There is a big difference between a networking group vs. a referral group.
There are many groups you can join from Chambers of Commerce, Networking Groups, Trade Associations and Service Organizations. Each of these groups offer a chance to network, build relationships and receive referral business from other members. All of these can be classified as “Networking Groups”, but very few can be called “Professional Referral Groups”.
A Professional Referral Group exists to leverage the collective connections of the members to create great opportunities for each other. These opportunities include referrals, introductions to strategic partners, speaking engagements, radio, TV and newspaper exposure, online reviews with platforms like Yelp, and much more.
The Professional Referral Group will screen for quality of the members and refuse to accept all but the best of the best. Most of the networking organizations listed above will take anyone who wants to join, as long as there is an opening.
The Professional Referral Group also spends more time educating and developing every member of the organization to become better and stronger referring partners.
In addition, the best Referral Groups will dedicate time and energy to run separate groups strategically targeted to specific niche markets. For example, Tucson Business Club runs dedicated specialty chapters focusing on niches like B2B Commercial Referrals and Healthcare. Members of these groups are extremely well connected in their respective sector, which helps everyone generate a better return on their investment.
If your main purpose for joining a group is to generate closed referrals and opportunities, why not join a group whose main purpose is exactly that?