I love to refer clients to my friends and trusted business contacts whenever I get the chance. It’s a good way to help others get more business, ensure the client gets what they need from someone they can trust, and eventually get myself more referrals in return.
Giving referrals is great for everyone involved. But there are some things you need to consider before you give out that referral. Above all else, you have to remember that your reputation is on the line whenever you refer a client to another specialist.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say you run a web design company and you’re building a new site for a client. The client also needs new copy, so you refer them to a copywriter you know. But it turns out that the copywriter is difficult to work with, misses deadlines, doesn’t listen to the client’s needs, and just isn’t that good. Guess what? Your client is going to hold you partially responsible for that referral. It reflects poorly on your business, it damages your credibility, and it makes clients think twice before they trust you again.
Let me give another example to be sure you understand my point. Suppose you’re an interior designer and someone hires you to redesign the kitchen in their home. You draft up the plans for the redesign, find the perfect cabinets and appliances, and recommend a contractor to handle all of the construction on the project. The client then hires the contractor based on your referral, but the contractor proves to be totally inept, costing the client time and money and causing emotional distress. Guess what? Your client would be upset with you for referring them to some idiot contractor who didn’t know what they were doing.
What’s my point? The point is that you really have to think twice before giving that referral. Don’t refer clients to others just because they are your friends or you’re hoping they’ll return the favor and give you referrals in the future. Before you refer a client to any other specialist, you’d better make darn sure that the “specialist” is properly qualified, offers excellent service, and has a business philosophy that complements yours properly.
Don’t let referrals damage your credibility. Your name is on the line, so think twice before giving that referral.