In one of the final sections of our Publishize book, I list my 10 Keys to Success. Because I only briefly touch on them in the book, I'm expanding on them here. Here's number seven in the list: do what you say you're going to do.
I've been preaching this mantra for years. If more people just did what they say, everyone would be a lot happier. Sadly, common courtesy is becoming less common, particularly online. If you actually do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it, you will stand out. It's the Golden Rule at work. Treat people as you would like to be treated.
Maybe it's because I've been in business for a while, but over the years, I've noticed a trend among people who start to "believe their own PR" a little too much. After this happens, they start treating their customers and business partners like peons.
Here are a few personal examples of when people did not follow the Golden Rule:
- A number of years ago, when I was publishing a regional magazine, I drove 100 miles from Sandpoint, Idaho to Spokane, Washington for a meeting with someone who professed to be desperate to partner with my business. The person I was supposed to meet didn't show up. He never apologized, even when I asked him about it.
- One October, I was asked to be a speaker for a teleseminar the following March. I provided all the information as requested, marked it on my calendar, and received confirmation that everything was set up. However, the organization never updated their Web site with information about any upcoming teleseminars (including mine). At the end of February, I asked about my teleseminar. It turned out I was "bumped" for someone else. Again, there wasn't an acknowledgement of my time and effort or an offer to reschedule. "Oh the virtual assistant messed up" isn't much of an answer.
- During a lunch meeting a few years ago, a person felt compelled to spend most of it talking on her cell phone to (presumably) "very important" people. Then after that splendid meal, she had to run back to her office to answer "very important emails." (As an aside, there's something wrong with your priorities and business if you think that the business world is going to somehow come to a screeching halt if you aren't answering your email or cell phone every moment of every day.)
The common theme among these three experiences was that in each case, I was treated like I didn't matter to the other person. It wasn't exactly malicious, but is this the type of experience you want to give your business partners and customers?
Certainly mistakes happen, but when they do, admit them, apologize, and try and make the person feel like he or she actually matters to you and your business. Everyone wants to feel important. The Golden Rule is a magical thing. If people believe you care, you will go far in business.
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