Stop Giving (and Getting) Referrals that SUCK!

Guest Post by:
Mac Cassity
Mac The Knife Marketing

[Mac is a personal friend of mine from…let’s just say WAY back!  When we re-CONNECTed and I learned what he was up to these days, it was clear to me: He understands the Power of Connection! Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments below after you read Mac’s post!

I know, we’ve all heard it before…referrals are the BEST way to get high quality, easily converting business, right? That is, unless the referrals you are getting absolutely suck! The fact is, many (if not most) business people don’t even understand exactly what a true referral is. This results in quite a bit of wasted time and effort and not NEARLY as much actual business being transacted. A high quality referral IS like gold, but, do you even know what a high quality referral is?

My definition is simple: A high quality referral is when you introduce someone whose product or service you have faith in to someone you think could use that product or service. BAM, that’s it. Notice the word introduce is highlighted. That introduction is the secret to making referrals work. Unfortunately, all too often, we encounter a scenario like the one below:

“Hey Mac, I have a great referral for you!”

“Cool, lay it on me!”

“Well, I was driving in to work today, I saw a billboard for a new business opening up on main street, they could probably use your marketing services…you should call them!”

“Uh…yeah…sure…thanks.” (SUCK!)

The scenario above represents MANY encounters I have had in so called “referral” groups that I belonged to. Listen folks, you might mean well, but this info does NOT equal a referral. Referrals must be handed off. Another one that kills me is the “Just call him and tell him I told you to call.” Again, I say…SUCK! Most of us have higher opinions of ourselves than others and just because you think someone loves you doesn’t mean they want you telling others to call them and ask for business! Not cool. These phone calls are often little better than cold calls and in my opinion are not worth my time. You might think this sounds a bit harsh, but that’s because I expect what I give, and here’s how I give referrals:

  1. 1.      I personally introduce two individuals at a networking event and tell them why I think they should do business together.
  2. 2.      I arrange a 3-way phone call and do the same as the above (when a face to face meeting is not possible)

And lastly (but usually the most common due to obvious limitations)

  1. 3.      I email the two parties and do a “virtual introduction” thereby connecting all 3 of us as part of the referral. This one works great, is easy and quick to do, and VERY effective.

So there you have it. THAT is how you give a referral that doesn’t suck. Oh, and as for those people who give you referrals that do? Simply say to them,

“Hey, let me ask you a quick question…if I know someone that I think would be a good client for you, do you mind if I introduce them to you personally?” (they will always answer with a resounding “ABSOLUTELY!”) Once they do, just smile and ask,

“Well…do you mind doing the same for me?”

They will get the point and you will have helped train one more business professional to start giving referrals that don’t SU…you get the idea.


Mac Cassity aka MAC THE KNIFE runs a successful content creation business,  Mac the Knife Articles  and an online/offline marketing business, Mac the Knife Marketing. He has developed an extensive client base that includes major automobile manufacturers, universities, Well known speakers/authors, and more than a few “mom and pop” shops. Mac’s blog,, helps burgeoning offline marketers land and profit from brick and mortar businesses. Mac is offering his successful eBook TURNING CONVERSATIONS TO CLIENTS right now for just $1. CLICK HERE to grab a copy for yourself!

3 Replies to “Stop Giving (and Getting) Referrals that SUCK!”

  1. Mac is dead on!*No Halloween pun intended!
    I have just experienced the business referral #3. BONUS!! Because the referrer had such an awesome rapport with the people she was referring to ME….they were eager to speak to me!

    There’s a little lesson in that somewhere!

    Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!
    Amy C

  2. Mac, good job on being frank about how poor most referrals are, and on being so specific on how we can all improve. Your experience matches mine. So many good intentions, so little idea of what really constitutes a good referral for another’s business, so much wasted time!

  3. Thanks Kathy!

    I REALLY believe in referrals, but unless they are done right, they are just a waste of time. The more folks we can all train to give them correctly, the more success we ALL will have…

    Thanks to Scott as well for offering the guest blogging opportunity…keep connecting buddy, you do great work!

    Mac the Knife

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.