I am always hesitant to refer another consultant. What if they don't perform well? I feel it can hurt my reputation.
Consider a referral as important as any recommendation to a client of strategy, process or other improvement based on your professional judgment. Don't consider it a "throwaway" recommendation for which the client should take all the risk (i.e., "After all, I just gave them her name. It is up to them to vet her before hiring her.").
Also, before you provide names of consultants, be sure you understand how well you do know them and how well you understand the risk you are assuming, as well as imposing on your client. Just because you know someone socially (even if it is for 20 years) doesn’t mean you can vouch for their professional capabilities in a consulting engagement setting. Tip:
Be clear how well you know the referral and explain what you know and don;'t know about them. It may still be useful to say to a client that you have never worked with this person you are referring but they have an excellent reputation with people you do know and trust and yo have known the referral for 20 years and regard his or her highly professional and ethical. If you really don't know that much about the person, say so and decline to make a referral.© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA