7 steps to a winning reputationBY HANNAH SAMUEL
Traditional marketing theory tells us we can gain a competitive edge by adjusting one or more of the four Ps: Product, Price, Place or Promotion. The only problem is, your competitors use the same four Ps to create a competitive edge against you!
So whilst the 4Ps shouldn’t be ignored, in today’s highly competitive markets, they rarely give us a truly competitive edge for any length of time.
Change the product, and before you know it someone else will have an almost identical one in the market-place too. Change the price and risk eroding your profit margins or pricing yourself out of the market altogether. Change the place, and your products and services may get lost amongst similar offerings competing in the same place and changing the promotion may or may not provide the returns you want for the time and money spent.
As consumers, employees and job-seekers we are more critical than ever before, more cynical than ever before, and it’s significantly more competitive than ever before.
So how can you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons and attract more of the clients, customers and employees you want who are willing to put their reputation on the line and recommend you to others and go the extra mile for sustainable success?
Following the seven reputation-branding essentials below will certainly help you increase your perceived value and worth and move from ‘compete’ to ‘unique’ in what is an increasingly competitive world.
1. Keep abreast of changing values and expectations
People’s expectations are constantly changing. What they value in you, your products or services, and the way you do business today may not be what they value tomorrow.
Keep abreast with changing values and expectations by reading and researching widely and actively engaging with those you want to create lasting relationships with on an ongoing basis to stay attuned to what they want and expect.
2. Aim for ‘win/win’ outcomes from every interaction
Focus on nurturing a long-term relationship rather than scoring a ‘win’ for a short- term gain. For example, if you know another business or provider may provide a better all round solution for the person you’re dealing with - recommend them. The level of trust your client or customer will have in you will go up and your reputation will be enhanced immensely.
Plus, it’s more likely that you’ll be recommended in return as and when you’re better placed to serve a client more effectively.
3. Make it easy for people to recommend you
When someone recommends you, it’s not your reputation that’s on the line – it’s theirs – and we only recommend others when we’re sure they’ll deliver. Make people feel good about dealing with you and you’ll enhance your chances of being recommended accordingly.
Deliver on your promises – on time, every time - and focus on building high-trust, high-value relationships. Remember too to act with integrity as this will also help you be recommended more often.
4. Never ‘bad-mouth’ or be disparaging about others
Bad-mouthing your competitors or others is a major reputation loser. No-one likes a gossip and news travels fast, especially on-line. People will think “if you say those things about them, what might you be saying about me when I'm out of earshot?”
If you don’t have anything good to say, it’s better to say nothing at all.
5. Never breach the bond of trust between you and your supporters
People hire, and do business, with people and companies they trust. Research in 2009 found 75% of respondents no longer buy from businesses they don't trust and 61% had urged family and friends to do the same. Clarify expectations and maintain open, respectful communication at all times.
6. Accept responsibility and accountability for your actions
When things go wrong, ensure the person who is aggrieved feels you are working to resolve things, rather than blaming them or justifying your position. If you’re at fault, accepting responsibility, without accusation or blame, and being willing to be held accountable will enhance, rather than damage, your reputation.
7. Avoid over-promising and under-delivering
Over-promising but under-delivering is a reputation-killer. Ensure the statements and claims you make are truthful, the expectations people have of you are fulfilled and the experiences people have encourage friends, colleagues and customers to remain loyal and recommend you to others.
Perception is reality. Our reputation is not what we say about ourselves, but what others think of us. Act with integrity and build trust at all times and you’ll develop and maintain a reputation that will become one of your greatest personal and business assets.
Hannah Samuel, International Speaker with Training Edge International and an award-winning speaker, columnist and author. She speaks, writes and mentors worldwide on issues around reputation, trust and integrity and is the founder of online reputation service directory TRUSTcite.
Email : Hannah@trainingedgeasia.com
Website : www.trainingedgeasia.com