Before you run out to buy something new or try out a new restaurant, I think it’s a good idea to ask somebody for a recommendation. People love to ask their friends: “do you know a good …?” How many times have you asked that question?
Your friends help ease your fear of the unknown by sharing their experiences. Because you trust them, you’re more likely to follow their recommendations.
You probably also have a go-to guy for computers, cars, accounting, and a myriad of other topics. You also have your favorite plumber, restaurant, or bank.
When you go to an establishment you trust, you will inherently trust their recommendations, too.
Unfortunately, Discount couldn’t fix my leak because my lug nuts and stems were damaged (by NTB). These parts needed to be replaced. So while Discount couldn’t fix them, the employee handed me a business card for a Brake Specialists shop a few minutes away and told me that they could fix my problem. Once I got the stems replaced, I should come back to Discount and they could fix the flat.
So where did I go to get my tire fixed? The exact place that was recommended to me. Discount Tire didn’t have the expertise or tools to fix my problem but they did know who could.
I wouldn’t be surprised if on my next trip to Brake Specialists they recommend I head to Discount Tire when the need arose. These two shops have created a referral arrangement that successfully drives business to each other.
Get the Customer Back
If you have a customer that has a problem that you can’t completely solve, make sure you send them down a path that leads back to you. Send them to a trusted colleague that can fix their problem and return them to you. You’ll get credit for helping to solve the problem and get (or keep) some business.
Letting Customers Go
Sometimes you just can’t solve a customer’s problem. That is OK. A solid recommendation from you to your referral buddy will be reciprocated eventually from the other end. It may not be the same customer but the benefits will come. Often you’re building up goodwill with your customers and creating a referral network that will be cashed in at a later date.