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Having a Good Referral Go Bad

Getting a referral can be the best part of a day.  Giving a referral can be just as rewarding.  Having a referral go bad can be heart breaking and life changing.  Let me explain.

As many of you know my hobby business is restoring older cars.  It started with our 1976 Corvette which we had rebuilt into 2004.  We have since had a 1972 Chevy pickup and restored a 1986 El Camino in 2013.  We are currently restoring a 1966 Chevy Step Side pickup.

The mechanic I use for engine repair and maintenance referred a local body repair and restoration shop to rebuild/replace some of the worn sheet metal on the truck. Painting the entire truck inside and out was also to be included.  I saw some of their work and remarked that the quality was exceptional.  Due to the referral I went to get a firm estimate.  After receiving the estimate I was told by the owner of the restoration company to perform a number of mechanical tasks and order replacement body parts.  Once the tasks were performed and the parts were received the company could initiate the work.  The estimated time was 30 days.

With the tasks completed and the parts received, the work was scheduled to commence. Excited, I delivered the truck with the initial complement of parts.  On arrival the estimate was changed by the owner.  I was told by the owner that some of the materials they were to use in the rebuild were not included in the original estimate.  Those materials included the paint, welding rod to secure the new metal parts, and the body filler needed to smooth the finish to factory fresh.  The owner had also lost or misplaced his original paperwork.  Some might refer to this as bait and switch as did the Bureau of Automotive Repair when I asked for their assistance.  I also discovered that the repair shop was an unlicensed automotive repair facility.

The good news is the valuable lesson I learned.  Even with a referral it is good practice to check out credentials of any organization before doing business.  If they are licensed ask to see a copy of their current certificate and get a copy.  I could have also made a list of parts and materials supplied by me compared to what the repair shop was to provide when the repair shop gave me their estimate.  With a detailed list, all items would have been included.

Since then I went back to the nationally known shop which restored our El Camino.  The price is a little more expensive and we are six weeks into the restoration. I expect to receive a quality restoration at an affordable price.  As with any estimate, it is just that, an estimate.  With any estimate one should always expect some hidden costs when the car goes into a shop for repair.  I am fairly certain that the nationally known shop will have some increases as they find hidden damage.  The difference in their estimate is that they agreed to do the work based on everything they saw at the time of the estimate.

When doing business the concept of buyer beware is a good mantra to keep in mind, especially when you rely on referrals to keep your business strong.  The importance of keeping your credentials up to date, website current, and LinkedIn are important to maintain credibility in the business community.  Anything less can create a good referral quickly going bad.

Gerry Rose runs INTEGRITY Networking Solutions in Oceanside, CA.  He works with people in business who want to attract the right prospects and generate more referrals.  More than 10,000 businesses have been presented the INTEGRITY Networking Solutions system in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties.

Gerry’s stimulating presentation Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals is ideally suited for small business owners, home-based businesses, and independent professionals who want clearer direction and want to attract more prospects, develop dynamic systems, and strengthen their companies’ accountability.  Gerry does one on one consulting, conducts a range of keynote speeches from thirty minutes to full-day education workshops.  His book series, Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, are available on the website, www.integritysd.com.

Gerry has more than 20 years’ experience directing business owners how to grow their businesses.  He is a networking dynamo.  Those who know him will assure you that he does a great job of bringing people together—which is why he started INTEGRITY.

Involved with networking organizations since 1984, Gerry is a Distinguished Toastmaster, a member of Toastmaster International, and has chaired numerous chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations.

Are you truly committed to attracting the right prospects and generate more referrals?  If so then contact INTEGRITY Networking Solutions for availability and information.  You can contact Gerry by mail at 1610 Quiet Hills Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056.  Direct dial (760) 439-4623; e-mail to gerry@integritysd.com.  For more information, go to www.integritysd.com

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