Dear Danielle: How Do I Know to Whom to Refer?

Dear Danielle:

Love your blog. Just one question: In terms of finding other Administrative Consultants to refer clients to that I cannot or will not serve, how do I know who is good or not? Is there a way around shooting in the dark? –TJ

Great question! Here are a few thoughts and ideas for ya:

  1. Don’t feel like you have to refer to actual colleagues if you don’t know anyone yet. If you are new to the industry, it will simply take time to get to know others well enough to decide who you’d be comfortable referring prospective clients to. As you recognize, your reputation is tied to the referrals you make, so you want to make sure you only refer to those you have found to be competent and professional. You never want to make a recommendation willy nilly.
  2. Getting involved in industry organizations, forums and listservs is really the only way to get to know colleagues. As you interact with others, you’ll begin to notice those folks who really stand out in terms of demonstrating their competence, professionalism and knowledge.
  3. Taking that a step further, make a point of establishing relationships with those folks and become referral partners for each other.
  4. Another way to help those clients out that you can’t or don’t want to work with, when you don’t have a specific person to refer them to, is to simply provide them with a link to your industry organization. That’s a perfectly helpful gesture as well.

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