I have been involved with referral networking groups over a number of years. Generally they have been the breakfast meeting organizations which only one member for each category of business is permitted to join. Mostly they work well and a good number of referrals is passed,
Occasionally we get grumbling both from members and from visitors who are reluctant to join.
Often the visitors will say “It just seems to be the same people there every week”. Well, of course it is. That’s the whole point; to have a close-knit group of people working together to find business for each other. Also, if you do have that relationship with other business people it can survive in friendship long after other factors have meant that you or they have moved on.
If people don’t get that it is about working they probably don’t get networking. If they cannot be recruited and educated it is no use worrying about them.
I was rather surprised once when talking to a member whose attendance had fallen off dramatically. When I asked him why he wasn’t coming he said he was bored with the “same old”. Well, a referral group is about working together, not having a meeting served on a plate with breakfast. What had he given? How many referrals had he passed? If he thought the group was stale, why hadn’t he invited any new blood along?
The leadership of a referral networking group or any networking meeting is not there to provide entertainment. Of course it is useful to sometimes have a speaker who can educate about networking or about their business so that members can better refer them. Networking groups are about business and while they ought to be a lot of fun, that comes from members’ participation
It is up to the members to make the group successful; to work together fro the common good. It is their responsibility to make a success of their opportunity having been able to join. It is for them to contribute and to give their enthusiasm as well as their referrals. The business will come to them when they are committed to contribute. Don’t you agree?