What your customers really want

    photo by covilha 

“If a good reputation is like Gold, then having Integrity is like owning the mine.”  John C. Maxwell / Jim Dornan – Becoming a Person of Influence

I had a great opportunity to sit in on a Core Advocates training session this morning that focused on the importance of Reputation when it comes to building your business by word of mouth.  I’m going to be doing some work with the Core Advocates team in the future and I’m impressed with what the ‘core’ ideas behind the training.

Reputation is a critical part of anyone’s business success (or success overall), but how often do you actually hear anyone talk about it or take the time to really think through what their reputation actually is and what they’d like it to be?

Your reputation is up for discussion every single day.  “I’m looking for a good plumber…do you know one?”  “I’m going to that new restaurant on Metcalf this weekend – what did you think of it?”  People will talk, and with the explosion of Social Media, they have an easy platform to share their opinions and they’re doing more than ever.

Do you know what your reputation is? 

There are several reasons why Reputation is critical – the obvious one is that people won’t do business with an individual or business that has a known bad reputation (shoddy products, unfair dealings, poor customer service, etc.).

Just as important, people will not refer someone they believe has a bad reputation – in fact, they are much more likely to tell others about a bad experience than a good experience, especially in the age of the internet!

On the flip side, if you can demonstrate a positive reputation – if people get to Know, Like and Trust you (even if it’s outside of work) they will consider doing business with you and they will refer you!  Think about the implications of that…social contacts, neighbors, parents that are at your kids games – all of them have the opportunity to experience your character, even if it’s outside of a work setting and if they like what they see they will jump on your bandwagon – possibly doing business with you or referring others.

Reputation Audit

List out all the characteristics that you are looking for when you do business personally or professionally.  Most people would include things like honesty, integrity, professionalism, friendly, helpful, etc.

Now – picture yourself at work…do you exhibit all of the traits that you expect from others?  Picture yourself out at a restaurant, a bar, your church, a crowded parking lot on a hot day…do you still exhibit all of the traits that you’d like to be known for?

Contrary to what Corporate Brand managers would have you believe, reputation only comes from the actions you take.  You might tell me what a great business you are, but I’m going to judge you based on what you do – not only at the workplace, but everywhere else as well.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” – Henry Ford

What do you want to be known for?  What are you specifically doing to make that happen?  Is being yourself enough or do you need to consciously push yourself towards the reputation you want? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

2 thoughts on “What your customers really want”

  1. Jerry Smith says:

    Good points Shawn, especially those about taking action to build reputation. Don't you think that the rise in Social media, while a good thing, has made it easier for people to hide behind a keyboard and simply “tell” the world how great they are?

    This manifests itself with self-appointed titles like “guru” and actually that is counter productive I think. When you are putting out stuff about how great you are or how rich you can make me, actually that damages rather than enhances a reputation don't you think? We can form our own opinions when we SEE how someone acts.

  2. skinkade says:

    Jerry – I think you're right on with the observation about the self-appointed titles. There may be a rare few that can back that kind of thing up, but it's almost sure to back fire against most.

    Although Social Media makes that behavior easier, it also makes it easier to add value and demonstrate your character through online actions. Simply commenting on a post or complimenting someone's good fortune are active ways to show your character.

    Thanks for the thought.

    Shawn

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