Reputation Counts

Did you notice that I slacked off last week? I only posted once.

That’s because I spent a long weekend on the beach taking advantage of the writer’s life. And while I was sitting, drinking a cold beverage, I watched my kids find new friends.

My kids are social butterflies. They have lengthy chats with people, attract new friends automatically, and are friendly and appealing without even trying.

They have a reputation for being loveable.

And while I was on the beach, my business attracted attention too. A LinkedIn message from an acquaintance came in with a new opportunity.

I’ve known him, on and off, for a few years. We’ve never worked directly together or had much in common. I wouldn’t call us close … but he’s a likeable guy, so we talked every six months or so.

He’s now the VP of a technology company — and he wants to discuss a project for his new employer.

I asked why he reached out. He said that capabilities were part of it, but he said that my reputation won him over.

There’s an old saying about marketing which reveals, “people decide using emotion, and then justify their decisions with the facts.” And that’s been proven by cognitive neuroscience research — emotional bias strongly guides decision making.

So why does that matter to you?

I was a successful salesperson for a few years, and worked around other successful salespeople, and noticed that successful salespeople were often likeable people.

Do any of you buy from brands you dislike? Unless you’re forced to, I doubt it.

Reputation is the foundation of your business. That’s the insight behind sites like Yelp or Angie’s List — good reputation streamlines opportunity — and bad reputation throws up obstacles to it.

That’s going to be true for your business, too. If, for whatever reason, your prospects dislike your reputation, they won’t hire you.

I don’t have a strong sense of my reputation, and I’m sure there are pluses and minuses to it. I’m certainly not perfect — I think of myself as more-or-less a typical marketer who values his clients and wants to do good work.

Your reputation isn’t completely under your control. But some fundamental behaviors will set the stage for a strong reputation. Here are a few:

  1. Exceed expectations.
  2. Build your messages on opportunity, not difficulty.
  3. Acquire clients you care about.
  4. Stay connected.
  5. Ask your clients for help.

I’m going to spend the next five blog posts talking about these in detail. I hope you’ll find real value in this series — and I welcome your thoughts as it emerges.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: July 30, 2012

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