July 17, 2013
The Power of a Personal Recommendation - Guest Post

The Power of a Personal Recommendation


As a tech support staff member while still in college, I learned that I could find a solution to almost any problem I encountered with a simple search on the web if I looked hard enough. Only very occasionally did I actually need to ask my co-workers or supervisors for help regarding an issue. However, just because I didn’t need to ask others doesn’t mean that I didn’t do it, for the first few months at the job anyway. (Sorry Ryan!) So why did I, someone who was completely capable of understanding tech jargon, constantly consult others when there was something I didn’t get at first?


One Size Does Not Fit All

If you’ve had to search up your problem to see if anyone’s found a solution to it, you’ve probably encountered one instance where someone has had the exact same problem you have and got excited about finally getting the issue solved. Well, that is until you realized that there were a few details that differed from what you were seeing. They were using a different kind of wood, they were using Windows 7 instead of Windows 8, or they had a different color but for some reason the blue one has that piece there unlike the green one. Seeing these not only makes one quite frustrated, but also lowers the likelihood that one would use a search engine again for help.


While it’s true that there are a lot of helpful content on the web, there’s just some problems that are unique enough that a simple search won’t provide satisfactory results, or the solution just isn’t presented in a way one could understand. We’re also mostly still used to calling customer service or someone else and relaying our problems to them, hoping for a response that we could understand. We tend to be more comfortable with the answer from that point as the person helping us is fully aware of our own situation.


The Importance of Trust

At the job, I’ve had a number of people come up to me and ask my opinion regarding purchasing some tech product, such as an external hard drive. Now, most of them, while not the most tech-savvy out there, have a fairly good grasp of technology, and oftentimes much more than people would think. When they came up to me, however, they didn’t ask me which one had this specification or that, they instead asked which one I thought was right for them. Even after checking all the reviews, they still wanted my opinion because I’ve helped them in the past with their problems. They valued my opinion more than those who actually had the product because they trusted me, as well as the entire department.


This shouldn’t really be quite the surprise as there have been numerous studies which show how powerful personal recommendations are when people make decisions. From a study by Nielsen in 2012, “Recommendations from people I know” ranked as the most trustworthy form of advertising with a whopping 92% of people stating that they trusted them, as opposed to “Ads on TV” which only had 47% saying the same.  Even opinions of other consumers online didn’t fare as well with only 70% trusting them. So while these opinions from strangers are effective, opinions from people you know are still more effective. For those familiar with “trolls”, it shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.


Recommending People

As I helped more and more people and gained their trust, I started getting a following of sorts at my job with people looking specifically for me. While it was by no means unusual, it helped me gain the confidence I needed to do the job well. As it turns out, that really was all I needed as I was already knowledgeable enough to do the job. And of course, as I met more and more people, the recommendations just kept coming in, to the point that one student wouldn’t accept help from any other staff member!


However, it’s not as easy to be recommended in a similar capacity outside a small environment like a college within a university. You Need My Guy or Gal solves this problem quite well as it allows people to easily recommend their favorite contractor or business to their friends and see who their friends recommend for their own needs through social media. It also makes the introduction process quite smooth as a familiar name to both parties is brought up at the start of the conversation, immediately creating a more comfortable and friendly conversation, the most ideal type of conversation to close a sale and to establish a more personal relationship.


It’s therefore important to keep in mind that while there’s a lot of information out there today, nothing beats a personal recommendation. So go on and tell people that they need your guy or gal if they’re faced with a problem they can fix, it’s also the greatest form of gratitude they could ask for!


This article was written by Travin Keith, a member of You Need My Guy or Gal. Aside from his full-time job, he performs business and marketing consulting services on the side. With a specialty in web marketing, he can help your business get better results online. Check out his blog at to read more!


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