Referral Groups: Your Next Step with the Walton Chamber

Member Benefits,

 As a business owner, involvement in your local community is a must, especially in Walton County! This wonderful little area of Georgia is home to a bustling economy and thriving residents. We have the best of the best when it comes to our proximity to bigger cities while still maintaining our glorious small-town charm.

If you’ve joined the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, you’ve taken a great first step toward expanding your network and making the most of what our county has to offer. But if you really want to elevate your involvement and see your chamber membership pay dividends, your next step should be to join a referral group.


What Is a Referral Group?


These groups meet twice a month at the chamber building and spend their time building relationships, educating each other about their businesses, and ultimately, generating referrals for each other. As a business owner, you likely already know how important it is to foster relationships with other industry and community leaders, and referral groups are a great place to organically birth and nurture those relationships.


What Is a Referral?

While most business owners understand the concept of lead generation, these groups really emphasize the importance of quality referrals. Imagine you’re new to the area and you just purchased a house. Your inspector has recommended that you replace the water heater in your new home. You’re stressed to the max because buying a house is already intense, but now you have to make yet another big decision without knowing anything or anyone in your new community. How do you know what company to use? Of course, you can do a Google search and read reviews, but isn’t it less stressful when someone you know and trust recommends a good company?


Now imagine that same scenario, but your realtor is a member of the local chamber and is an active member in a referral group. Before she even sends you the paperwork from the inspector, she texts you about a local company that does water heater replacement. They’re right down the road from you, and she knows the owner personally. Is there even any question about who you’re going to use? If you trust your realtor enough to help you buy a house, surely you trust her professional recommendations. You’re relieved and thankful, and you’re confident that her recommendation is a good one.


These are the types of referrals that members in these groups send each other regularly. Maybe your clients are constantly in need of recommendations of trustworthy businesses in the area, or perhaps you work in a unique industry with a lot of competition. Walton Chamber referral groups foster trusting relationships, and you’ll learn to rely on these fellow business owners for quality leads and recurring referrals.

How Do Walton Chamber Referral Groups Work?


During the referral group meetings, members get to share a quick “commercial” of their business with the other group members. They will tell others about their company, what they do, and what a good referral would be. It’s a great chance to practice and refine elevator pitches, as well as to learn about other local businesses that you could potentially partner with.


Occasionally, group leaders and chamber staff will encourage the members to mix up the introductions, particularly when everyone in the room already knows each other well and no new members or guests are present. Some days, they will share some unknown tips from their industry. Sometimes, it’ll be a new stat or fact that’s impacting their business or customers. Other times, the members will spend two minutes chatting with another member, and then they will have to share each other’s commercials.


After the introductions and any housekeeping notes, one member of the group will share a more in-depth look at their business and industry. This talk can include a presentation, a demonstration, or even games! It’s about educating your fellow group members about what you do so that they can send you more quality referrals. One group member will present at each group meeting, so over the course of several months, you’ll get to know each person and their business on a personal level, and you’ll get to share your own presentation with the group!


At one meeting of the Lunch Bunch Referral Group, the owner of a local video game arcade brought a game to play. The group members had fun interacting and trying to beat each other in the fast-paced game, which was a nice break and respite from the normal workday. This was also a great way to highlight having fun within the work week and encouraged some members to consider corporate outings to the gaming arcade or other local fun events.


Not only are referral groups a great way to build relationships and foster a sense of community with our local chamber, but they truly drive referrals and business to those businesses that we know and love.


One referral group created an intense competition out of bringing each other referrals. They get their names entered into a drawing one time for every referral they give, and the winner of the drawing gets a gift card donated by that week’s presenter. This idea was so effective in driving more referrals that the other groups decided to implement it as well, and all the groups saw an increase in referrals almost instantly.


Referral Group Testimonials


Here at the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, we’re confident that you will reap incredible benefits when you join a referral group. But just in case you’re not convinced, check out some testimonials from some members of our current referral groups:


“Being in a referral group allows me to develop real relationships with other business professionals in a smaller setting. Attending Chamber events on a larger scale can be overwhelming at times, and I really get to know my colleagues in the community through our meetings. We get the opportunity to really hear about their business and what makes it tick!” Eva Aycock, Acopia Home Loans


“As a relatively new resident and business owner in the community, the referral groups in the Walton Chamber were an excellent way for me to build relationships. The leaders of the chamber made me feel welcomed and introduced me to so many people. Without the referral group, my business would not be where it is today.” John Davis, Action Coach


"I've been a part of the referral group for a while. What's never changed about the group is the relationships that I have created. I have made friends, clients, and of course, referral partners. The group has always been worth it to me because of the people in it!" Destiny Wright Aycock, CMG Athens Radio


“Being in a referral group has helped me to further relationships with people that I might not otherwise interact with on a regular basis. The value of referral groups is in building solid relationships based on honesty and trust. These groups give their members confidence in providing a quality referral to their friends, family, customers and colleagues.” Heather Newsome, Realtor with EXTOL Realty


“Joining the Walton County Chamber of Commerce was the best move I could have made! Having engaged in the referral group, leadership, ribbon cuttings, and ongoing chamber social activities, I find myself at home in this vibrant area! If you want to get plugged into Walton County, the chamber is your best bet!” Phillip Hobbs, Symple LLC


“I look forward to my referral group meetings every month! The people I’ve met through this group understand what it’s like to be a business owner, and they are so encouraging and fun to be around. Business growth and providing referrals are always on their mind, and it’s a great opportunity to engage with them regularly.” Laura Comelleri, Lampstand Blogging & Content Creation, LLC


Which Referral Group Should I Join?

The chamber currently has three referral groups, and all of them have openings. You are welcome to visit any or all of them.


The Cheers Referral Group meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 8:30-9:30 am.

The Nacho Average Referral Group meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month from 8:30-9:30 am.

The Lunch Bunch Referral Group meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month from 12:00-1:00 pm.




Which one you choose to join will be based on what fits your schedule and what industry you’re in.


Because referrals are the goal and we don’t want to set similar businesses up to compete against one another, each group can have one member per industry or business type. So if you are a landscaper but one group already has someone in that field, your options would only be the other groups without a landscaper. If you have questions about your particular industry and which group you would fit best into, you can email the chamber staff at [email protected].


Get in Touch with the Walton County Chamber

If you’re interested in learning more about our referral groups or you’d like to plan a time to visit a group, send us an email or contact us today. We’d love to connect you and help you form relationships that last a lifetime!