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Tips to Expand your Reach with Small Business Referral Groups

“Small Businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our communities.”~ Barack Obama 

People serving people, people connecting with people. Building trust, innovating and diversifying the local marketplace. Without small businesses, communities would fail to thrive. Small businesses provide intimacy and emotional connections that most large corporations cannot. While the world needs large businesses to scale and connect, the emotional aspect of the business transaction keeps us coming back to small businesses. 

One way to get more intimately involved in your local business community is by joining a referral group. Here are a few expert tips to help you expand your reach with small business referral groups.

How Referral Groups Work

Business referrals are built on professional relationships between individuals or businesses in different industries. The foundation of every successful referral group is its committed members who attend meetings regularly, develop trusting and professional business relationships, and share quality business leads and referrals.

Organize and Keep Track of Your Connections

Once you have started to build your referral network by regularly attending referral group meetings you will want to keep track of

  • Store your online contacts in one place using a customer management software as you will find you have contacts on several different digital platforms. Remember to update information as you receive it. 
  • Create a business card database or scan them to connect them with their contact record in your customer management system. Even in the digital era of smartphones, people still share their contact info with traditional business cards.
  • Group your contacts according to relationship or other parameters. This will help you find relevant contacts quickly.
  • Keep notes on conversations. It's impossible to remember everything, especially if you are at a networking event.    

Maintain Connections

Having contacts in industries, areas, and networks other than your own dramatically increases your business. Just showing up to scheduled group meetings and events isn't enough. It's vitally important that you nurture your relationships continuously. There are many different ways to stay in touch with your referral network. Be active on LinkedIn by connecting with members of your network through interacting with their posts and updates. Take part in 1-on-1 meetings, either in person or digitally. This helps build rapport and trust. It's important to nurture your network. 

Reward your Referrals

Rewarding your referrals expands your reach by encouraging more referrals into the future. Your rewards don't have to be monetary or wrapped; even appreciation and acknowledgment can go a long way. The way you reward referrals depends on where those recommendations are coming from. It could be something simple like a gift card for a cup of coffee or some swag from your business. 

For a dedicated, referral-based networking group in your area, consider 4BR. We have dozens of networking referral groups designed to support your business with referrals. Check out the benefits to 4BR membership.

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