When you consider your business reputation there are two elements to think about. This is true of established businesses and start-ups. You need to consider your reputation with customers and with other businesses who will be suppliers and business partners. Fundamentally these elements are the same as they both come down to being known and being known to be trustworthy. So making the assumption that we are going to behave in a decent and honourable way I have to ask myself one question. How do I let people know just how decent and honourable I am? Let’s examine both behaviour and publicity to get an answer to how we build our business reputation.
A Reputation For What?
It’s perfectly possible for us to earn ourselves a bad reputation. So let’s start by looking at what we can do to get known for being “good people”.
- Be available. You have knowledge and expertise so feel free to share that with people. When you are asked a question, answer it. This is not giving away your knowledge. This is demonstrating your expertise. If people know you are willing to answer questions and give good honest advice, they will also know that you are an expert who can be relied on to do a good job. This leads me on to…
- Network. Seek opportunities to interact with the public and with other businesses. By letting people see you and by interacting you become known in your area and your community.
- Join an Organisation. If you have a professional body for your industry or local business group, join them. This is an extension of networking but it is also a way of demonstrating that you are professional and should be taken seriously.
- Trade Honestly. This goes without saying probably. If customers get what they pay for they are happy. If they feel they are being cheated they will tell everyone. Honesty in the way we do business has to be our first concern. If we are dishonest it doesn’t matter how good our PR is. A good reputation can only be built upon a foundation of honest trading.
Is It Enough To Be Honest?
The short answer is no. We also have to be good at what we do. More than that, everyone has to know how good we are at what we do. This is where good word of mouth and advertising come into play. People talk to each other and having happy customers will definitely help spread the word about your business but you can’t rely on it. You need to advertise and link that to your reputation building. There are two ideas I want us to concentrate on for advertising to build a good reputation.
Once you have some happy customers you need to get then to talk. Not only that but you need to get them to talk on camera and on mic. In my last article I wrote about traditional advertising and now I’m going to suggest that when we record our happy customers for our on-line video. We can also use the audio for our local radio advertising. We should always be looking to maximise the impact of our production effort. By using the audio from our video for a radio advert we minimise our investment per generated lead.
When recording our testimonial we need to create a comfortable, interview scenario where our customer can just talk. They need to be comfortable and calm so they can talk naturally. This shouldn’t be rehearsed. Our viewers and listeners will recognise anything rehearsed and that will undermine our efforts. Rehearsed dialogue doesn’t ring true. We need genuine comments from our customers. Those genuine happy customers will boost our reputation because they are reporting on their actual positive experiences and people want to hear about other customer’s experiences when they are deciding to buy.
I’ve written a few times about just how powerful “How To” videos can be. A slight variation is the demonstration video which doesn’t necessarily teach any lessons but does demonstrate your skills. You can read about making “How To” videos here. Whether you opt for teaching or demonstrating the important point is to show just how skilled you are. These videos are there to establish your expertise in the mind of the viewer. As a potential customer it would be great to hear what other customers have experienced, but to actually see the person you are going to buy from, at work, gives a whole new perspective. This kind of video builds confidence in potential customers and that is a key element to giving you a good reputation.