I have been in my own small company now for almost 28 years, and I have found that honesty and integrity are two of the most important qualities that you will ever have. I say this because in my experience, success comes down to these. If you can’t be trusted to tell the truth and if you will do anything to get ahead, no matter how loathsome it may be, then you will fail at business. No one is going to buy from a company that they don’t trust.
When small entities do business, they we must work harder to develop and maintain an excellent reputation. If you have a great reputation, that generates good word of mouth recommendations and references for future business. The delivery of excellent products and services is always a duty, but there are additional factors that play important roles.
Instituting quality control procedures collectively known as “Best Practices” as the basis of our operating protocols is a smart thing. Because it is much easier to retain a current client than to find a new one, you may want to incorporate these practices into your commercial enterprise.
Keep your word.
Credibility counts and that means that you keep your word. If you can not meet an order or other commitment, speak as soon as possible to create and enact an alternative plan. If you are transparent about possible obstacles, your direct behavior will be appreciated and respected. In short, we promise less and we fulfill more..
Be honest in all aspects of your business. Avoid any and all temptations to distort or exaggerate your experience, qualifications, experience or ability to follow a schedule or perform within a certain budget.
If half of life is appearing, then the other half is surely a follow-up. If a client or prospect asks you a question, follow up with the response. If someone makes a recommendation for you, or you promise to do it for a friend or colleague, then communicate back with them as soon as you can. (I recently did it for a client and sent their contact information to a VIP who asked them to review their work).
Admit and correct errors.
Sometimes we drop the ball. It is shameful and frustrating, but we must admit it and recognize it. Trying to blame others is not good (even if it’s someone else’s fault). Never try to ignore or cover up your organization’s participation in something that went wrong. Instead, take responsibility, apologize and do what you can to amend and learn from the experience.
Arrive on time
This happens to me frequently… I will have scheduled several meetings back-to-back. Or too close together. The 9:00 am meeting can last a long time and you may not be able to leave in time to make your 11:am meeting. Traffic or public transport may be stagnant. The alarm clock won’t ring. If it seems that you will be late for a meeting with a client, get in touch as soon as possible and calculate your arrival time. And most importantly, don’t lie about it. Just get there when you can, or reschedule the meeting that you are going to miss.
If you are one of those who is always late, take steps to have more time. Punctuality is a reflection of your brand and the delivery capacity of your organization. If parking is usually a challenge at your destination, or if the weather is bad, leave 30 minutes early and give yourself some space to move. Arriving early is always preferable.
Say thank you
Thanking those with whom you do business is excellent for building relationships. On each of your invoices, add a line and thank your client for being your client. On the December holiday, send cards to current and expired customers. If you can find an opportunity, take a client to coffee or lunch and add a new positive dimension to the relationship.
As you get to know each other outside of the office, you will understand your client better on a personal and professional level, and you will feel more comfortable and better prepared to work together on future tasks. Your client may even share information about a future project in your organization and may be invited to participate in the process. Showing gratitude is always appreciated and can bear fruit, too.
I can’t stress how important these are to your success. Because each of these tips are only ways of treating your customers with respect and showing gratitude. If you can bring these behaviors into your business practices, then you will always have clients and you will always make a really great living.