I originally published this post on 10/23/10 on my other blog. I need to republish it so that I can link to it in my next post. Enjoy!
I contemplated two titles for this post. “More on Referrals” and “Referral Morons”. I guess I’m getting soft as I mature get older.
Here’s the story. I met a couple of guys a year or two ago. Let’s call them Mutt and Jeff. Late 20′s. Partners in business. Have some success. Jeff’s all personality. Always smiling. Bright eyes. Enthusiastic. Mutt’s the back end guy. Quieter. Steady. They started another business together. It’s a commodity business and I know a guy who’s my first choice to refer in their industry.
Last summer, we were all at a networking event and they mentioned that they had been trying to get in front of someone that would be a great client for them, but he wouldn’t let them get to first base. The ‘suspect’ happened to be at the networking event, so I brought the boys over and introduced them. Mutt immediately jumped down the guy’s throat telling him that he was closed-minded because he wouldn’t even listen to what this 28 year old arrogant, know it all had to say. I was very sorry that I introduced them, apologized to the ‘suspect’ and told Mutt and Jeff that I’d never introduce them to anybody that I cared about again.
I’ve seen them a few times since, but avoid contact. So does Mutt.
Recently, Jeff asked me, “How can we smooth this over so that you’ll give us referrals?”
Did you notice that it’s all about them?
They’re not a client (obviously, based on Mutt’s behavior).
They’ve never referred me.
They’re crappy salespeople.
Mutt thinks he’s smarter than Jeff and won’t stay behind the scenes. Jeff can’t control him. Therefore anyone that I refer to Jeff may be subjected to Mutt’s behavior. That will never happen.
I already have a contemporary (old guy) who does what they do, who’s a great salesman, a great networker, that everybody likes and who has referred to me. My clients don’t need Mutt’s attitude.
So, my response to Jeff’s question was, “Get rid of Mutt.” I could see the conflict and frustration on his face, but I was done talking and left.
In hindsight, I realize that I was harsh. So, Jeff reads my blog (Mutt’s way too smart.) and I’m gonna offer another solution.
First, read Referrals à la Rick.
Second, make Mutt read this post and the pages behind the links. Watch him do it but watch out for his temper.
Third, tell him that you want to fix it and tell him that you want him and you to hire me for three months to fix you both. (Recognize that I’m gonna charge you MORE THAN YOU MAKE to make sure that you’re both FULLY COMMITTED.
Think it will be worth it? How many other relationships has Mutt ruined? Don’t care? OK.