by Brian C. Haggerty, founder of Brian Haggerty Speaks and author of “Put That Cell Phone Down and Look Me In The Eye“
In business, your reputation is everything. You may have graduated first in your class, have earned a great many degrees or certifications, but if you lack the fundamental traits of character to establish a solid reputation, all of that is meaningless. A person is no different from a business. You still must establish your own personal brand. It has nothing to do with your looks, your background or the school from which you graduated. It has all to do with making the decision to be the best you can be and to establish yourself as a true professional.
There are five very simple steps you can take to help establish that powerful brand that will make people come back to do business with you over and over. It doesn’t take great intellect; only a great desire to be the best you can be!
1. Be Honest.
We all know that we should be honest with others. But, are we being honest with ourselves? This involves a full acknowledgment of our strengths and weaknesses. People generally have a few core strengths, but a whole host of weaknesses. Rather than trying to hide those weaknesses or deny they exist, you must be accepting of them. Trying to be something you are not is a recipe for disaster. Eventually, everyone finds out that you are a phony. When you make a mistake, say so. Admit it. Clients and customers will always appreciate your honesty and will easily forgive and overlook mistakes when you are honest enough to admit them.
2. Under Promise; Over-deliver.
Don’t you just love it when someone tells you they will have something finished for you by a certain day; only to never finish it as promised? This is a huge problem among today’s upstarts. Failure to deliver on time often enough will prove that your word is useless. No one will take you seriously. You tarnish your personal brand and your reputation suffers. Always think before you commit. Be sure you have the time to do what you say you will do. Then, make sure you do it! Add an extra week on to any promise. Then, you’ll be able to deliver it earlier than promised and you’ll be a hero.
3. Be on Time.
They say “Late is the new normal”. Hogwash! Admit it; you don’t like it when someone keeps you waiting. It’s the height of disrespect for others. When you make an appointment or a commitment to show up somewhere, show up on time. Developing a reputation for punctuality is one of the most valuable traits in business. It shows respect to others and earns for you a five-star rating when it comes to your brand.
4. Return Phone Calls.
In a day when everyone has a cell phone, and all seem to be on them constantly, there is no excuse whatsoever to fail to return a phone call. This shows attentiveness, respect, attention to detail, and speaks volumes about your professionalism and your brand.
5. Mind your business.
Do you want to get along with everyone? Do you never wish to find yourself in the middle of a squabble? If so, develop the habit of keeping your mouth closed when it comes to small talk, repeating what someone said, gossiping or offering your opinion when it is not asked and replace it all with praise, compliments and recognition. We need more positive things coming out of our mouths and far less negativity. People will love you, will want to be around you and, most of all, will want to do business with you.
Brian C. Haggerty is founder of Brian Haggerty Speaks and author of “Put That Cell Phone Down and Look Me In The Eye: Bringing Civility and Respect Back to the Workplace at ALL Levels of Business“. For more information, visit www.BrianHaggertySpeaks.com.