As you begin to find success in networking you will undoubtedly expand your network to include more than one group.  Becoming active in several networking groups focused on varying interest, geography, or industry is a wise move that will broaden your exposure and increase your effectiveness.  We encourage and highly recommend that you are involved in more than one group, chamber of commerce, or both.


With expanded exposure comes the opportunity to share your network with a wider variety of people. You will provide more solutions to more people and they will provide you with more connections.  Your network will grow.  This benefits you, your network, and your new networking partners. 


However there is one rule that you must never violate if you are to succeed in multiple groups. Never under any circumstances give two people in the same business the same referral. If your friend Sam is buying a new house, you cannot refer Sam to two mortgage brokers in different groups.  That is just like double-dipping chips at a party; you just shouldn’t do it.  It is not cool and everyone gets hurt when you share the same referral with two people in the same industry.


Your friend Sam gets a mixed message and begins to feel like he is just a number to you.  He is likely to think you are not trying to help him as much as you are trying to help yourself.  The two mortgage brokers end up embarrassed and looking like little more than glad-handing salespeople.  And you end up with a loss of credibility that will lead to fewer referrals and potential expulsion from both groups.


But do not be confused. It is appropriate and desirable to share the same referral with solution providers in similar but different industries.  You most definitely should share Sam’s name with one mortgage broker, one realtor, one insurance agent, and one moving company provided you know that Sam has an interest or need for these services.  Your knowledge of Sam’s needs is a direct result of your relationship with Sam.


Your relationship with Sam may not be close enough for you to know all his needs and interests. You may have recently met Sam and you only know he is in the market for a new home.  It stands to reason he may have a need a mortgage broker, insurance agent, realtor, and mover.  But you are not close enough to Sam to know for certain.  You should still share Sam’s name with one provider for each service from your network.  In doing so be clear with each person that Sam is a lead, not a referral.  In either case, sending resources to Sam that can solve his problems helps him, the referral partners, and you.


Understanding how and when to share referrals is essential to your success in networking and in life. Observing the law of  “no double-dipping” will ensure you have greater success.