Developing and maintaining a sterling reputation that makes a trusted brand that generates good word-of-mouth and referrals is how we succeed. Delivering excellent products and services each time is vital, but there are additional factors that play significant roles.
Instituting the quality control procedures collectively called”Best Practices” as the basis of our operations protocols is a bright thing to do. Because it is much easier to keep a current client than to obtain a new one, you may choose to incorporate Best Practices into your business venture.
Credibility counts and that means you keep your word. If you are unable to meet a milestone or another commitment, speak up as soon as possible so that an alternate plan can be created and enacted. If you’re transparent about potential roadblocks and obstacles, your forthright behavior will be appreciated and respected.
Be truthful in every facet of your business dealings. Steer clear of any and every temptation to misrepresent or exaggerate your expertise, qualifications, expertise, or ability to follow a timetable or perform in a specific budget.
If half of life is showing up, then the other half is surely follow-up. If a customer or prospect asks a question, follow-up with the response. If someone makes a referral for you, or you promise to make the referral for a friend or colleague, then hit out (I recently did that for a customer and sent his contact info to a VIP who asked to take a look at his work).
Admit and fix mistakes
Sometimes we drop the ball. It is annoying and embarrassing, but one must own up. Attempting to blame others isn’t cool (even if it is someone else’s fault). Never try to ignore or cover up your organization’s involvement in something that went wrong. Instead, take responsibility, apologize and do whatever can be done to make amends and learn from the experience.
The meeting prior to your meeting can run long and you may be unable to leave. Traffic or public transport can be in gridlock. The alarm clock may not go off. If it appears you will be late for a customer meeting, make contact ASAP and estimate your arrival time.
If you are one who is consistently late, take steps to allow yourself more time. Punctuality is a manifestation of your brand and your organization’s ability to deliver. If parking is generally a challenge at your destination, or if the weather is poor, leave 30 minutes early and give yourself some wiggle room. Arriving early is obviously acceptable.
Thanking those with whom you do business is terrific for relationship building. On all your invoices, add a line and thank your customer for being your client. At December holiday time, send cards to current and lapsed clients. If you can find an opportunity, take a client to lunch or coffee and add a positive new dimension to your relationship.
As you get to know each other out of the office, you will get a better understanding of your client on a professional and personal level and you’ll feel more comfortable and better prepared to work together on future missions. Your client might even share details about an upcoming project at his/her organization and you may be invited to have a role in the procedure. Showing appreciation is always appreciated and it can pay off, as well.