Follow-Through is Important…Especially In Business!
I love Twitter! Because of it, I was introduced to this awesome woman, Cori Padgett, the founder of Big Girl Branding. I invited her to guest blog, and here’s her great advice.
I don’t know about you, but to me a promise is a promise is a promise. If you make a commitment to someone to do something, deliver something, or help with something… good business dictates you follow through and do it.
Especially as an entrepreneur or small business. To be successful you have to market yourself in a lot of different ways at times. This might include emails, phone calls, and networking. In all of those instances you speak with current and potential clients, and if you promise to do something or deliver in some way it is imperative that you do it in order to make a lasting good impression.
That is how you build relationships, create repeat clients, and generate referrals to bring in fresh business. Do what you say you’re going to do and it will be remembered. Flake and don’t deliver and you’ll see quickly how much it can hurt your business and reputation.
Does that mean there aren’t instances where you genuinely are unable to follow-through on a promise? Of course not. The beauty lies in how you handle it. If there is a very valid reason on why you can’t meet a commitment (such as a death in the family or trauma) then the professional thing to do is alert the person you made the commitment to as quickly as possible, and then take measures to either get the promise met by someone equally as qualified, or make arrangements to deliver at a later date that is acceptable to both parties.
And this doesn’t just apply to jobs and projects you may commit to with someone. It can be as simple as making the promise you will send someone a quote at the end of the day, or making a promise you will call a client and remind them of something 6 weeks from now.
You make a note in your calendar and you DO IT. You will be surprised at the appreciation expressed by people when you simply do what you say you’re going to do simply because… well most people don’t! It’s refreshing when someone really does and more importantly… it’s just good business. It’s called being a professional.
This holds true not just in business, but in virtually every aspect of your life. Your ability to keep your promises says a lot about you as an individual. About your ethics, morals, and integrity. Not to mention, when you are a small business you are often a one man operation just starting out. Your business depends on YOU and your follow-through. There is no “blaming it on the secretary.” Your business, your word, your commitment.
That being said, what are a few ways you can make keeping promises a priority in your business? Here are a few to get you started:
Make people priority. Treat them like they are important, even if secretly you just want to wring their important little necks. You wouldn’t give Ashton Kutcher the brush off (well, maybe you would!) so you shouldn’t brush off Joe the plumber either. Treat people like you yourself would wish to be treated, because even if they don’t seem like they could be important to your business at this time, you never know how important they could become later. And if you treated them poorly, well you can definitely expect no forgiveness! Karma is a big, bad wench who loves to laugh in your face.
Don’t ignore people. I’m not saying you have to respond to annoying solicitations and the like but folks who are making a genuine inquiry to you, respond to them. Even if it’s just to say you aren’t interested right now, responding offers closure to the person who contacted you and doesn’t leave them feeling like you were just too busy to give them a simple yes or no answer. It makes them feel valued even in the face of rejection.
Don’t take forever. Follow-up as quickly as you can. Dragging your feet is only going to end up ticking people off and making them less than happy with you and your business. And that negative outlook is hard to override once it’s in place. Respect your customers and the people you deal with by getting back to them in a respectable time frame, or popping off a quick note to let them know you haven’t forgotten and you will follow-up shortly.
It really is that simple and you’ll be amazed at the happy people who help you to grow your business. Developing a reputation for keeping your word is literally priceless. So how valuable do YOU intend to be?
Cori is a ghostwriter/copywriter that specializes in creating engaging and compelling web content for her clients among other things. She is also the founder of the blog https://www.BigGirlBranding.com where you can find a ton of useful marketing, branding, and business advice. Stop by and if you like what you see, be sure to subscribe to her RSS feed to get new content delivered straight to your email.