Why I Choose Not to Post Vendor Referrals Publicly
Everyday on social media, I watch folks request and give referrals for just about anything you can think of. Even I, on occasion, tap the Face-hive mind when I'm in search of a specific service, product, or provider in hopes that a trusted friend will be able to steer me in the right direction for whatever it is I may be searching. I'm ever grateful to those that readily share their recommendations on the net... especially whenever I see my own name or company listed as the suggestion; from the bottom of my heart... thank you.
As a professional event planner in the business of referrals, however, you'll find I'm quite conservative in sharing my intel. I've occasionally been asked by clients and vendors alike why I don't choose to publicly share my referrals on social media... so... I decided this would be a great topic for a blog post. There's really no right or wrong approach here... but since the question has come up multiple times, I wanted to offer insight into my personal approach. The following are the reasons I don't put my referrals on blast...
I value providing well-curated, quality referrals for my clients. For me, this extends beyond sharing my favorite vendors or businesses. I've learned that providing a quality referral means really getting to know the specifics of what a client is wanting and needing before name dropping. Asking the right questions before offering suggestions will increase the likelihood of making a referral that exceeds the expectations of the inquiry. Its the difference between suggesting my personal favorite vegetarian restaurant when a client is hungry for a top shelf, meaty burger. Digging a little deeper into the inquiry means learning the initially unspoken specs of the ask, so I can curate a recommendation that produces a perfect match.
My referrals are client-centric, meaning, my recommendations will always be provided in the best interest of the client, never for my own personal gain nor a vendor's. I do not receive kick-backs for my recommendations, nor do I participate in referral programs. Early on, I made a conscious choice not to accept incentives (unless they can be transferred to the client), for the simple reason that I want to maintain 100% loyalty to the interests of my clients, rather than to the vendors with whom I'm rewarded to work. Also, I do not want to be limited in the recommendations I make (i.e. obligated to promote one vendor over others). It is important to me that my recommendations be authentic... Conversely, I prefer and appreciate when vendors refer me or my business only when they wholeheartedly believe I am the perfect fit for the job.
I value supporting and strengthening my community. As a planner, people often look to me specifically for referrals for their events... and I regard this as a great responsibility... not just to my clients, but also to the local businesses and vendors with whom I work. To publicly and repeatedly pledge allegiance to one photographer, or one florist, or one caterer etc. limits the opportunity I have in building and supporting the many relationships it requires to strengthen our small, local community, not to mention facilitate a cohesive team on any given event day. I've implemented a business model which allows me to build and maintain relationships with veteran businesses, as well as new, incoming talent. I want to see our entire industry succeed, and maintaining an open willingness to work with the right vendor team for each specific client and/or event allows me to make well curated referrals for my clients as well as support our very dynamic and diverse events community. Furthermore, I'd wouldn't wish to discourage a vendor for a specific service by publicly recommending another provider for that service in response to an inquiry on social media.
While you will certainly see me credit-blast each vendor on an event team following each event production in my social media posts, you'll also observe me continue to withhold my personal recommendations in responding to public requests for referrals. These select recommendations will forever be reserved specifically for my clients, with whom I will have ample opportunity to learn the in-depth intricacies of their very unique vision, wishes, needs, limitations, and specs.
And to those of you who do choose to share your referrals publicly, and happen to list me or my company in your recommendations... Thank You again.