Why all business referrals aren’t GOOD referrals

Bec McFarland // March 16 // 0 Comments

As a business owner, you love getting referrals, right? Anything that helps your business grow is a great idea. Well, maybe. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but not all business referrals are good referrals… Let me explain why.

We all know that one way to get referrals is to give referrals. 

It’s kinda like a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” situation. In fact, a lot of networking groups are based on this philosophy and even have targets for you to meet in terms of how many referrals you make! 

Not at BizCBR! 

Personally, we find those kind of practices to be rather icky. And in some cases unethical. Here are a couple of reasons we think this:

1. Making a referral is not an obligation

In our opinion, you should never feel obligated to recommend someone’s business. This is coming from a place of force and not flow. We truly believe that business should be fun and that if you’re loading yourself up with obligations, then you might as well ditch the risk and go and get a J-O-B. Harsh but true. 

2. Nobody else has the right to set targets for your business

Again, if you wanted to have key performance indicators, you’d become someone else’s employee. This feels particularly awkward for us. And we’ve heard stories of members “getting into trouble” or even being booted from groups where they haven’t met their referral targets. That’s just not cool. 

3. You can’t genuinely recommend someone if you haven’t used their services

They might be a nice person. And you might really like them! But there’s a big difference between being a nice person and doing a great job. What we have seen unravel time and time again, is people getting burned because they engage other businesses based on referrals. (Which are seen as recommendations). Despite the fact that the referrer often hasn’t even done business with them. 

At BizCBR we believe it’s unethical to recommend someone you haven’t worked with 

That doesn’t mean you can’t share about their business though. Here are some ideas of phrases you might use: 

If you have engaged the business:

“Matt from Mowing Around Canberra Garden Maintenance & Rubbish Removal is awesome. He did such a great job at my place, was reasonably priced and super honest. We’ll be getting him back for sure and I recommend him without hesitation.”

(This is a genuine recommendation btw… if you’re looking for a gardener, hit him up!)

If you haven’t engaged the business:

“Bec from Pop Your Career is a Career Coach I have met through networking. I haven’t used her services, but I saw her speak at a networking event and she had some good ideas. She seems quite personable and has a good sense of humour, too. Maybe you should book a discovery call with her and see if you vibe?”

Referrals ≠ Recommendations 

It’s okay to build awareness without misrepresenting yourself! In fact – we recommend it! If you’re unsure about recommending someone, don’t. There’s never any pressure to. 

If you want to be part of a Canberra Business Network that doesn’t pressure you into referral relationships, join us here. We’d love to have you. 

About the Author

Bec McFarland is a career and business coach and the founder of Pop Your Career, Pop Your Business and BizCBR. She is a self-confessed nerd, hardcore introvert and lover of Mexican food - sans gluten and dairy.

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