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How Authentic Are Your Referrals?

Call me old school, but I place a high value on a personal recommendation. Do you? I hope I am not alone with my traditional view on this point, as lately I’ve come across a few disingenuous referral systems and it’s got me a little fired up.

To me, I would only recommend a product, provider or service that I have had a positive personal experience with. Whether it be the product itself that delivers or the customer service that was also part of the process. Being genuine, real, authentic and honest are all attributes that I hold dear and I hope that my clients also share these beliefs.

So, what has really got me riled up are practices like these:

A Facebook group that only allowed you to recommend a business if they were a sponsored partner.
So, it is basically allowing you to purchase your reputation, no evidence or personal experiences needed. Anyone heard of the saying ‘a wolf dressed in sheeps clothing’? How does the end user know they are going to be looked after by someone with real experience, not just deep pockets? If you need to put money up to gain referrals, I’d be worried that my product or service is lacking in a few areas. That is a HARD NO from me!

Facebook Groups and Networking Circles that only allow one business per business type in the group.
Answer me this, would you ask your local GP to perform neurosurgery on you? You are seeing a medical doctor, so they should be able to perform the task no problem, right? WRONG! So why would you limit only one business provider per business type into a group? You can have accountants who practise in different areas, you can have lawyers who are experts in different fields, you can have a VA who specialises in marketing, and another VA who has a passion for numbers. Why put a limit on what you think someone is looking for?

A client told me, they lost a client because they weren’t paying a referral fee.
Another example of where money seems to talk more loudly than personal experience. Honestly, the idea that paying for clients is the new ‘norm’, rather than genuine product and service satisfaction referrals is deeply distressing. How can the person making the referral confidently introduce the seeking party to a reputable provider, if the only reason they are making the introduction to them is because their account has been paid? Another HARD NO from me!

I guess when so many ‘influencers’ are trying to peddle products via paid promotions, it’s hard to cut through what is a genuine endorsement, I guess it depends on the values of the influencer, and whether you align with them.

Don’t get me wrong, I too recommend products and receive an affiliate commission, but rest assured that anything that I recommend is bonafide with personal experience guaranteed.

If you feel your values are aligned with mine and you are looking for a VA who specialises in marketing, BOOK A CALL

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I'm Michelle Tolhurst the owner, director of Creative Desk Pty Ltd. I'm your virtual marketing assistant working with small businesses around Australia in their creative communications, email campaigns, websites, social media and desktop publishing.

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