OK. I'm excited that so many of you are eager to participate! I think it will be a fun way to meet new people and to add to the PC family!
Quickly about the referral program and then I'd like to move on to the other aspects of the new idea:
Just like with any kind of rebate or loyalty program, there have to be very specific rules. While we love and trust all of you, there is no reason to put temptation before the general public.
Over the years in the referral program they have certainly paid out referrals when customers come in and tell the factory specifically (as the sisters did this week) "we were referred by <First Name> <Last Name>" Ron Dittmer's name is right on their file. Stuart put it there himself. He should receive a check after they take delivery.
What there has been a lot of is some variation of the following: (all names are for example only)
1. We talked to Jim when we ran into him in Nebraska. He told us to come in and say hi!
problem: Who's Jim? Does he live in Nebraska? How do we contact him? Does saying hi mean he showed them the unit?
2. We talked to John and Debra Doe in Oregon and they showed us their unit.
problem: John and Debra Doe aren't in our system (maybe they bought used from somewhere else?) and we don't have contact info for them.
3. After someone has taken delivery of a unit, 3 months later an owner or buyer calls in to tell us they referred the person.
problem: This needs to be done before purchase. At least once this has happened after a owner and new buyer met on the forum and actually had no contact before the purchase.
So to get the referral benefit there have to be rules and guidelines followed. We're not going to ask you to jump through hoops the way you do for a $20 rebate somewhere, but there are simple rules that must all be followed completely going forward. We will just start new with it.
Here are the rules:
1. The buyer needs to tell the factory *before they make their purchase*
that they were referred by someone.
2. The buyer needs to provide first *and* last name. Forum nickname, first name etc. will not work.
3. If the referrer is not someone we have in our system at the factory, then the buyer needs to provide a phone number, e-mail address or home address of the person *so that we can reach them*
The $500 gift is meant to thank the current owner for the inconvenience of giving up a couple of hours of their time and letting strangers come in and view their units. Sometimes the buyers have driven out of their way to meet up with people, or they've given up personal time to be available, etc. The buyer should not be offended that the current owner is compensated for very gracious hospitality.
The best way to make sure the factory finds out about your referral and knows how to contact you after delivery has taken place is to send the buyer with one of your business cards. Print Stuart's number on the back of it and tell them "give this to them at the factory and I know they'll take care of you" or "tell them I sent you and I know they'll take care of you" or "tell them if they need their memory refreshed about any of these options I have that you liked that they can call us" etc.
With this new system hopefully you won't mind to ask them to mention your name at all because it's not like you are soliciting random strangers. These are people who are requesting an audience with you and your rig. But if you are uncomfortable, you do not have to participate.
OK so all of that said, I hope that there are no hard feelings. I promise you that nobody has intentionally been trying to cheat or slight anyone. It's just that the system has to be straightforward. We cannot put into place a system that sends all of us into a tailspin trying to figure out who there may be out there and where they live, etc. so we can send them a check. And little Amanda is the biggest cheerleader for the referral program. She loves when it happens! I've had a lot of discussion with the factory today about the referral program and they are willing to suspend it if confusion about it is going to offer hurt feelings. They are also willing to start new with it and make sure people understand the rules. There are a lot of PC owners out there these days and a lot more of them are buying used from outside of the factory and we honestly don't know if "Bob showed us his unit" means any number of Roberts we have in our system or someone else entirely.
First name and last name and honestly a contact method would be the very easiest way.
Also, just for transparency I will tell you that when I presented the idea to Stuart, I offered three reward options--$0, $50, or $100 and asked him to just pick one. I figured the owners weren't having to drum up people, we were connecting them, and so it would be easier for them. Stuart insisted (in two different e-mails because I presented it to him a second time thinking he didn't understand me) that owners would be given $500 if the person goes on to buy a unit, because he appreciates the inconvenience an owner is willing to go through to open up their home on wheels to strangers.