It's hard to write when your head is stuffed, so this will be a short post. Probably.
I find that more and more people are asking me for referrals, regardless of how well or how little I know them and their businesses. In a way, that is a good sign. It means that the spirit of collaboration rather than competition might just be catching on, and that is a good thing all round. There are many organizations and other folks who talk about how to be better at getting referrals. Let's discuss giving referrals here.
Giving referrals can be somewhat like giving your children away in marriage. What do you look out for when you do that?
1. Are they a good match, and will they help each other to grow?
When you connect two people, you do so with their current and future happiness in mind. You assess whether they complement each other, not compete with or even fight each other. Have you tried to get to know both parties well yourself, directly through personal contact or even indirectly via reputation, proven body of work, etc? The last thing you want to do is connect two people and watch them fail.
2. How productive will they be working together?
What would be the business outcomes of bringing these two together? Will their revenues and profits rise because of working together, or will they end up eating into each other's profits? How will they be able to produce so much more together rather than on their own?
3. How will their stakeholders benefit from your referral?
It doesn't matter whether we're talking about B2C, B2B, etc. Consider the ramifications, positive or otherwise, of your referral. Think ahead four or five logical steps, and consider whether your referral will be seen as a blessing or seen as a hindrance or even a curse later on.
So. Are you good at getting referrals? Many of you already are. How about getting good at giving referrals? Do you know the "Whys"? If one of the parties is your child, would you marry them both?