The Gift of a Referral

October 9, 2023


By Bill Haemmerle

“Congrats, you both just met a cool person.” – Ted Lasso introducing Trent Crimm and Ollie (the waiter at his father-in-law’s Indian restaurant and Ted’s limousine driver who picked him up at the airport).  

The act of making the introduction provides Trent and Ollie with the knowledge that Ted trusts them and is vouching for their character.  It gives both individuals the ability to trust with little to no history or relationship.  That is a true gift for both people being introduced.  

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive numerous referrals that have opened up many great opportunities for me. These referrals have been instrumental in connecting me with new clients, career changes, and valuable networking contacts. In every instance, I’ve made it a point to keep the person who referred me in the loop, and I have hoped to be kept in the loop when I have connected others. I believe in being transparent and sharing both good and bad news. It’s important to me that there are no surprises and everyone involved knows what’s happening. Unfortunately, there have been instances where individuals I’ve referred have failed to follow up with me. This can be frustrating, especially since I’ve received updates from the people I put them in touch with. I believe it’s important always to show gratitude for referrals and to follow up on any introductions made. 

In a world interwoven with connections and opportunities, referrals and introductions stand out as invaluable gifts. Whether they come in the form of a job referral, a service provider recommendation, or a tip on an impossible-to-get restaurant reservation, these referrals are more than mere introductions; they are tokens of trust and belief in your potential.

When someone extends a referral to you, they are, in essence, entrusting you with a piece of their own reputation. It’s an endorsement that goes beyond words. They’re saying, “I believe in you, your abilities, and your character.” This is a precious gift, one that carries with it a responsibility to uphold and honor not just your own reputation but also that of the person who vouched for you.

Receiving a referral is akin to stepping onto a soccer field, where your performance as part of a team has far-reaching consequences.  It is important to maintain open lines of communication with the person who referred you. Keep them informed about your progress, be it the stages of a job interview, a client meeting, or a dining experience at the recommended restaurant. This not only shows appreciation but also keeps them in the loop, strengthening your bond.

Approach the referral opportunity with respect and professionalism. If it is a professional referral, be well-prepared, punctual, and enthusiastic. If it is a restaurant reservation, behave and leave a nice tip!  Across the board, don’t be afraid to embrace the referral and make it a part of y our first conversation as it is your closest link to the person at that moment.  Your actions and demeanor reflect not just on you but also on the person who endorsed you.

Sometimes, an opportunity may not align with your goals or expectations. In such instances, practice honesty. If you decide not to pursue a job, decline a client relationship, or have a less-than-ideal experience at a restaurant, communicate openly with both the referrer and the party involved. Transparency builds trust and maintains integrity.

Understand that relationships are delicate and require nurturing. Express your gratitude to the person who referred you and continue cultivating the connection, even after the initial referral.

Being mindful that referrals create a ripple effect. They enhance your professional standing, fortify your network, and foster trust among your connections. Moreover, it encourages a culture of reciprocity, where individuals are more inclined to support one another and “pay it forward.”

A referral is not merely an introduction; it’s a symbol of faith and a testament to the strength of connections. Embrace this gift with mindfulness, for the opportunities it brings can enrich your life, both personally and professionally. The referrals you receive today may well be the stepping stones to your future success, all thanks to the trust and generosity of someone who believes in you.


Reach out to a Wiss team member for more information or assistance.

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