Wayne Swan would have to be awarded Salesman of the year for his delivery and after-sales effort of the 2013 budget. It’s like listening to a salesman that has rote learnt the company patter and just repeats it over and over. Repetition, he hopes, will help his message get through.. by osmosis, verbal assault or just resignation by those of us still listening. But the battle has already been lost, because most of us don’t actually believe his projections any more. There have been so many predictions that never come true that trust is long gone.
If the most powerful organisations and people can lose trust and trash their brands, what hope do those of us in small business have? It is a timely reminder that honesty is crucial to maintaining trust and confidence in your clients and prospects. We all make promises in business every day – in daily operations, in your brand values and in every communication. People do remember these and will judge your performance against them; were you honest or not?
Dishonesty loses your credibility and (in the long run) your clients. It’s the small things. We have all had staff that told you one thing and did another, suppliers that tell you your delivery ‘left yesterday’ or clients who said ‘the cheque is in the mail.’ Each little incident erodes trust a little more. As hard as it may be to tell your client or supplier that you can not deliver what you promised, an open honest discussion will fare you better than denial and an appearance of indifference. It matters more what you do than what you say: actions speak volumes.
Keeping high standards through dedication and vigilance is key to building and maintaining trust and reliability. Cultivating a culture of honesty in your business, where difficult conversations and coached and discussed, will yield dividends in the long run.
Dr Warren Harmer
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