What to Do If You Get a Bad Referral

Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The best way to avoid bad referrals is to tell people when they’ve given you one.  Tell them tactfully, but tell them!  If you don’t, you’ll keep getting bad referrals and, to be brutally honest, you’ll deserve every one of them.  I continually run into people who say, “Oh, I can’t tell someone that the referral they gave me was no good.”  I say, You can’t afford not to tell them.”  Be direct, and don’t apologize.  They need to know the referral was bad.

Be positive, and make sure they know it was the referral they gave that was bad, and not their effort.  If you expect the best from people, you’ll usually get it.  If you expect less than the best, you’ll usually get that too.  The best way to ensure that you don’t get bad referrals is to teach people what you consider to be a good referral. This differs for each person, and especially for each profession.

For example, some professionals, such as consultants, counselors, and therapists, consider the opportunity to give a speech to a business group a good referral.  Others, such as printers, contractors, or florists, normally don’t.  You cannot assume that everyone knows what kind of referral you’re seeking.  You need to be very specific about what constitutes a good referral for you.

An exceptionally effective way of making sure you get good referrals is to monitor the referrals you get.  This helps you in many ways.  It tells you how often you get referrals, their sources, quality, status, and dollar payoff.  Having this information helps you focus on the groups that are giving you the best referrals and to reciprocate with the people who are giving you the most referrals.

Have you had to talk to someone about a bad referral they passed your way?  How did you handle it?  Please share your experience(s) in the comment forum below.  Thanks!


5 thoughts on “What to Do If You Get a Bad Referral

  1. I think it is a good idea to hear back from the people you give referreals no matter how brutal it may sound. I heard about a not so good referral i gave from a third party. I wish I’d hear from the person first. I gave the referral in good faith and I asked in the beginning if it was a good referral and was told yes. Afterwards it turned out not so.

  2. This is a great article. As a BNI director Consultant for the past 7+ years, I’ll have members tell me about a bad referral that they received. I will ask him or her did you talk with the other member and explain why it was a bad referral. Most of the time the answer is no. My response is the same, tell them why it is a bad referral and what you would like to have in the way of referrals. Again, this is a fantastic blog on dealing with a bad referral.

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