What Are Clients Saying Behind Your Back?

Business Reputation, Positive Impression, Rapport, Savvy Sales Tip

Have you ever wondered what people say about you and your business when you’re not around?

Of course, we all want our happy clients out there singing our praise. But, is that happening? And if not, why not?

Not too long ago someone (let’s call this person Chris) who I’ve admired in business was all over social media promoting the work for someone else (for the sake of the story, let’s call this person Pat). Chris promoted that after going through Pat’s program, it generated more than 10k in business. Just so happens, I had the opportunity to meet Pat face to face at an event. When I asked Pat which program Chris had been through to generate the 10K in business, I was informed that Chris had never actually gone through the program. Chris was receiving a commission from anyone that signed up for Pat’s program using a special link.

It was like someone popped my balloon. I was so incredibly disappointed to find out that someone I admire was taking a very shady approach to making money.

We all want to make money in our businesses, however, doing it at the expense of your reputation is short sighted. Relationships and building trust take time to develop. And a simple misstep can break trust quickly. Making false statements is an instant credibility killer. Trust is a crucial component to a long-term successful client relationship. Please consider the long term impact of what you're doing today to close business. Are you showing up with integrity?

Your reputation is one of the most important things you have in business. When’s the last time you took into account how your reputation would be impacted by a decision you make?

Your Savvy Sales Tip this week: Protect your reputation like it’s the most valuable asset in your business – because it is.

 Savvy Sales Tip: Reputation

Years ago I worked for a company that was giving the sales team less than accurate information to pass along to our clients. When I convinced a client who I had a previous relationship with before going to work for this company to buy this new product, the “less than accurate” information I passed along ended up blowing up in my face. My client was so disgusted and felt betrayed by me. He’s never spoken to me again. This was a powerful lesson. Even though I was passing along information that to my knowledge was accurate, the end result was, it damaged my reputation.

I promised myself then that I would do everything I could to protect my reputation going forward regardless if it cost me the sale, the job, etc.

Here are a few suggestions on how to ensure clients have only the best things to say about you behind your back:

  1. Show up with integrity – offer services and products of real value.
  2. Be upfront and honest. If you can’t deliver on your client's expectations, don’t hide it, tell them straight away. Also known as over-promising and under-delivering (See article on this topic: Read Here).
  3. Only promote the work of people who you've worked with yourself and only share accurate information about your results.
  4. Be cautious about who you endorse or give testimonials/recommendations.
  5. For those who take pride in “telling it like it is” or giving your clients the “what for” chances are you’re damaging the rapport with your client and it’s time to learn a softer and more diplomatic way to deliver information.

Due to my focus on teaching people selling skills, frequently people share with me the horrible experiences they’ve had with someone. It's interesting how often the same person's name comes up again and again. Here are the behaviors people often use when describing the bad sales experience:

  • pushy
  • judgemental
  • abrasive
  • aggressive
  • terrible follow-through
  • dishonest
  • unprepared

The counterexample and how you might judge what people are saying about you is when you show up at an event, and people say things like,

“So and so has the nicest things to say about you.”

“I've heard so many great things about your program/services/product.”

“I've been wanting to meet you.”

When you're not getting any comments, it might be time to do a little investigating. Ask a trusted colleague who you know will be honest, “What are people saying about me?”

Wishing you continued success in all you're doing this week.

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