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Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Careless Referrals Cost Reputations

And could get you sued ...


Posted by Jacky Sherman on 22/11/2023 @ 8:00AM

I once got into an argument with a solicitor at a breakfast meeting. Most definitely a rash move on my part, so my apologies. He maintained that you could be sued for referring someone who then did a bad job or caused some harm to your contact ...

in extreme cases you can be sued, so make sure you are confident about your referrals

in extreme cases you can be sued, so make sure you are confident about your referrals

created by dall-e / open ai

In my defence, my concern was that he was instilling fear into a room full of business people who have great potential to generate amazing business together. I later took advice from another solicitor I know very well who confirmed that technically, yes, you could be sued.

Then he added an all-important but. Only if you have been deemed negligent. As I am not a lawyer, if you want a definition of negligent check with your own legal advisor.

Putting aside how the law would interpret your actions, giving a referral should be treated with the utmost care. It is your reputation and relationships which are at stake. Your contacts are the most precious asset in your business so don't squander them.

I first published this blog post in 2013 though my tips are still valid. I have added some extra detail to the first tip:

  1. Take your time to get to know the people you meet. Do they 'walk the talk' in general terms? Do they turn up on time and do what they say they will do? Maybe the first thing you can offer them is just introductions to people who may be able to help them. If so make it clear to both parties that this is not a promise or recommendation, it's just an introduction.

  2. Only refer people you know and trust and that you would use if you were buying their services. If you haven't used their services yourself, who do you know who has or can they provide bona fide testimonials that you can check out?

  3. Make it clear that you are introducing someone who may be able to help your contact with a need and, in your experience, has the following qualities. "What I like about (insert name) is ..." Don't exaggerate or make things up; be honest!

  4. Lastly, think about your intention. What is making you refer this person? Listen to the voice in your head. Which of these recommendations do you trust?

    • "I'm recommending Fred because I believe he is the best person to help you ..."

    • "I'm recommending Fred because he's paying me to do so ..."

    • "I'm recommending Fred because he's my mate ..."

    • "I'm recommending Fred because he's in my network group ..."

    • "I'm recommending Fred because I haven't met my referral quota this month ..."

    • "I'm recommending Fred because I want to encourage him to refer to me ..."

    • "I'm recommending Fred because he's referred business to me ..."

Remember, only refer if they're the right person for the job and you know how they've helped other contacts, even if you've never used their services personally.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about making good referrals, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07970 638857. Let's have an initial chat over a coffee and see how I can help you.

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