80% of the referrals you get in a referral group will typically come from 20% of the partners in the group, and that 20% is usually made up of your IDEAL referral partners (or pod). Understand, identify and see who else is in your pod.
Referral business networks and leads groups have existed in the offline (brick and mortar) world for a half a century. And during this period they’ve delivered consistent results for small businesses and professionals looking to generate referral business.
But with the advent of the Internet, how will these “real world” small business networks and referral communities fare — will they fade away being replaced by all the online business networking communities and solutions, or will they continue to prosper?
While online referral groups and business networks are useful and effective for some things, they’ll never replace the need for real world professional business networks and small business referral lead groups.
One big reason — people want / need / prefer regular face-to-face interaction with those they do business with, and certainly with those they refer for business. Studies consistently show that consumer confidence is the #1 factor that drives purchase decisions, and consumer confidence is created by familiarity, which is achieved through repitition. Meeting regularly, face-to-face, with your referral partners and referral network goes a long way in building true familiarity and confidence.
The most effective referral marketing programs will always incorporate regular real world face-to-face meetings with a committed group of referral or business networking partners. And this is something the online world can never deliver!
People sometimes ask me, “why not start a FREE leads group or referral networking club?” The answer is surprisingly simple — They usually don’t work!
One of the key elements for any leads group, referral networking club or referral marketing program to take root, proliferate and facilitate referral lead generation among the members, is commitment. Commitment to regular in person meetings, commitment to learning about one another/ supporting one another, and commitment to actively referring one another.
The vast majority of free referral groups that get started usually falter and fail as there’s a lack of real commitment by members. These referral groups tend to have very high turn-over rates, low meeting attendance and little referral lead generation activity — all leading to collapse.
By charging everyone in your community just a little something you tend weed out the “takers” (people looking to receive without giving), create a sense of value among the members, improve meeting attendance, lower turn-over rates and ultimately create more commitment to referral lead generation.
In the world of small business networking and referral marketing giving and getting referral networking commitment is key!