YOUR reputation precedes you. Your reputation creates or destroys sales. What’s yours?
With the onslaught of social media, good and bad actions and comments relating to quality of product, quality of service, and quality of experience are at the forefront of corporate awareness.
Many companies are reluctant to get into social media for fear customers will say or post negative things about them.
Reality: Those companies and their leaders are ‘socially’ unaware that the customer is going to post those feelings anyway.
Worse reality: Many companies are under the influence of shallow lawyers warning executives that the sky is falling if someone tweets.
Worst reality: Even more ridiculous are the companies that ‘forbid’ the use of social media at work based on the fear their employees will waste their time searching for their old high school romance.
News alerts: Social media – or business social media (as I prefer to refer to it) – is now a mainstay. The floodgates of social freedom are reshaping the world and at the same time reshaping – or at least redefining – your company, your product, your service, and your people through the voice of your customers.
And social media, when combined with word-of-mouth advertising and stories that may appear online or in print, determines your fate and your future. All of that combines to equal your reputation.
Another way of looking at or defining reputation is the state or status of ‘becoming known as’ or ‘becoming known for’ something.
1. Become known for doing everything you said you would do – on time or sooner. To have any prayer for a reputation you must be known as a person who does and delivers what you promise. Without this fundamental element, don’t bother to read the rest.
2. Become known for being easy to do business with, and be friendly while you are doing it. Customers expect everything and they expect it when they need it – not just when you can offer it. You have to be friendly when you are there and friendly when you are not there. This means easily accessible by telephone and easily accessible by internet.
3. Become known for being proactively remarkable. When you stand out from other vendors, you will be talked about, and earning a reputation (and a testimonial) will be simple. Being remarkable means going the extra mile and making service the forefront of your business, not an add on.
4. Become known for providing consistent help. If you get my weekly email magazine, Sales Caffeine, you know it is all about sales help. Each week I provide my customers information of value – information that helps them learn and grow. And I do it for free. As a result, my customers and followers are loyal, they think of me often in a positive way, and they proactively send me referrals on a regular basis.
4.5 Become known as someone who gets business for customers. While this is not always possible, I can assure you it is the single most valuable thing you can do to secure loyal relationships, referrals, an incredible reputation, and testimonials that will flow like Niagara Falls. Figure out a way to help your customer by providing them leads, referrals, and networking opportunities so they have an opportunity to get new business.
Result: The most incredible reputation will come your way.
Here are a few more things you can do to create and build reputation.
• Create internal ‘wow’ moments for customers. Establish ‘wow’ empowerment for employees who face customer concerns and complaints. Give them specific things they can do (offer free product, free gift, gift certificate, free shipping).
• Select a random ‘customer of the day’ from people who call in. Then post in with a photo on your business Facebook page.
• Create a Wikipedia page that boasts your accomplishments and generates more keywords.
• Design and post a YouTube channel filled with testimonials. Make sure the titles are searchable and always contain the word ‘testimonial’.
• Start with ‘yes’. Train all people in your company to tell customers what you can do, not what you can’t do.
• Write an article that contains several examples of what you’re doing to build your reputation. Post it on your Facebook page and blog it.
• Encourage your customers to post their opinion of a transaction or interaction.
When you let your positive words and actions speak for themselves, your reputation rises in the process.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com , will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email email@example.com