How to recommend your colleagues
NRG Synergy Newsletter 39 30 Nov 05
Recommending people, say a web designer, to your prize clients is a big thing. Many people worry about this - you do not want to jeopardise a precious relationship with your prize client if the person you recommend fails to perform to expected levels. So here is how to manage this.
Let's say you met up with this web designer at a lunchtime networking event. You may only have met them before the lunch in the open networking forum. As a result, you may not have had the chance for a discussion in any depth.
If you think this person would become a valuable addition to your network, arrange to meet up with them at a later date for an in-depth discussion. This will help you get a feeling for the person and their values, as much as for the quality of their work. To work well, people have to have similar values - your definition of professionalism must be similar to theirs, for instance.
Ideally, talk to their customers who may also be at a later networking event. Failing that, ask your web designer to bring along some examples of their work and some testimonials.
But let's say you meet someone right after your networking lunch with a need for a new website. In theory, you've not had much chance to assess this web designer. Can you recommend them and risk your relationship with your client?
Yes, you can. You simply have to be straightforward about it. Simply say: 'You want a website designed. I met someone at lunch today and they seemed very competent. I can give you an introduction and you can make up your own mind.'
This is a good recommendation because you have been entirely honest about your relationship with the web designer. Meanwhile, you have helped your client with a useful introduction they may not otherwise have had, and got the ball rolling for them.
All you need to do is manage perceptions and explain the background to the client. They can then make up their own mind.