I’m not going to lie, being nudged off to one side at a networking event and having the words, “Do you know you are gaining a reputation?” whispered at me caused a moment of concern! The conversation was about to go one of two ways and I did hold my breath, gaining a reputation sounded quite negative. The following statements followed in rapid succession, “You have got yourself a reputation for straight talking and being really blunt”, “You don’t operate like the other agencies I have spoken to”.
Not so bad! Panic over!
Gaining a good reputation in business is hard won and easily lost. It takes very little to gain a bad review on Google My Business, but a whole wealth of work to be told you are great at what you do. It makes no difference how much money you spend on marketing, if your poor reputation precedes you all is lost. So, my reputation of being straight talking, approachable and no nonsense made me smile.
Having a mindset that you want to help others can go a long way. Business isn’t all about making a sale, it’s about caring and understanding for the people who are using your service. It would be incredibly easy to turn to a client and tell them that they needed loads of products and services in a bid to line my own pocket, but where would that get me in a year’s time when they’d paid out for something they didn’t need and were asking probing questions. By listening to them and understanding their needs I am able to build a package that’s perfect for them. Happy customer = good reputation.
Throwing other companies and people under buses just isn’t cool and all it does in the long run is make you look unprofessional. Don’t bad mouth your competitors or clients that it maybe didn’t work out with. At the end of the day, a potential customer wants to know that you aren’t going to speak about them like that, so don’t give them a reason to think you will.
My clients trust me to market their businesses. Those businesses could be their pride and joy, the price of a second mortgage on a home, a missed holiday with the family, and as a result I always endeavour to go above and beyond their expectations. In much the same way that I’m a little impressed when a builder hoovers up after himself, a little extra touch to your service will send out positive waves.
Have you ever sat at dinner in a restaurant, looked at your plate, looked at your dining companions’ plates and wondered how you picked something so wrong from the menu? No-one wants to feel like that and you don’t want people to think about your business or services in a similar way. If you’ve been recommended by someone, give an identical service. If it’s a returning client, treat them the same as you did before. Consistency is key to building a strong and positive reputation.
Would you buy your service? Think about it for a second, if you wouldn’t buy what you have to offer, why would anyone else? I like to work by the tenet would I feel like I needed to intervene if my friend employed my services? Would I suck in a deep breath and ask “are you sure you need that/are getting value for money/want to use them?” If the answer is no and you would happily have your loved ones using your company, you’re probably on the right track.
You may go networking, you may be in business groups, engage in them. When I say engage, speak to everyone in the group, even the people whose services you will never use. Firstly, they will appreciate your interest and interaction, secondly, you may learn something interesting about them and thirdly, you will become known as someone who isn’t just after leads. Don’t get me wrong, leads are great, but you also need to think about the other people around you. Having a what’s in it for me attitude just doesn’t work.
If you do all of this, remain genuine and true to yourself, and just behave like a likeable person, then your good reputation will precede you too!