In this digital/AI-focused age coupled with a challenging economic climate, it's easy to focus on marketing and social media, and forget about the power of a personal referral. It’s so reassuring to get a good recommendation from someone when you need a plumber, or a roofer – knowing that someone you know has confirmed that person is good value and good quality, and that they won’t let you down. 
It’s also incredibly gratifying to know that your clients genuinely value the work you do – so much so that they’re willing to stake their own reputation on recommending you to others. As recruiters, we genuinely believe our many years of experience in both HR and recruitment makes us far better placed to fully understand what your business needs. 
So, how can you harness the power of referrals to bolster your pipeline? Is building a business based on referrals smart or risky? Does a referral-based culture damage efforts to improve diversity? 
With word-of-mouth referrals at the heart of our business, as well as being HR specialists, these are critical questions. 
Business-to-business referrals tend not to have the same reputation for lack of diversity as referrals as a hiring tool (indeed – many organisations use recruiters in order to broaden the talent pool and them bring in more diverse hires). However, the need to be intentional about who you recommend, and whose recommendations you listen to, is just as important in the B2B world as it is for recruitment. 
While there are strategies for boosting referrals – such as paid programmes – businesses should be careful to protect their reputation. After all, the best referrals are the organic ones that you didn’t ask for. 
At Trapeze, over 90 percent of our work comes through our extended network. 
Here are our top tips for organic, quality referrals: 
Be authentic and honest. Even if you might lose out in the short term (for example, by telling someone that you’re not the right fit for what they need right now), you’ll build credibility in spades. 
Don’t forget to deliver. It can be tempting to sign a client and start thinking about the next opportunity, but if you neglect the people paying you in favour of those who might pay you, you’ll get nowhere. 
When things go wrong, ask for feedback (and listen to it!). No one likes to hear what they could have done better, but if you actually listen to and implement change based on feedback you’ll not only improve, but you can go back to your clients and show them how you’ll do an even better job next time. 
Talk about what you can do. Gather testimonials, share your insights and remind people what you can do for them – you never know when they might need you, so make sure they’ve heard of you! 
In conclusion, value your network and allow them to value you! 
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