When small entities do business, they (we!) Developing and maintaining a sterling reputation that creates a trusted brand that produces 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 important roles.
Instituting the quality control procedures collectively known as”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 want to incorporate Best Practices to your business enterprise.
Credibility counts and that means you keep your word. If you can’t meet a milestone or some other commitment, speak up as early as possible so that an alternative plan can be made 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 desire to misrepresent or exaggerate your expertise, qualifications, experience, or ability to adhere to a timetable or perform in a specific budget.
If half of life is showing up, then another half is surely follow-up. If a customer or prospect asks a question, follow-up with the response. If a person 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 correct mistakes
Occasionally we drop the chunk. It’s annoying and embarrassing, but one has to own up. Attempting to blame others is not cool (even if it’s somebody else’s fault). Never attempt 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.
Arrive on time
The meeting before your meeting can run long and you might be unable to leave. Traffic or public transport can be in gridlock. The alarm clock might 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 always late, take action 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 in your destination, or if the weather is bad, leave 30 minutes early and give yourself some wiggle room. Arriving early is obviously acceptable.
Say thank you
Thanking those with whom you do business is great for relationship building. On each of your invoices, add a line and invite your customer for being your client. At December holiday time, send cards to present and lapsed clients. If you can find an opportunity, have a client to lunch or coffee and include a positive new dimension to your relationship.
As you get to know each other outside of the office, you’ll gain a better understanding of your customer on a personal and professional level and you will feel more comfortable and better prepared to work together on future assignments. Your client might even share details about an upcoming project at his/her organization and you may be invited to take a role in the process. Showing appreciation is always appreciated and it can pay off, as well.