If you think you can join a business referral or leads group and instantly get business referrals, think again. Membership in a referral group does not automatically turn on the referral faucet for you to fill up your bucket on day one. There are some key things you need to do in order to generate referrals for yourself and to learn how to give quality referrals to the other members of the group.
Mindy Selinger of Networking Event Finders describes 10 keys to referral group success. Each of the items on the list are important and effective ways to make the most of a referral group for all members, but I particularly like numbers 2 and 3:
One of the biggest mistakes we make in networking is assuming that others know what we do. We may think that people who have known us for years or who have purchased products or services from us are well aware of all that we do. This isn't always the case — in fact, it is seldom the case. This is where education comes in. You need to take the time to explain what you do in a way that makes sense to them and that is repeatable. This will enable them to act as your "salesforce" by telling others about how you can help them.
Sometimes we get too comfortable in a particular group or organization and that's when we tend to stagnate. If we want to grow our business and find new opportunities, then we need to expand the circle of people that we are in contact with. Trying something new — like a hobby, a service or community project, a business seminar, etc. — can be just the ticket to rejuvenate your business.
Mindy has lots of other great tips and ideas on networking, so check out the Networking Event Finders site for more ways to be a successful networker.