As I mentioned above, the third type of networking groups are business referral networking groups. With these groups, the goal specifically is to share referrals with one another.
Each member acts as a sales force for the other members. Usually, in these types of groups, there is one member per professional classification, such as one family law attorney, one chiropractor, one cake decorator, etc.
The group members learn about each other’s services and keep their eyes and ears open for openings to make referrals to group members.
You may be familiar with my favorite group of this type, Business Network International (BNI).
Clinicians tell me they have differing results in groups like this. Some have amazing results – ending up with referrals worth upwards of $8,000 to $10,000 per year. Others have difficulty with people referring to them. I have two suggestions to get more out of these types of groups:
1. Meet one to one with at least two members outside of the group- and do this each week. These meetings are like intake sessions, where you get to know one another. Spend time learning about the other person, their business, and how to refer to them. The more you are interested in their life and business, the more likely they are to remember you when a suitable referral is needed.
2. Then, my second suggestion is to make sure you educate group members on how to make a good referral to a therapist. Many people are reluctant to do so, simply because they don’t know how. Give them a nonthreatening way they can refer business to you and you are likely to have positive outcomes.