Do you really know who you're recommending? While many agents have a list of preferred vendors, it can be a disaster for your clients and damaging to your reputation when a referral doesn't do his or her job well. When you refer a vendor to a client, it's more than just a referral. It's an endorsement of their skills by a trusted professional. Sometimes this works out perfectly, but in the event that a contractor backs out, fails to do their job well, or something else goes wrong, what should you do?
Be On Your Client's Team
If you are the first to know about the problem, share it with your client immediately and apologize for the misstep. If you are embarrassed by the contractor's business practice and stay silent, your client may view you as part of the problem. By being open and honest about the disappointment with your clients, you are showing them that you are on their side first. If the client alerts you to the problem first, share in their frustration as a team member would. Your job is to be their advocate.
Talk To The Vendor
If the problem is fixable (i.e. lack of communication, price quote is too high, etc.) talk to the contractor to see what can be done. Most vendors would like to keep their referrals happy and you can work together to find a solution to the issue. Being able to solve the problem is ideal. It lets the client know you are working hard for their investment, it keeps the contractor's business reputable, and most of all, it moves the process along for everyone. If nothing else, you may be able to reach some sort of agreement either with financial restitution or a credit towards another service.
As soon as you know there's an issue, begin scouting out other options, even if you're still working on things with the vendor. Knowing that you have other options will ease your mind and it may help move things forward with your current contractor if he or she knows the job is on the line. Show your clients that their transaction matters to you by doing everything in your power to correct the issue or find a new vendor.
You are who you do business with. When a vendor disappoints, it's a reflection on your business. If the problem was not resolved, or if you feel like this could be an issue in the future, remove the contractor from your preferred vendors list. If other clients have received your preferred vendors list but haven't chosen their providers yet, let them know that you have to rescind your endorsement.
When expectations aren't met, it's disappointing for everyone involved. While some agents want to fill their list of preferred vendors in order to look experienced and connected, adding someone you haven't worked with often can be a bad idea. If you don't have someone to recommend, don't recommend anyone. It's important to note that you can be held personally liable for referring non-licensed or unethical contractors. With this in mind, give your clients more than one option for contractors and add a disclaimer to the bottom of your referral list. This removes some of your liability and puts the decision in the clients' hands.