No, we do not. We get asked about it quite a bit though. In our early years, we experimented with some formal lead referral arrangements, but they just never quite worked out nor did they ever feel right. We’ve given it some thought and concluded that providing financial rewards to incent others to send business our way is rather antithetical to who we are and how we work.

Referrals are a huge source of business for us. Over the years, we’ve developed a great reputation for providing excellent solutions, being highly competent and taking exceptional care of our customers. We built this reputation the old fashioned way, by actually living up to our promises, striving to exceed expectations and always maintaining the utmost integrity. When you do these things, it is easy for people to refer business your way. People refer us because they have had a good experience with us in the past or because they know that our solutions will solve a customer’s problems. In other words, our referrals are authentic and meaningful.

Referrals that have a financial reward associated with them lose that authenticity. That’s not good for our reputation, it’s not good for the reputation of the referrer and it certainly doesn’t do the client much good. Sending the message that we need to purchase referrals lessens the authenticity of our reputation. At the end of the day, I think we’re better off maintaining the high ground.

There are a whole host of other problems with paid referrals. For instance, if several people refer a client, who gets credit? Do we financially reward anybody who sends a referral, or just those who formally signed up? For those that didn’t sign up, does paying them cheapen our relationship? Does not paying them make them feel slighted? I could go on and on.

We can’t express our appreciation enough to all of you out there who spread the word about Rustici Software day in and day out. You have our eternal gratitude and heartfelt thanks. While we do avoid financial referral incentives, we aren’t freeloaders, we would love to be able to return the favor. If there is ever anything we can do to help you out, please let us know.

Mike is the CEO of Watershed, though he is the Founder and was President of Rustici Software until 2016. He helped guide the first draft of the Tin Can API (xAPI) and believes ice cream is the "elixir of life."