People just love giving referrals. We love posting our favourite movies on Facebook or recommending someone if a friend’s looking for a plumber or an electrician or whatever. Indeed, hugely successful websites like Britain’s Best Home have been built around our natural impulse to share our opinions with other people. Basically, it’s just big databases of referrals that we selflessly take the time and energy to write for strangers, all for free.
Why is that? Why do we love making referrals so much? Part of it is that we just like sharing our opinions on stuff with other people. Part of it is that we like to support businesses we like – we’ll write a review on Britain’s Best Home about a new build or luxury home or tell people about it because we want it to succeed and or sell. Another part of it is that we like the validation of seeing other people agree with our opinions.
But the biggest reason people like making referrals is simple: we like being a hero. If I need a plumber, and you refer me someone great, I owe you one. If I was looking for a good, and you recommended one to me, I now have a higher opinion of your taste in food. Basically, if you give me a great referral, you’re my hero.
And you’re not just my hero, but you’re a hero to the person you referred me to. I have become a very active reviewer in my speciality, reviewing most of the luxury homes for sale that I like. Recently, when I went to a Chinese restaurant that I love, the owner’s daughter came over to tell me how grateful they were for my review on social media. Even better, they sent me home with a box of choclates free! Why? Because I was their hero!
So the lesson is this: you need to stop being so self-conscious about asking people for referrals. Don’t be afraid to put it out there, because people absolutely love giving referrals.
Here’s the key, though. We only give referrals to people we think are really great at their jobs. We don’t recommend estate agents that we think are just okay and we’re not going to refer someone to the estate agent who never returned our calls, regardless of how many refrigerator magnets they sends us.
People only refer the best. So be the best. And if you are the best, then don’t hesitate to give people the opportunity to refer you to their friends, family, and anyone they know. If you are indeed really good at your job, they’ll refer you. Not because they want to help you out, but because they want to be a hero.