It’s hard to overestimate the importance of building a reputation in business. I go as far as saying a strong reputation is your most valuable asset. Many successful business owners will agree. Because when done well, an excellent reputation is a powerful tool that allows you to charge value-based prices AND it can help you attract new customers without lifting a finger.
What makes a client choose one business over the other?
It’s an important question for any business owner.
Sometimes it’s price.
I will not deny that to some clients it’s money over everything else.
BUT THAT’S NOT THE TYPE OF CLIENTS I WANT TO SERVE.
I’m guessing that’s not where you want to position your business either.
Because apart from my desire to work with clients who align with my values, the race for the bottom dollar is bound to end in tears (and an empty bank account). Especially in today’s world, where geographical location means nothing, and the competition goes well beyond the town limits.
So if not price, then what?
Superior quality, reliability, prompt communication, …YOUR OUTSTANDING REPUTATION!
The Importance Of Building A Reputation In Business
SEE,… A good reputation is so much more than a pat on the back.
When it comes to your business, YOUR REPUTATION IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET.
Whether it’s a bunch of 5 star reviews on Google, or the hallway chat that happens between 2 colleagues, your reputation matters…A LOT.
It can make or break your business.
It can determine how fast or how much your business grows.
When done well, it's a powerful tool that can help attract new customers without lifting a finger.
You can charge a price that reflects the quality service you offer… .Clients will pay without a moan, AND come back for more later down the track.
Think about it: How often have you checked reviews before making a purchase? Or settled on a company because somebody else gave them a raving recommendation?
I know for my business, when clients come in through a referral, they are HOT leads!
So, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say a good reputation is like a shining beacon. It’s a sign your clients can trust you.
And it’s something to strive for! With everything you have!
How Do You Build A Strong Business Reputation
The question is, how do you build a strong business reputation?
How do you get to a point where people are so over the moon with your services, they’ll tell other people they should go and see you?
My first tip is CONSISTENCY.
Elizabeth Arden says this: “Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers”.
Not that I have any affinity with Elizabeth Arden, but I strongly agree with her on this.
It’s not just doing a good job once or twice that will build a strong business reputation. It’s the consistency of it that will.
My second tip is TAKING ACTION.
What do I mean by that?
I’m not naive by any means. Nobody gets it right all the time. But what differentiates the business that gets a referral from the one that doesn’t is how you deal with the ‘off-moments’.
Here’s an example.
I’m sure you’ll know all too well that working with a new client isn't always unicorns and roses. It often takes some time to figure out how you work best together.
It’s one reason I have a really thorough onboarding process. But every now and then, I still get blind sighted.
In my experience, clients usually take a couple of days to get back to me with feedback on content. With this new client, it took a full week. I assumed they would anticipate the fall-out on the go-live date of the event website. Turns out , … they didn’t, because they had no understanding of the amount of work that is involved at our end.
Of course, they were disappointed. I received an email that said so.
Sometimes it’s what you don’t do or say that’s the issue. I should have checked. So, I had to be upfront, explain where things went wrong, own my side of the hick-up and apologise. Most clients appreciate this.
Fair to say since this week, my onboarding process has an extra question about the client’s turnaround time.
Leveraging a Strong Reputation
So on to the next step.
Once you have built a reputation for quality, it's important to leverage it to attract and retain customers.
There are a couple of ways you can do that.
1. Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
One way to do this is through word-of-mouth marketing.
It’s as powerful as marketing gets, so it’s not something you want to leave to chance. I encourage my satisfied customers to share their experiences with friends, family, colleagues and anyone who will listen.
I am quite intentional about this in my off-boarding strategy. You can read about it here.
Another way is to use social proof, like testimonials, to showcase the positive experiences and feedback from your satisfied clients.
The reason testimonials are such powerful tools in building a reputation in business is because when you say your business is amazing, it’s considered boasting. At best, it’ll be “noise”. But when previous clients say you’re the best in the industry, it has a lot of value! People pay attention.
So, I let my clients do the talking for me!
Just like the word-of-mouth referrals, gathering testimonials is part of my off-boarding strategy. But I’ll save any positive feedback that comes my way outside the off-boarding process too.
What can I say? I’m a thorough woman!
How to maintain a good reputation in business
I probably don't need to say this, but building a strong reputation for your business
isn't a one-and-done thing.
It takes tireless work to exceed your customers' expectations. A lot of time. Even more effort.
But as hard as it is to build a strong reputation, it’s very easy to lose it!
Reputations are fragile, and if you’re not careful, it’s POOF… gone.
That’s why building a reputation in business is one thing. Maintaining it is another.
It’s also why you want to stay up to date with industry trends and customer preferences. Why you can’t become complacent.
But the elephant in the room is …negative feedback.
As much as we may strive for perfection, we all know IT’S NOT A REAL THING.
Having unhappy customers or getting negative feedback now and then is unavoidable.
But here’s the thing. It's not the negative feedback in itself that’s the problem (unless, of course, it becomes a frequent thing), it's the way we handle it that truly matters.
- Respond quickly and effectively.
- Be graceful and professional. Don’t go on the defensive.
- Take the time to listen, empathise.
- Consider how you may (unwillingly and despite your best efforts) have contributed to the negative feedback.
- Address the issues with care and transparency.
- Offer solutions and make things right.
When dealing with problems and negative feedback in a professional manner, we not only resolve the hick-up but also show our commitment to our client’s satisfaction.
And THIS helps to not only maintain but even strengthen our reputation!
Need Some Help With This?
When the market is crowded (Show me one that isn’t! ), building a strong reputation for your business is an asset that can help you stand out. It helps to attract new customers for long-term growth. AND it allows you to charge value-based prices. (If you don’t know why that’s like hitting the jackpot, I recommend visiting my episode on pricing. You can find it here. )
So, if you want to…
build a strong reputation for your business
improve your service package
work on the consistency of the services you offer
create an onboarding or offboarding procedure
work towards value-based pricing
or simply know something isn’t working and you have no idea where to start
Then a FREE 60 Minute Strategy Session with me is exactly what’s needed.
We’ll do a Scale Scan to see what’s working and what is not in your business. And from there we build a Growth Plan.
Book a FREE 60 Minute Strategy Session here.