Most of us work hard at build our business brand. The funny thing is that “other” things we do could undo what we have worked hard to build. Business branding is not just about your logo, colors, and your marketing strategy. It also has to do with how you conduct yourself, you know the “etiquette” factor.
My friend, Kristine Putt who’s a Business Branding and Design Consultant, wanted to share some thoughts about branding that go beyond selecting the wrong colors or logo – those are easy fixes. She wanted to discuss the not so easy fixes, things we need to get right the first time particularly making and keeping appointments.
Appointments are the the First Step to a Successful Business
Has this ever happened to you?
You agree to meet a Client or prospect for coffee to discuss a possible working relationship. No text, phone or email, and thirty minutes into your wait you realize you’ve probably been stood up. The worst of it is, you lost the opportunity to bid on a larger project because this commitment was already on your calendar.
Now we’re not just talking about a mere inconvenience. Now we’re talking about money lost.
Shoe ever been on the other foot?
I hope not. It saddens me to even think I had to write about this topic. But apparently, failing to keep scheduled appointments seems to be a growing epidemic among entrepreneurs. If you’ve ever been guilty of failing to miss an appointment, I hope this article provides you with some valuable food for thought:
There are times when failing to show up to a scheduled appointment may be considered acceptable. For instance, a medical emergency or a car accident might prevent someone from attending without being able to provide proper notice.
But barring unforeseen emergencies, breaking an appointment – without 24 hours notice – is inconsiderate and unprofessional. Worse, this behavior can permanently damage your brand’s credibility.
Networking and doing business in today’s digital age does not necessarily mean meeting in person. Many social media connections are “authenticated” via telephone or Skype. But those appointments are just as valuable.
When you agree to spend time with someone – be it in person, on the telephone, or via Skype – they have committed to reserving enough available time to serve you. This impacts the amount of time they can allocate to other Clients or projects. So when you “blow off” a scheduled session, your actions do not only affect the person you agreed to meet; they impact everyone else on that person’s calendar. Most importantly, your actions permanently and negatively impact your very own brand.
3 Ways That Failing To Honor Scheduled Appointments Harms Your Brand
1. It tells the person you agreed to meet that you do not value their time.
You are sending the message that you do not have any regard for someone other than yourself. Everyone’s time is valuable. When you consider that the person you agreed to meet with would otherwise be doing something else – quite possibly more lucrative – you begin to realize that you have drained that connection of valuable time, money and energy. Put yourself in their shoes: How would it feel, sitting in a coffee shop for an hour realizing you’ve been stood up?
2. It halts your business development, quickly and abruptly.
A small business benefits through the exchange of quality caliber connections (key word here is “quality,” not quantity). When you choose to forfeit an appointment, you are sending the message that you are not reliable, are not organized, cannot be trusted and thereby decreases your chance for quality lead referrals. Do not assume the person you agreed to meet holds not value for you. Odds are, they have a strong database of quality connections that you could have greatly benefited from.
3. It communicates that your brand has no ethics.
Your business brand is only as ethical as the person behind the brand. If you take your business seriously, it stands to reason you would like others to take it seriously. But business does not do business with business; people do business with people. And people want to do business with other people whose values are in line with their own. How you personally treat others is often a strong indicator of how your brand will treat its customers.
As a brand designer, I always urge small business brand owners to consider taking a more of vested interest in how their brand is projecting outwardly. Remember,
You are your brand. You are your brand’s mascot. You are your brand’s voice.
If you wish for your business brand to be perceived as trustworthy, you need conduct yourself in a trustworthy manner. If you would like your business brand to be taken seriously, you need to treat others with dignity. If you want your business brand to be valued, you must value and respect the time of others.