No matter what industry you’re in, your reputation for standing in front of your products or services is the lifeblood of your business. If it isn’t, it should be. It’s the power in your engine. We had a butcher in our neighborhood some years back that was known for selling fresh quality meats. He had been in business ever since I can remember, working hard to build it up to what it was. It became so successful; he moved into a larger facility and expanded his staff to meet the demand. Unfortunately, some of the new hires didn’t have his passion for quality. Some of the meat he was selling was starting to “turn”. Pretty soon the reputation of his market began to slip. Once the word spread, he was finished. None of his regular customers would shop there again. A lifetime of hard work down the drain because he failed to manage his growth and success properly. His business never did recover to what it once was.
If your reputation is suspect, that can put your business “out in the street” in a split second—and that’s for real. When I say stand in front of everything you do for others, I’m talking about backing up the commitments and promises you made. Your reputation and character are on the line now. Here’s the good news: when a customer or person has a question or issue with a product or service you provided, don’t think of yourself as being in the service department where you work. I want you to picture yourself as though you are standing in front of the sales department door where you work, and you’re about to write up this customer for another order. This is your opportunity to flex your reputation muscles. You’re servicing them to death so they’ll get in line, one more time, to buy again. You want them leaping onto your Ferris wheel for yet another ride. Close the deal. That’s the kind of power a positive reputation commands. Here are some things you can do to help stand in front of everything you do for others:
Make sure you’re the primary contact for everything your customers or clients need. If it’s a service matter or product issue, you can send them to someone else if you like, but make sure the initial contact always begins with you. You’re in control. No surprises.
Ask yourself, “What’s it going to take to retain this client or customer?” What’s this customer worth to you over the next 10 years? This is a value judgment. Do the math. I’d bet that, in most industries, keeping a customer for 10 years or more will weigh heavily for “putting that nickel on the table today to make a dime tomorrow”. As you may know, I would occasionally put up a little of my own money to keep a customer happy. Does that make sense to you?
Make them feel special. Whatever it is you’re doing for them, make sure they know you don’t do this for everyone. Make them feel appreciated. Once you accomplish that, it is they who will appreciate you!
Follow up personally. After doctors perform surgeries, they typically contact the patients directly for a person to person discussion about recovery and next steps. You should too. Always check with your customers or business clients after you’ve resolved some issue to make sure they’re happy and satisfied. You can’t get your name in their minds too often at a time like that. You must know that all is well.
The power of your reputation applies to your personal as well as your professional life. It should be obvious by now that building a power reputation is a significant step toward establishing the character of who you are and what you stand for in life whenever you are seen or others mention your name. This isn’t about being famous or anything like that. It’s about representing yourself to others with the same honesty and respect you would want from them. When your character achieves that status, your reputation cannot reflect anything other then a positive image. You are now the complete person.
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