A few weeks ago I was asked by an individual to look at some items she needed to sell at auction. She is moving out of state into a smaller home and has too much to take with her. We did a tour of her home while I listed the things she wanted to sell. I knew it would be awhile before she would make a decision so I’ve waited to hear from her.
Yesterday a friend of mine called to let me know she had called him asking about auctioneers in the area. He recommended me. She said I had looked at her items, but she just didn’t know who to have do her auction. He assured her that I was both competent and honest. He’s attended several of my auctions in the past, and he assured her I could do the job. Last night she called me back and asked me to come back to make arrangements for the auction.
Character matters. Some people have asked why I, a minister, would begin doing auctions when auctioneers do not always have the best reputation. I remind them that not all ministers have a sterling reputation either! There are many good, honest auctioneers in the business who treat people ethically and fairly, and I am pleased to join their ranks.
Regardless of your field of business or career, it’s important to be skilled and competent, but it’s even more important that people know you are a person they can trust. I can run a dozen ads and spend thousands on marketing, but none of that will have as much influence as having someone tell another person about your character. And that’s true whether your character is good or bad! In fact, if people are out there telling others that you cannot be trusted it doesn’t matter how much marketing you do, eventually no one will do business with you.
How do you develop a good reputation in business? It’s not hard. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’ll do it. Don’t take advantage of people. Tell the truth, always, even when it will hurt you. Follow through on your promises. When I owned another business a salesman forgot to add labor to the cost of installing equipment we sold a customer. He wanted to go back and charge the customer for that labor, but we had a signed contract with that person. I refused to go back and ask him to pay more than he had agreed. I ate about four days labor on that job. Follow the Golden Rule. Always take the high road in every transaction. If disagreements occur make the decision you will never have to be the one who has to go back and apologize for something that was said.
It begins by making a decision early that you will operate your business in a manner that will result in you and your business having a great reputation in the community. Once you make that decision, manage it every day in every transaction you have with your clients, your suppliers, and your team members. If you’ll do that, the positive word-0f-mouth it will generate will bring you more business.