Tipsheet: Respect Your Referrals

Respect Your Referrals

One of the most powerful concepts in networking is "Give to Get": the more you help other people, the more they will help you. Give to Get also has a longer term benefit: the longer you do it, the more powerful your
relationships and the more positive your reputation.

A great networking question is how much should you continue to
give, before you might expect to get. Consider these two real, but opposite

  • After ten years of "giving", a networking contact
    referred a significant prospect, which resulted in an important new client.
  • After delivering a high five-figure client to a networking
    contact, there wasn’t any thank you or acknowledgement.

In the first situation, the networking contact saw an
opportunity that was a perfect fit; keeping my name visible and valuable over
time directly resulted in the referral. This contact continues to receive plenty
of attention, and the relationship is even stronger.

In the second situation, the networking contact was so inwardly
focussed, that the thought of even a simple thank you – let alone a gift – never
crossed their minds. The result? They will never receive any attention (from me)
in any way ever again: an organization that never says thank you will also never
send a referral. The relationship is dead, and Give to Get is with them is a
waste of time.

This week’s action plan: A referral can be a
new business lead, an important introduction, or maybe just a suggested
connection on LinkedIn. Who have you given a referral to this week? Who has
referred an opportunity your way? It is too easy to take these for granted,
without realizing the impact of not reciprocating… or not saying thank you.

Bonus action plan: Go back through your
calendar for the last year, and identify all of the people you haven’t thanked,
or that you haven’t thanked enough, and take care of the task immediately.
Respect your referrals.

Give to Get bonus: If you’ve done the
thank you’s from above, you’re now treading water. This week, make some
referrals yourself: you’ll earn respect from your referrals. And
hopefully, a thank-you.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to
to register.

Randall Craig

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Randall Craig has founded several successful start-ups, held a long-time position at a “big-four” consulting firm, and was an executive at an American public company. He currently serves as the 108 ideaspace CEO and chief strategist. Randall has been advising on digital strategy since 1994: he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail’s GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations.

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