To succeed in business, you need a good reputation. What you do and what others say and know about you—that forms your reputation. These days, entire businesses revolve around reputation management, with companies and agents helping individuals and businesses manage their reputation online and offline. Although the reputation they help create does not always match up with reality, individual and business clients do experience more success.
While you can’t live your life worrying about what everyone says about you, you do need to pay attention to how the outside world views you. But is it really necessary to go so far as to pay someone to manage your reputation? It may be hard work and take time, but it isn’t rocket science.
In this post, I’m going to give you seven actions to take to build and maintain a great reputation.
1. Keep your promises. Simple, right? Actually, keeping promises can be difficult. We all promise things without really thinking about it. Even when you promise something that you regret, make good on it. When friends, clients and business partners know that you are good for your word, they trust you.
2. Over deliver. Most services and companies under deliver. They make big promises, but the product or service ends up being of less value than what they initially promoted. It’s why people switch service providers all the time. If you want to build a reputable business, make sure that your customers always feel like they’re getting even more value than they expected when they signed on.
3. Do something for free. Have you ever considered working for free? If not, read my recent post “Should you ever work for free?” In short, the more you give, the more you get. Do something for free, work for a charity, offer a free service or product to an influencer or leaders in your community.
4. Pay attention to your language. My post “Things you should never say” discusses phrases you should never use in business conversations or communications. These phrases and words damage your credibility and reputation and have the effect of pushing clients and partners away.
5. Help others. While seemingly the same as the third point in this list, there’s a big difference—helping others doesn’t relate in any way to your business services or product. Just help people; it builds good will and karma. When people contact you with questions or seek advice, even if you don’t have an answer at the ready, learn enough about their question or request to help. These won’t be people who you see as potential clients or partners. Not everything in life should relate to making money.
6. Be consistent. When you’ve raised the bar by following the first five actions, you feel challenged by keeping up these actions. This is no time to stop. You need to remain consistent to maintain your reputation. For example, if you decide to hold a free class for your community every Saturday, follow through so people know they can count on you.
7. Engage with your community. Your community includes all the people around you—people in your office, your partners, and even clients. Your community might be small as a two or three people or large as a million. Find a way to meet and engage with them, get to know them, and find out what’s special about them. Give them something valuable and provide them with resources. Let them feel that you are there and available for them.
As I said, it takes time and effort to build a strong reputation. Maintaining that reputation is a never-ending process. The good news? Doing all these things feels good anyway. Plus, eventually, these actions help you become more successful in business and life because you establish a network of people ready to help you at any time or during any life situation that crops up.