Business growth and development comes from referrals in one form or another. Maybe you disagree, but let's think of that statement more broadly.....With innovative advertising, a strong market presence, or even a great "location/position", a business can certainly have and even maintain some success. However, a long-lasting or even self-sustaining success comes when people have "tasted the fruit" or tried the product, and want other people to know about that product or service because they BELIEVE IN IT, LIKE IT, and they KNOW IT WORKS. A good auto mechanic, a caring family doctor, a good Realtor, or even a trusted day care provider are examples that giving or receiving a referral or recommendation can ACTUALLY increase the quality of someone's life, potentially save them money, add to their peace of mind, or even help them to have more time to spend with their family because they are not wasting time with poor quality "hires".
So, a "professional" referral could be work related, like to a boss, or a coworker, but could certainly include a friend, a relative, a neighbor, as it really does not matter. A person should feel comfortable about putting their CREDIBILITY behind a referral, as they know it may "cost them something" if the referral turns out bad or fake. So, it would certainly be true, the closer your relationship to the person also the greater the risk you will "hear back" from them about a referral, which reinforces your desire to make and give good and trustworthy referrals. Good referrals "build your credibility" as a person or business that is concerned about everyone's happiness, not just making money.
CAUTION: Conversely, some referrals ARE BY THEIR VERY NATURE, not genuine and have no "potential cost". An example would be a referral group, where business people meet for the sole purpose of referring others to the various people in the group. There is nothing wrong with that modality, but it can cause a problem when people are referring business's, products, or services only for the HOPE of future referral's to their business, product or service. Hence, there is less trust built or even first-hand knowledge that the referred party actually knows what they are doing, and truly "worthy" of a recommendation.
Simply put, thoughtfully refer and recommend other professionals as much as you possibly can, as it a part of being a BUSINESS LEADER that has a building mentality and not a hoarding or selfish mentality.
Remember this, in its PUREST FORM.....A referral is simply introducing someone you ACTUALLY care about to someone you ACTUALLY trust.