MyCoach.Life!
#2- Yay, builds sustainable businesses
I learned early on in my career selling – back in the days when you were handed the Yellowpage book and a phone, that I converted more business when the lead came from a warm referral versus one garnered via a cold call. Along my journey I’ve belonged to and created several mastermind groups. The truly successful ones for me weren’t the BNI’s of the world but ones that were organically cultivated by me and a few of my trusted business partners. The secret lies in the membership – everyone needs to be on the same page and looking for leads in the same demographic. For instance, if you are in a mastermind group that only deals with middle-market privately owned companies and you are looking for international large Fortune 500 leads – then you will never have success. Likewise, there needs to be a high level of trust between members and each needs to deeply understand the focus of one another’s business. Not just what they do and how they do it, but their core values and WHY they do it. In the end, I’m a big YAY on referral groups, it’s the only way to build a sustainable business where you aren’t always searching for the next lead. When successful, the leads come to you – you don’t search for them.
Thanks to Cindy Donaldson, red barn consulting!
#3- Yay, has really helped me grow
I am part of a BNI chapter in Asheville, North Carolina that I joined in order to expand my ability to market in the area for using referrals. BNI has been very helpful to me by introducing me to other local businesses and their owners who know, like, trust and respect me in my abilities as a coach and have referred and used my services. I would not have met them otherwise to obtain the leads that I have received. For me, BNI has been a very effective way of growing my business. It is not the only way, but 1 of the series of ways that I have grown it.
Thanks to Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter!
#4- Big yay, worth the investment
I have been a member of our BNI chapter for more than 5 years. While it is a financial and time commitment; I believe it is totally worth those investments. I have received referrals worth 20x the membership fees and have built a network of trusted colleagues that I can refer to my friends, clients and my family. Many fellow members have spoken to the fact that joining our chapter, meeting weekly to stand up and talk about their business has helped them as a public speaker, aided them in establishing business goals and led to great success in their careers.
Thanks to Tom Hoebbel, Thomas Hoebbel Photography and Video!
#5- Nay, I'm not a fan
The people in referral groups are a part of them because they’re not the best of what they do. If they have to go to referral groups to get leads, they’re not making the most of their entrepreneurial potential. Most leads you’ll find in RG’s are there based on an obligation to refer people, and the leads tend to make anyone look good.
Thanks to Raj Singh, Singh Ventures!