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BLOGRespect Your Referrals

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking

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.

An important question. though, is how long does it take before all of this giving actually bears fruit?  Consider these two real, but opposite situations:

  • After ten years of “giving”, a networking contact referred a significant prospect, which resulted in an important new client.
  • After directly referring a high five-figure client to someone in my network, there wasn’t any thank you or acknowledgement.  (Yes, they knew the referral came from me, since I had to do a fair amount of set-up for them to get the engagement.)

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 now even stronger.

In the second situation, 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: Give to Get is with them is a waste of time.


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.

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