reputation

Reps and Reputations

My message today is a simple one; In the Sales arena, once you’ve lost your good reputation, you’ve pretty much lost it all. And a bad reputation, as I know your mother told you, is extremely difficult to repair. Whether your bad rap is as minor as being known to take a long time to return calls, or as major as being known far and wide for having very sketchy business ethics, the effect is the same. People simply don’t feel good about you. And that ‘not good’ feeling will generalize itself to include not feeling good about your product and your company.
Perhaps you fancy yourself a hot-shot, and you’re reading this with right now with images of the “aw shucks” type of patsy in your mind. Do not mistake having a good reputation with having a squeaky clean image- these are not synonymous. You can be smooth, savvy, hip, and into ‘creative deals’, while still being someone that people trust. This is where a lot of green salespeople make a mistake.

The good news about a good reputation:

  • You will expend less time and energy per dollar earned than someone with a bad reputation because you will benefit from repeat customers.
  • You will expend less time and energy per dollar earned than someone with a bad reputation because you will benefit from referrals.
  • The perception of your reputation will extend to your company- remember that ‘rep’ is actually short for ‘representative’? You very well may be the only contact your client has with your company…to them you are the company. The benefits to you are that your clients are more likely to try new products from your company without you having to sell too hard, your clients will speak well of you to their clients, your clients will give you referrals, and they will continue to use your product for longer than if they had a creepy feeling about you.
  • You will be entrusted with larger deals. The bigger the number after the dollar sign, the more that both the client and vendor want someone in there who both sides trust to do the right thing.

So my advice to you is to strive to be the guy or girl who your peers go to when they have an ethical question but don’t want to ask the question in a formal arena (their boss, duh.) Don’t ever think that being slick, quick and hip are mutually exclusive from being a real stand-up guy- ‘cool’ and ‘honest’ do mix well.