What does it mean when a friend or professional refers you to someone they have transacted business with? Every professional knows it is much more than dropping a name. When someone refers you to a professional it demonstrates a serious level of trust. If I refer you to a person for products or services there is no doubt that I am taking a risk. If that person doesn’t do a good job for you at a fair price you may blame me. Think of the many scam artists that have won someone’s confidence to get referrals to all their friends. Later when the scam is exposed the referring individual becomes their ex-friend and perhaps their enemy. That’s the reason many organizations and business owners refuse to give referrals at all. That’s sad.
When no one gets a referral the consumer is left to swim shark infested waters alone. We know some businesses and individuals are honest and fair. Some have worked years to become especially good at a certain skill. Others overcharge, do poor work and are dishonest. If we refuse to refer our friends and clients to those that are worthy, we leave them at the mercy of the unscrupulous.
So how do we balance the risk verses reward dilemma? First, we must make sure the individual or business we are going to refer is honest and worthy. Check the Better Business Bureau to find their rating, and to see how long they have been in business. Ask them for referrals from others they have done business with for a long period of years. If you find “red flags” check with regulatory agencies that oversee the business. Once you have done your homework give them a period of time before you start telling all your friends or clients how wonderful they are. An honest business person doesn’t mind taking the time and making the effort to earn your business. A person that “high pressures” you into giving them a list of your friends and family isn’t worthy of your support.
Once you feel sure you have a quality business relationship with a professional tell as many people as possible. Think of the people that have served you well for years, who might need their services? Thousands of good honest businesses suffer because of those that do poor work, overcharge, and are dishonest. Giving a referral is serious. It is not something to be taking lightly. However, leaving your clients and friends at the mercy of those that do poor work, overcharge and/or those that are unscrupulous isn’t something to be taken lightly either. If you know of someone that has done excellent work, is fair, and has served you or others well, they have earned your referral. Don’t withhold it!