You ask any professional in any business and he or she will tell you the best referral or lead is one who has been referred from a close associate or happy customer. The best testimonial I could receive from a customer is to receive a referral from them. This helps eliminate much of the time needed to build that ever-important relationship of trust with the new potential customer. Not only does this eliminate the time spent in building a relationship of trust it also helps eliminate the price sensitivity of the referral. The referral has been told by a friend that you do good work, and you can take care of them; therefore they are less interested in the bottom line price and are more interested in implementing your solutions. 

The question is how do you get more and more business from close associates and or customers? What I have experienced in the past is by joining a professional networking group where each member of the group is interested in helping the other members accomplish their goals can be an effective way of getting these types of potential customers. I currently belong to a few of the professional networking groups and much of my business comes from the group in two forms; First many of the members of the group are my customers and Second they refer their friends and sphere of influence to me as well. Therefore I receive direct and indirect referrals from each of the groups.

In building your professional networking group I believe it is vital to reach out to a diverse pool of people. Those who come from different fields, different socio-economic backgrounds, and different industries altogether. Each individual comes with their own specific sphere of influence and different group of individuals they can relate to. If each individual is too closely related they will be overlapping too often with the same people providing less power to the group. With that being said I also think that in each group there can be “Power Groups”; for example a loan officer, realtor, and title company. These three individuals are dependent upon each other and each referral could potentially benefit all three members of the group. Therefore, many times these members can have break-a-way sessions where they discuss group marketing and specific activities that can help each of them with their professional networking.

The “Golden Rule” must be kept in mind when working with these different professional networking groups. You will only get from the group what you give to the group! You must show up to the group with one thing in mind: helping the other members of the group accomplish their individual or professional goals. If you attend these groups with the goal of helping others, the members of the group will recognize this and will do the same for you. If you go into the group thinking that you are going to get something out of it, or looking to see what they are going to give you, you will end up being disappointed. People read others and know what the intention is, I truly want the members of my groups to be successful, and I am not worried about my business it will succeed because I am giving a great product.

Take this information and look for good quality professional networking groups that are looking out for the interest of the members and join them. Make sure you are looking out for the other members and they will look out for you. Good luck with your professional networking!

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