Referrals are a unique form of communication. When we make one, we put our own reputations on the line. People follow our recommendations if they trust us and respect our opinion. If our referral turns out to be a bad experience, our reputations suffer.
In the last post, I mentioned that I had product issues with two companies. One responded in an overwhelmingly positive fashion and now my family is recommending it to everyone they know. The other was polite but that was about it. We tried both products as the result of recommendations made by friends.
In my networking group, this very topic came up recently for discussion. A member reminded us that when we make a referral, we put our own reputations on the line. It is one of the reasons we do not have a referral requirement in that group. No one should be forced to recommend any person, product, or company. Recommendations are not made unless the member is willing to stake her own reputation on it.
That discussion made me think. How valuable is our personal reputation? Apparently, not very.
People do things like pose nude, have affairs, and fudge on their taxes; all things that sully their reputations. Is it any wonder that we no longer trust each other? We have no reason to believe in each other and that is a direct result of not protecting our own reputations.
I am careful now when I make a recommendation because I have had people or products not perform as I said they would. Those I referred were disappointed in both the service they received and in the person who sent them there - me.
I want people to be happy with the product or company I recommend to them. A good referral reflects well on me and hopefully, those I pass on to others will come back to use me and my product…because they trust me - because I made a good referral.