People value reliability. Whether that comes in the form of the trains running on time or a car starting to take you to your job, reliability is key. It shapes our days and sometimes we take it for granted but in business being known as a reliable person or company can see you leap frog your rivals when it comes to the big decisions being made.
So what makes a reliable company and how can you ensure you show these characteristics?
- Manage Commitments
Managing commitments is key. It goes back to the very basics of business. If you say you are going to do something then do it. Do not get into the habit of just saying you will do it and then hash something together at the last minute or even worse, don’t actually complete it!
You need to ask yourself if a commitment is a high priority for you today and if it’s not, what is going to change tomorrow for it to become a high priority?
Focus on timelines when looking at your commitments and check to see if you have taken on too much or have you taken on things that are well outside of your effective skillset so making delivery difficult? Taking on too much and not being able to manage that commitment right the way through to completion is going to set you on a path which will not end well.
This may mean you need to know when to say no at times, and the truth is, whilst people will be annoyed at that response as long as it has been explained to them as to why you can’t deliver at that time, they will accept it. It is better to say no than to say yes and commit yourself to unrealistic timescales which you then can’t deliver on. Saying ‘I can’t do this now but could get it delivered in 4 weeks’ is better than saying ‘Yes’ and not then delivering it 2 weeks later.
Communication and engaging with people effectively allows you to be seen as reliable and will help you build trust in you and what you offer. Outlining to people the status of the work you are doing for them and when their projects will be delivered is key as it allows them to plan for other aspects and puts you on the front foot.
Take for example when we order a parcel. The key thing we are keen to know is when it will land on our laps and this boils down to communication. Great companies look to first send an SMS letting us know it’s arrived at the depot and then send another to say it’s been dispatched and will be with you by X date. They may finally send a message to say after it’s been delivered, reaffirming that they have successfully done their job. The last message might be stating the obvious but it reinforced the message that you took a chance on someone delivering and they came through with flying colours. It means that the next time you are considering purchasing something you will take into account the way they acted previously and the reliable way in which they operated. Guess what? This reliability will help them get more business and convert more potentials into realities. If it works for delivery companies then why wouldn’t you want to try that in your business?
- Start things and Complete them
There are many times in business where we start things but never complete them but starting and finishing things are the bookends of reliability. The best way to build reliability with your customers is to not only start strong but to finish strong as well, rather than fading away with a whimper.
People buy from finishers. You wouldn’t buy a half made house or a car with only an engine and gearbox! You want the builders to start with strong foundations and carry on through to completing a sturdy, reliable house, perfect for you and your family and anything less won’t do.
So Start AND Finish strong if you want to be seen as being reliable
- Be Truthful
Honesty in business can sometime seem like a myth, but it’s a cornerstone to the process of doing real business with people who you know, like and TRUST. If there is anything that you have done or said that puts a doubt in the prospects mind that you have been less than truthful, it’s unlikely the you will convert them from being prospects into customers. I was always told that one lie makes all of your truths seem unlikely and who wants a reputation as someone who doesn’t tell the truth?Get a reputation like that and it will make everything a challenge as you will spend time having to convince people why you aren’t as unreliable as they thought. Give them a choice of you or someone who is known to be honest, truthful and deliver as they say they will and it’s a simple decision. Truth and Honesty = Reliability
- Be true to your values
We all have values about what is right and wrong and what we should and shouldn’t do in life. This is not just from a personal point of view but also in the way you act in business. Your moral compass outlines who you are and what you stand for and it’s the basis of how others come to rely on you and what you do. For example, in our business James our CEO has some core values to him about which he believes are essential in the way in which we operate. We could have made for example a lot of money by working with mailing companies who just want to send out 000000’s of emails at one time to spam people but doing this would have hurt the great customers we have who look to send emails in the right way. We won’t compromise on our rules and values regardless of how much we are offered and it ensures we have built a reliable reputation for sending emails with other customers. If we were to compromise on these values then how would we know the moral north on our compass? Define values for you and your business, communicate these and stick to them. Do this and it will help build you to be the reliable company and person that gets results and who wins business.
Being a reliable person is not only about backing up what you say and following through but it’s doing it in the right way too.
You always here that saying – People buy from people – whilst it is true, it should be “People buy from reliable people”, if you’re not reliable, don’t rely on customers buying from you