I’m a nut about returning phone calls and answering email. It’s not always the most pleasant activity I have, but it surely is important.
Dan Sullivan from the Strategic Coach often talks about being referable. The four things that he says you need to do are:
1. Show up on time.
2. Do what you say.
3. Finish on time.
4. Say please and thank-you.
I would say these four things are the minimum that you must do to build trust. Here are some other thoughts and things you might want to think about:
Building trust takes time, tearing trust down doesn’t take any time. I’ve recently had the misfortune of being sorely disappointed by two associates I know. Both have not returned calls or emails. It could be that I’ve done something wrong or it could be they are just rude. Either way, if they want me to help them with something or refer people to their service in the future I’m not likely to do so.
Lesson learned: Always think about how your actions reflect on those you associate with.
Honesty is the only thing that works. I often have people call me and ask me to do business with them. Instead of ignoring their requests, I try to contact them and let them know why I don’t intend to work with them if that is true.
In sales getting a no is almost as important as getting a yes. Suppliers might not like it when I say no, but at least they won’t try to figure out why I haven’t called them back. And, at some point in the future they might even have an offering that I would be interested in.
Don’t be embarrassed when you screw up. Yea, I know that’s almost an impossible one. We’re all embarrassed when we let things go for too long and don’t get back to people. We often will just not call back after things have gone for too long.
In my experience it’s better to pick up the phone and make that call. Or, write an email that opens a conversation. I’ve found that when I let things go for too long, a heartfelt apology on my part will help make up for my mistake of poor communication skills.
Have you had a time where you wish you could go back and apologize? Have you done something and just felt that it was too long and an apology now wouldn’t make any sense? Pick up the phone or write that email, I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.
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