Have you ever been referred by another into a program to hear these words:
“You should feel honored to be included in this program alongside the celebrities we have lined up!”
The above phrase is meant to excite and encourage people to participate in a collaborative promotional effort. And depending where you are at that point in time, it “could” be very exciting …
Scenarios may include, your friend knew the organizer of this seemingly incredible program and you are closer to the beginning stages of business where you need all the help you can get — so you stop to thank your lucky stars for the connection.
But as you become more seasoned, you know to let the excitement of the project die down a little in order to rationally consider the project from all angles. Consider everything clearly stated, and then recognize which matters are in a grey area and those that were avoided. Taking 24 – 48 hours to carefully consider a new project will bring up intuitive insight that will hold much merit.
Questions to ponder:
- Why am I being asked to participate?
- Will the project attract poor or good attention?
- Does working with famous people outweigh working within my set of principles?
Once your questions are formed, ask the organizer for time to discuss everything at hand. Additional questions may include:
- What has been your experience with this?
- What is the anticipated ROI?
- What are all the guidelines and expectations?
Frequently, the most important piece of information is purposely omitted upfront, and then sometimes disguised by being presented in small pieces. This pertains to the question:
“What are the upfront costs to participate?”
At this point, you now have most of the information required to make a valid decision on whether or not to move forward. The only obligation you have is to yourself and your clientele.
Ask yourself: Will the project in someway dampen your reputation?
This is the ultimate question to be answered that will lead you on the right path.
Should you find the project is not 100% to your liking, find a diplomatic way to decline. Thank the host for their time and consideration of having you and wish the team all the best. Exiting on a high note will help keep your brand in tact.
Now let’s turn to the subject of referrals itself. Honest and open communication works best at all times. Here are a few points that may help you in the future:
If you are referred to another:
Report back to the referring party of how the conversation went and the end result. You must be honest if it were a bad experience. Long ago, I reported back a terrible referral in order to let my friend know not to make the same error again — or continuing to do so would hurt his reputation. Money admittedly clouded his judgment and he appreciated the feedback.
Upon a great outcome, the referring party will definitely want to know. Reporting back will encourage further referrals.
If you refer one person to another:
Try to make it a well-qualified match. If someone you do not know well asks for the introduction, do your best to find out why, and where their interest lies. Forewarn the other party you will be making an introduction upon request but do not know the person well. It will now be up to them to make a good decision, not just based upon your friendship and feeling of obligation.
Not everyone knows to report back to you. So check in with the person you referred to hear how the conversation went and gain insight on how to handle future referrals.
My mantra is to always be open to opportunities but with discernment of all that is entailed. Approaching referrals wisely will make a huge difference in your business and enjoyment of the Smooth Sale!