Do you "Give to Get" or "Give for Money" Referrals?

3 Aug

Did anyone see JigSaw’s recent announcement that they’ve sent up an exchange where you can sell a referral to your contacts?  It’s called “JigSaw Connect” and given the number of members they have (850K registered  members), this could be the first exchange to make selling a referral by the individual sales rep successful.

Selling a referral to your customer isn’t anything new.  Companies have been doing it at the corporate level for years.  They call it the affiliate program or the business development partner program or just the reseller program.  And this seems to be a well understood and accepted practice by the customers.

Individual sales reps and agents selling a referral to their customer in certain industries isn’t new, either.  The introduction of a mortgage broker by the real estate agent that just found your new home probably comes with a kick-back to the agent from the mortgage broker.  Maybe the referral fee is not as well understood by the consumer but I don’t think anyone would be surprised.

Now JigSaw is taking this to a new level.  It’s at the rep level where an individual rep can earn $200 by referring their customer to any vendor that’s signed up to advertise on JigSaw Connect.  And it’s many industries, even ones where traditionally the selling of referrals at the rep level is frowned upon.  The only other site I’ve seen that offers this exchange of referrals for cash is SalesConx, a startup based in New York City.  But they don’t have the membership scale that JigSaw has.

I’ll be very interested to see how JigSaw Connect fares.  JigSaw itself received a lot of negative press early on because people were offended that their business information was sold anonymously.  JigSaw will say that they’re just collecting business information differently than a Hoovers or OneSource but aren’t any different in the information they deliver.  I’ve used JigSaw for years and Inquisix is a JigSaw data partner so I don’t have an issue with the service.

Still, selling referrals versus giving referrals is an interesting dilemma for some.  BNI members give referrals to get them in return, i.e. “Givers Gain“.  At Inquisix, we encourage members to give referrals to increase their reputation with their own customer.  But no money is exchanged.

Would you anonymously sell the business cards you’ve collected to a data broker, i.e. JigSaw?

Would you sell a referral to a business contact you have?

There’s a big jump in effort, responsibility, and reputation between the 2 questions.  Let’s see how this pans out.

One Response to “Do you "Give to Get" or "Give for Money" Referrals?”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Make Me Giddy - The Liquid Betsy - August 29, 2009

    […] company (Inquisix) preaches “Give to Get” in business […]

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