Monday, November 19, 2012

Are you recommendable?

Paul du Toit CSP - very recommendable!
People are prepared to pay for exactly the set of skills you have. How do they know you are the right person for the task? More often than not, it's because you've been recommended by someone they trust. So how recommendable are you?

Firstly, do people know what skills you have, and have an idea how you transfer them to your clients? You best advocates will know you well, and have a very clear idea what you do, and just as importantly, what you don't do. The reputation of the person who recommends you hinges on whether you do a good job, which means they need to have enormous confidence in you. You should never claim to have skills that you don't possess, since you'll not only upset a client, you may well lose the trust of your friend.

Secondly, do you refer other people? It's not a straightforward reciprocal deal. You don't have to immediately recommend the person who refers you, but it helps a great deal if you are seen to be a giver of referrals as well as a taker of them. My advice is to always try to refer more than you receive, but clearly we can't all do that all the time, or it wouldn't add up. It's about an attitude.

Thirdly, do you show your gratitude?  Some people agree referral fees in advance, but in every case, a thank you is the bare minumum, and a small gift, or taking your pal out for a meal is the least you can do. It not only says "thanks", it also strengthens your relationship, and will lead to more referrals between you.

Fourthly, do you say "no" when you're asked to do something outwith your expertise? However, desperate you are for business, this is a poor policy. By all means try to find someone else to fit the bill, but never, ever go for something that you aren't equipped to handle.

Lastly (and this is my personal bugbear), try not to recommend yourself. People who respond to an appeal for skills saying "I can do that" give the requester very little to go on. OK, you can demonstrate your expertise with testimonials from happy clients, but why isn't one of them recommending you? I can hear you thinking "But Alan, they didn't see the request". Fine - in that case send it to them, and ask if they would recommend you. If you're as good as you think you are, they'll be happy to.

So make yourself recommendable.

This topic is covered in great detail in the best book on the topic - "Recommended" by Andy Lopata. If you really want to be recommendable, invest in a copy now.


Jeremy Jacobs said...

Excellent advice as always Alan

Andy Lopata said...

Many thanks for the kind recommendation at the end of this excellent blog Alan!

You have made some excellent points. One of which I'd like to highlight.

It's amazing how many people come to me to find out how to generate more business through referrals but who look blankly at me when I ask them to think of someone they have referred recently.

You can't expect people to refer you if you are not equally willing to refer them. Not as a direct 'quid pro quo', as you rightly state it's all about attitude.

Step one in being recommendable is to develop your own referral habit. Who can you recommend or refer today?

Heather Waring said...

Excellent advice Alan, do you mind if I share this? It's so important for everyone in business and I totally get what Andy was saying regarding not referring people themselves, it's not a one way street.

Good to check that people are clear about your skills. WE know what we do but is this picked up by others in the way we assume it is? Is their understanding of us the same as ours? If not, what can we do to make that clearer?

Alan Stevens said...

Share away. Happy to be of help.