We live in a “referral-powered” world. It’s just a fact of life; it is what it is.
You could be die-hard against something for whatever reason until someone you love, respect, and trust says something positive about it and recommends it to you.
And then something fascinating happens – your opinion changes.
Relationships are so powerful in that way and a positive referral can jumpstart not only a relationship but also business venture.
It can even jumpstart someone’s entire career; I’ve had it happen too many times to count…
The Reverse is True Too
But the reverse is also true.
A negative referral can quickly close as many doors as a good one can open. In fact, it takes a considerable amount of energy to open a closed door once it’s been shut.
You see, referrals can either be the grease upon which a conversation moves toward a positive ending or the glue that mysteriously shuts them down before they even occur.
For example: If I have a negative or perhaps poor experience with company X and you’ve been considering them in addition to companies Y and Z and you trust and respect my opinion, it’s far more likely that you’ll move forward with Y and Z instead of X.
The energy required for company X to actually “win” that battle is large – they’d have to build a relationship with my friend that is equal to or better than the one that I have with them and/or provide significant “intangibles” that prove me to be either uninformed or to have had a fringe-case experience.
The point is that in an extremely busy world where decisions need to be made quickly and decisively the amount of time, energy, and resources required to disprove a negative referral is almost too high a cost.
The Referral is Business
It’s fascinating how quickly someone will sacrifice the long-term benefit of a positive referral for the short sighted and ignorant “win” of a financial payout.
I have learned that my relational equity with my peers, friends, colleagues, business partners, and everyone else for that matter is far more important that the paycheck that I might receive as a residual benefit. In fact, it’s not even within the same equation.
But that doesn’t mean or require one to be a complete push-over. Establishing a firm line of who you are, where you are in your career, and recognizing the need, time, and energy required to “build” relationships are key factors to consider.
The point is this: The actual referral is business. Period. Earning a positive one is just as smart (or smarter) as getting a paycheck. It’s also a gift that keeps on giving.