This is so important, not just in business, but in all aspects of your life and in your relationships.
This aligns with commitment, but here I focus on following through on your commitments to others. Quite simply, if you say you will do something, do it. Follow through, no matter how big or small the promise. If you say you will call someone at 1p tomorrow, do it, on time. If you agreed to meet somewhere, do it, even if it means you have to go out of your way. If you tell a client you will provide a quote by the end of the following business day, don’t forget. If you have an agreement with someone, follow through, even if you end up losing on it.
I can go on and on, but the point is this: Trust is critical for any relationship, business or personal. The “easiest” way to build trust is to do what you said you would do, consistently. OK, simple but not always easy. This not only builds trust and elevates the professionalism of your business, but makes the person feel valued and respected. Consistent follow through on your words shows reliability and that reinforces trust. The reliability becomes expectation, which builds faith in you and your business. Your customers will enjoy doing business with you again and again.
The quickest way to lose trust, look unprofessional, and let your clients know you do not value them is to not follow through on your word.
Of course, things happen as life is riddled with delays and mishaps. How you respond and how you treat your clients, customers, vendors, associates, employees, etc. in those situations will make all the difference. Those are additional opportunities to show them how you do business and reassure them of why they should be doing business with you. If you will be late, call and give the person a heads up. Apologize. If you failed to provide what you promised, don’t leave the person wondering what happened. Apologize and make up for it. Maintain good communication.
When you break your word, you make the person feel like they are not important. You make them feel dismissed, like they are a dime a dozen and can be easily replaced. You make them feel like you don’t need them, nor do you respect them enough to deliver on what you told them.
In the course of running your business, you will no doubt encounter plenty of flakes: people who like to talk the talk, but will only walk the walk at their convenience or when it serves them. The more flakes you find yourself dealing with, the more you value the people that keep their word. The same goes for you as a business owner. Everyone you encounter while running your business will value and respect you when you keep your word consistently. But, more importantly, they will feel valued and respected.