Referral Fees

Do you know a vendor you trust so much that when you’re looking for a product or service that this vendor doesn’t even sell you still call him/her first? You do that because you trust them. You know they are trying to help you with no strings attached. In any industry, a trusted vendor’s experience and contacts throughout an industry is a valuable resource to their clients.

Which brings me to my philosophy regarding referral fees. To put it simply, I don’t accept them nor do I pay them. This has a successful policy for me for over 25 years. My feeling is that if I were to accept referral fees from another vendor to help them sell to my clients, it would look like I’m doing it for the extra money and not that I am trying to put the best resource in front of my clients – which is my goal. Even the best product or service isn’t always the best solution for every client.

Paying or receiving a sales commission is different than a referral. A referral is passing along contact information, making an email or face-to-face introduction and leaving it at that. The assumption is that I have screened this vendor for my clients and they are ethical, reliable, nice to work with, and have a product or service that might be a fit. I leave the rest of the sales process up to them.

Sales commissions should be accepted or paid when the entire sales process, or at least 90% of it, is completed before a connection is made. I do not sell any other products or services other than my own so I never have accepted a sales commission from another company. But I will pay a sales commission if someone calls me and says they’ve got a client ready for me – the deal is 90% done, and all I have to do is make one phone call and then be there when they want me to deliver my training.

My relationships with my clients is so important that I will do nothing to jeopardize that – and that includes making money off them for another vendor.

Matt Hill

Matt Hill has been speaking and training since 1983. He specializes in making his clients more effective with their face-to-face interpersonal skills. He has trained over 50,000 people in the U.S. and around the world. Matt lives in San Jose, CA with his wife, Lynn. They have three children; a daughter living in Boston, a son in grad school at CalPoly San Luis Obispo, and another daughter in at Chico St. University. If you’re ever in San Jose and want to take a mountain bike ride or play some tennis, call him.

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