One of the things you really don’t need in business, is a reputation for being unreliable.
Although we often hear people discussing the well-known business development adage; that we should under promise and/or over deliver, few people talk about the commercial consequences of the exact opposite. Few people discus the often serious consequences to one’s reputation, of over promising and/or under delivering.
Over promising or under delivering
Right now, there are approximately 200 trees around my home, which are at least 25% too high. They were supposed to have been trimmed in July, then again in August. In both cases, the businesses who said they would do the job, wasted weeks of my time before admitting that it was too big a task for them. They were small local businesses, which I wanted to support with my custom. It’s a big, expensive, profitable job and I am a passionate advocate of helping small businesses. Each business owner chose to tell me that they could do the work and would do it, even agreeing start dates; before eventually admitting it was out of their league and they couldn’t hire the manpower needed. They over promised and failed to deliver.
The marketing value of a reputation for reliability
In an ever-changing world, there is a HUGE commercial benefit, for those of us who develop strong reputations for reliability. Every time we tell a client or contact that we will deliver a great project by a certain date or time, and we do, we increase our value to that person enormously. Every time we tell someone that we will call them / email them in 2 hours and we do, again, we elevate their perception of us.
The opposite is also true and in my experience, far, far more common – So much so that those people / businesses that deliver a quality product, on time actually stand out!
How stupid is that? We are working in the toughest economic climate in living memory, and you can still shine within your industry, purely by doing what you said you would!
What do you feel, about companies and people, who regularly under deliver? If someone is good at their job, but is known as being unreliable, would you still recommend them to your clients, contacts or friends? Maybe you would feel that the damage that it could cause to your reputation by recommending an unreliable provider is just not worth it?