This post was inspired while eating lunch with a few of my new Arizona Internet marketing friends last week. I thank them for opening up and sharing things, and really making it an enjoyable lunch. I decided to do a post specifically because of comments made by Chris Hooley and David Wallace about referrals. We were all talking about how powerful referrals are, and how most of our business comes from referrals because of our ability to come through for people and provide them the results they want. It was a great conversation that lasted for hours, but it got me thinking.
My referral story:
Last week my Tahoe broke down while I was driving it to visit my brother, and it felt like someone had taken the steering wheel from me and yanked it to the left. I looked around and no one hit me, and I was really having to hold on to it to not lose complete control. It was different from anything I have ever experienced with vehicles breaking down. The worst part was I didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of a busy highway with 3 little kids. Luckily I was able to maneuver it into a gas station where I then called my brother to see if he could come and help me out.
My wife and I knew the truck had been having issues, and my Father-in-law who is an ASE certified mechanic, gave his thoughts about what the issues may be. Without being able to look it over in a shop, his best guesses were the front end something or another, (and even if he told me it’s not like I would remember) and at lease a couple thousand in work (his words). I was prepared for the worst because I hate taking my vehicle to the “shop” to get worked on because I never know if they are being honest with me; my Father-in-Law has told me so many stories that would make you NEVER want to take your car in anywhere to be fixed.
Well my brother told me about a place that he had used several times, (and even Bondurant the school of high performance driving had used) so I trusted him and we decided to take my Tahoe there because of his referral. He told me “Mike” was an honest guy and would take great care of me. It happened on a weekend and the place was closed when we went to drop it off. So, we just cleared the truck out and left a note on it because it was basically dead in the water. My brother said he would go back on Monday and drop of the keys and explain the problem. I live on the other side of town, so this was a huge help to me.
Mike (the owner) from Chandler Auto Care on Chandler Blvd and Beck calls me up and tells me exactly what they problem is, and that I will need two new tires (mind you these tires I have are like 250 a piece which sucks) and he will get me back on the road. When I asked him so far what the damage was, he about made me pass out (in a good way), it was only at $168 and some change…remember I was expecting thousands. He even told me there was a Discount Tire (where we got my tires) close to him and if I ordered them, he would take the Tahoe down to them and have them mount and balance them etc., and then finish up the work and I wouldn’t even have to come in to do that (this is customer service at its best, and why I will tell everyone I know to go to him from now on).
Final bill was less then $250 bucks for the mechanic work; again, when I thought it was going to be thousands, and this guy could have charged me this much and I would not have known the difference. I even made the comment to him, “Wow, that’s cheap and I appreciate it cause I thought it was going to be a ton more”. He said to me: “I think that’s why we are still in business when everyone around us is going out of business; because we are honest and take care of people and get so many referrals, hopefully that keeps us in business for a long time to come. Oh, and by the way thank your brother for the referral!”
A Powerful Lesson:
I built my business on referrals, and know how powerful of a business building tool it can be. I have narrowed it down to these questions you need to be asking yourself:
- Are you honest?
- Are you open and real with your customer?
- Are you a good listener?
- Do you let your customer get to know you?
- Are you worthy of getting referrals?
- Do you do what you say you are going to do?
- Do you contact clients promptly any time after they contact you?
- Does your customer’s success really matter to you, or you just in it for a quick buck?
- Do you help motivate your customer and get them excited about their business?
- Do you ever contact your customer about ideas even when they do not contact you first?
- Are you willing to go the extra mile?
These are just a few of the questions, as I sit here writing this, that I ask myself when working with clients. I know asking myself these questions has helped me become better at what I do, and why the referrals keep pouring in.
It takes me back to Mike, the mechanic that fixed my truck, he went the extra mile several times with me and was honest and did good work. Its really that simple! Because of it, I will continue to use him and send as much business his way as I can.