The problem with referrals

By Micah Slavens on Sept. 10, 2010

Referrals are usually great. Our entire business is built on them. But there’s a catch: people who refer you are basing their recommendation on their experience.

Why is this an issue? Because it’s not just the great projects that multiply by referral, it’s also the exceptions, the favors and the “I’ll never do that again” projects.

As you work on your business, you’ll learn and grow. Eventually there will be certain types of projects that you can’t afford to do. Your time is valuable, so don’t be afraid to turn down a project if it isn’t quite right.

A Framework

It usually helps to make yourself a framework for your decisions. Dan and Chip Heath call it “scripting the critical moves” in their book Switch

Give yourself a simple set of rules for considering a project and if one doesn’t fit, don’t do it. The choice is yours. Say “no” once now or ten times later.

Micah Slavens


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