In our survey of more that 12,000 men and women, we learned that knowing a person’s level of competency was the most important characteristic for referring someone for women.Women more than men felt that they needed to try the persons product or service prior to giving them a referral, this allows them to know first hand if the product or service is “safe” for them to recommend. Women share with other women in a storytelling fashion about products or services that they have used and were happy with. If they are going to hire a doctor they are going to find out from others who is the most competent doctor in that field, if she needs her home cleaned she will find out who in the area is the most competent fair person to use. She will go to her network and gather the information before she would pick up a phone book and call a stranger. When a company wants to spread word of mouth they get women to begin talking to one another by allowing them to use a product or have a sample of the product. As a woman, we do not just buy a product or a service, we experience them.
Men on the other hand ranked knowing a persons character as highest quality, but I know some nice people with great character, and I like them a lot, but I will not recommend them because I do not believe that they are very competent at what they do and the last thing that a woman wants to do is recommend someone to one of her relationships and have it not work out well. We take our relationships very personally. Men will just way, Oh, it was just business, and move on, where as women will often take the failure of the referral as a personal failure.
This is the number one reason that women are so reluctant to share referrals, she worries that the person she is referring will mess it up and she could lose the relationship. So gentle men, if you want her to refer you, let her experience your products or your services, she will carry the story out to her network for you.