Sometimes in business you feel you can’t always be honest, you can’t always be you! There’s a lot at stake – you might show your vulnerable side, you might expose weakness, you may be misunderstood. Well actually now, more than ever, real people are seeking like minded real people. We’re fed up of fake news, celebrity fantasyland, and influencer pressure. Now is a great time to Be real, Be Honest, Be You!
Value honesty and integrity in your business, especially in the sales process where such values are often rare. They are in themselves an amazing USP and will differentiate you from the multitude, especially in the current climate. Be true to yourself, be you, be genuine. Hang on to these values and don’t be tempted to compromise for the sake of a quick buck. Leave the bull and lies for the politicians and bankers and get on with making a real difference to the people and businesses you serve. Giving real honest value for money and great service will command respect and loyalty and ultimately improve your customer and staff retention rates, generate word of mouth referrals and repeat business and win you new clients. Get back to the basics of what you do, why you do it and what amazing value it has for those you serve and you should start feeling inspired and motivated again to spread your word.
Just a few areas where I believe honesty and integrity are important:
Discuss prices honestly:Don’t be shy about discussing prices with existing and new customers. Be honest. Don’t be forced to drop your prices without genuine discussion. Buyers normally want to buy from suppliers who will be around to see the job through and to service the account into the future. There is nothing to be gained across the region by screwing our suppliers. We all need to tighten belts and negotiate with suppliers, but as a supplier you too need to be strong and honest about where you can and can’t compromise – seek fairness above all, don’t be afraid to negotiate. I’m a great believer in visible pricing – explain your pricing strategy. If your customer feels he/ she is being ripped off, why do they feel this, what are they comparing you to? Maybe they don’t understand the full value and benefit of what you do across their business, maybe they don’t actually need or use all of your product or service and so you may need to educate or strip back some of your offering. Seek honest face-to- face discussion where possible; avoid putting price increases in writing.
Network with Integrity: I’ve recently got back to doing some networking again. As a trainer, what really strikes me is the difference between those that do it well i.e. genuinely and with integrityand those that do it badly i.e. selfishly(not very interested in the other party). No-where is the principle of give and get more important. Observe the one-sided conversations with no genuine interest in what the other person does versus the open, exploratory two way conversations, which you know will bear great fruit in some form or other for years to come. It doesn’t matter if the person doesn’t appear to be an immediate “valuable lead”. Believe me your leads can come from such a wide range of sources if you seek genuine contact with people and make an impression. As well as some good leads, my recent networking brought me some really crucial other gifts too numerous to mention!!! Although specifically I am very grateful to Owen for inspiring me to move forward with my book and referring me to someone who can help (thanks if you’re reading!) – watch this space!!!
Seek customer’s honest feedback:Be genuinely bothered about your customers. Spent some time talking to them and find out what you can honestly do for them in the current climate. Don’t just pay lip service to this. Really care. This can open up new opportunities, cement relationships, and expose cracks to heal before it’s too late. Don’t just seek to sell, seek to engage and build genuine relationships.
What can you genuinely do? I always come back to this – know your real value. Most of you will be aware of features and benefits and will hopefully have worked out your big benefit. However times have changed dramatically over recent months so repeat this exercise in the light of the current climate and genuinely ask yourself how you help your customers and prospects and what’s the value of this. Now communicate this powerfully and effectively and help your client understand your value in relation to your price. Know where you can genuinely add value and make a difference, and also where you cannot. Dare I say it,actually turning down work that’s not the right fit or passing it on is often the right thing to do. I’ve done it confidently twice over the past week i.e. been honest about areas where I don’t feel I have enough specialist expertise. In both cases the buyers were taken aback by my honesty but I’m pretty sure I’ll ultimately get business or referrals from both parties and it will be in areas where I excel.
And finally, you too Mr Buyer, respect and value the person selling with integrity.Ok, I admit there are some time wasters out there and some less than honest sales people pestering you. Time is precious. But think about the genuine people you or your staff has invited in to pitch, meet with, engage with your business at some level. Think of the time theyhave invested in your business. They deserve honesty and feedback – you don’t have to buy. Take the call, reply to the e-mail, tell them where you’re up to, and show some respect. No is fine or no for now but don’t insult their intelligence with fob offs or ignorance. Be honest, open and forthright and save everyone (including you) a lot of time and grief. Don’t play the power game – the world (particularly in the Northeast) is a small place and you will no doubt be selling something at some stage. I firmly believe we reap what we sow.