Creating a good reputation takes time and effort and it can be something that’s lost in an instant. However, there are a number of things you can do to help your business build a strong reputation and keep it for the long term.
- Do What You Say You’ll Do
Whenever you say you’ll do something, just do it. This may sound obvious, but think about the number of times that someone else hasn’t done what they said they would do. You find yourself following up with them and they lose credibility. Think of a time when someone actually delivered on their promise. When you have this habit, it stands out and people see you as dependable and reliable, trusting you more.
- Help Other People Reach Their Goals
Your reputation goes beyond caring for yourself and your own interests. Have a mindset of helping others. Think beyond the service that you provide to your clients. How can you connect them with other suppliers that they need to meet? Who else can help them to solve a problem with which they’re struggling?
- Do Your Best to Make Others Look Good
Think about ways in which you can make other people look good. For example, when one of your clients recommends you to a prospect, to thank them, see what you can do to make them look great. Turn up to the meeting on time, be prepared and follow up in good time with both parties. Make the referring person look good for introducing you and your reputation will grow.
- Always Go Beyond What’s Expected or Requested
When someone asks for a reference, offer them three. If you promise to save someone 10%, save them 15%. When you say you’ll follow up in 24 hours, do it in 12. Send hand-written thank you notes and birthday cards to your clients. A small gesture that shows you care can go a long way and do wonders for your reputation.
- Company Impressions on Paper
Making sure that your business has the right impression on paper and online is important, which means presenting it in the most professional manner possible. A quality website full of useful content, a well managed social media presence and a noticeable business card or brochure all create the correct impression for your company.
- Present Yourself in the Way that You Want to Be Seen
This is often undervalued and overlooked, but first impressions are very important for your reputation. Whether you like it or not, you will be judged before opening your mouth, so dress for the environment you’re in. Never be excessively casual at meetings. If you’re not sure of the dress code, opt for being too formal. You can always take off your jacket once you’ve made your first impression. Make sure your clothes fit well and that they’re clean and smart. Pay attention to detail – are your shoes dirty? Is your jewellery distracting? Don’t lose an opportunity to impress due to not looking the part.
- Think About Your Body Language
Body language tells other people a great deal. When speaking in public, face your audience, with feet pointed at them and a tall, confident stance. Nod your head when having a conversation to show agreement, lean into the person you’re talking to at times and always smile.
- Be Consistent
If you’re inauthentic, you won’t be able to be consistent, which will give you a bad reputation. Show your positive qualities to every single person you meet – even when you’re having a bad day. If you are great in a certain setting but rude or cold in another, your reputation will suffer. People tend to share negative experiences far more readily than they share positive ones.
- Act with Integrity
Make sure you do this regardless of what you’re doing. Particularly in the business world, even a small act of selfishness, greed or jealousy can have a seriously negative impact, showing a lack of integrity, which you might not even notice. If you wouldn’t buy what you’re selling, don’t sell it!
- Be Likeable
This is about being yourself. Smile more, approach people you don’t know and offer handshakes. Small actions such as these can make you a lot more likeable – just make sure that you’re not fake – never falsify who you are just so that people like you. Do things that help people to remember you.
Business can be won or lost on reputation. Don’t spend years building a strong relationship and then throw it away by being careless. Spend time carefully developing your reputation as someone with whom people want to do business and new clients will come knocking at your door.
How strong is your business reputation? Our Business Barometer can help you to assess your reputation and how your clients and prospects see you. To find out more about the Business Barometer, call Jonathan Lane on 07503 891 331 or Pippa Hutchinson on 07941 819 169, or click here to email us.