Recently I was talking to a business contact. He was quite annoyed because he had made a referral between two of his contacts. One, let’s call her Freda, he had known for a long time, and needed a supplier and the other, let’s call him Gilbert, he had known for a year or two and could have been that supplier. Why was my contact annoyed? Because earlier in the day Freda had told him that Gilbert had not been in touch, and it had now been over a month since the referral had been made.
When someone makes a referral, their reputation is on the line, and that needs to be protected. So, if someone makes a referral, we have an obligation to contact the person who may need your services, even if we think that you may not be able to do the work. And whatever the outcome I think we then need to contact the person who has made the referral and update them (I’m assuming that they have been thanked previously) and we need to do that in a timely fashion and for me that is within a day, or at the latest a couple of days, of getting the referral.
Now my contact has been embarrassed because he has recommended Gilbert, who has not bothered to get in touch with Freda. His relationship with Freda should be repairable, but maybe not. What has also happened is Gilbert’s reputation has been demolished because my contact will never refer any work to him, Freda will not refer any work to him, and both will be honour-bound to tell of their experience if Gilbert’s name gets mentioned.
So, when you get that referral remember they could have recommended someone else. Even if you don’t care about someone else’s reputation—which, in my opinion, is strange and unprofessional—remember that your reputation is on the line too. Make that call, send that email, because time is of the essence!
Have fun, stay safe