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5 reasons why referral marketing beats networking

I often get asked how BNI is different to other networking organisations but I have to stop people in their tracks. This is because BNI isn’t networking; it’s so much more - as it is a form of referral marketing.

So what exactly is referral marketing?

Referral marketing is when individuals commit to meet regularly to get to know each other in order to refer business. Whereas networking just provides a chance for people to meet, without any real focus on gaining more business.

Referral marketing enables people to pass recommendations to associates you know and trust.

Here are five reasons why referral marketing should be on your radar:

1)    Build relationships. Over time relationships and trust are built, reassuring people to feel confident in passing business to you. It could even result in joint ventures being formed.

2)    Learn new skills. Regular meetings build your confidence as you meet lots of people from a range of sectors. This also helps you to improve your sales skills.

3)    Generate more business. Ultimately, you are there to do more business. And this is exactly the aim of referral marketing as it is based solely on giving referrals. In the last twelve months, 16,000 referrals were passed by BNI Norfolk, generating over £13 million worth of business between 345 members.

4)    Be part of a focus group. You can share ideas with other business owners, test out new products or services and even new businesses.

5)    Expand your contacts. As others get to know you and understand your business, they will pass referrals to you, hence building your database.

Hopefully this clarifies the differences between networking and referral marketing organisations like BNI.

Is referral marketing part of your marketing strategy? We’d love to hear your experiences.

Dan Kelly MBA  

Managing Area Director BNI Norfolk