Networking groups and referral groups are both excellent ways to grow your business through connecting with others. However, they serve different purposes and it's important to understand the distinction between the two before deciding which is right for you.
Networking Group Focus: Relationships
Networking groups are primarily focused on making connections and building relationships. The goal is to meet new people, exchange information, and find ways to support each other's businesses. Referrals may happen organically, but they are not the primary purpose of the group. Events typically revolve around networking opportunities like happy hours, lunch meetings, and roundtable discussions. SEO and readability are not major concerns since the main goal is in-person interaction.
Referral Group Focus: Generating Leads
Referral groups, on the other hand, are specifically focused on generating referrals and new business leads. Members are typically from non-competing industries and meet with the goal of passing along qualified referrals to each other. Activities are often structured around optimizing referrals, such as having members give short presentations on their business and desired client profiles. While building relationships is still important, the main goal is driving direct business growth.
Choose the Right Group for Your Goals
In summary, the key differences between networking groups and referral groups are the primary goals and focus of the groups. Networking groups are centered around relationship building and networking, while referral groups are focused on generating new business leads through qualified referrals. As a result, referral groups tend to prioritize SEO, content, and readability more so than traditional networking groups. Determining which type of group is right for you depends on your key business goals and how you want to utilize the power of community.