Always remember how important having a good reputation is. Your professional reputation is all you have when you run a business, and once you do something that ruins it, it stays with you forever.
At the end of the day, reputation is everything.
For my PR agency, my biggest source of new business referrals and most high-priced retainers are not coming from Google or any other marketing tactic. It’s all coming from referrals given by people who have worked with us or know we have a good reputation.
I cannot stress this enough! Maintaining that good reputation is one of the most important aspects of growing your business.
You might be shocked to hear this, but one of the biggest complaints that I hear from journalists or potential clients is that they’ve worked with agencies or PR professionals who haven’t followed through on their promises. They overpromise and underdeliver, and just generally don’t keep their word.
This is a big challenge for the PR industry as a whole, because you have to overcome this opinion that your potential clients might have — that you possibly won’t keep your word.
But it also makes it kind of simple. All you have to do to rise to the top is simply do what you say you’re going to do. If you make a promise, follow through on it.
It really is so simple, and yet so many PR professionals fail to do this. Ultimately, it leaves us with a huge opportunity to be able to rise to the top simply by delivering on our promises.
This leads me into my next tip, though...
Rising to the top is simple when all you have to do is deliver on your promises...but what if you actually can’t? This is why it is so important to never ever overpromise or underdeliver.
I have literally told potential clients “if someone is telling you that they can get you X, Y, and Z, they’re overpromising to get your business and they’re not going to live up to those promises.” Instead of using that tactic, I always come to my clients with honesty about what they can expect.
And then it’s up to them as to whether they want to move forward with us. Do they want to live in reality or get bamboozled by someone who is never going to give them what they’ve promised?
This may seem like a scary thing to do, but actually 90% of the time, these potential clients end up working with my agency because they actually appreciate our honesty. We may not have painted an amazing pie-in-the-sky picture for them upfront, but at least we’re being truthful.
Ultimately, my goal with my clients is to always over-deliver if I can. During the process where they’re deciding whether or not to work with my agency, my goal is to be honest, which might involve a bit of a reality check. But then once they do start working with me, I hope to actually be able to over-deliver and give them more than what I promised.
This actually is a great strategy for building a good reputation because giving people more than what they were expecting always leaves them feeling amazing, whereas if you over-promised and then under-delivered, it’s going to leave them with a bad taste in their mouth.
Simply having and maintaining the good reputation of my PR agency has allowed us to consistently bring in tons of new business.
I actually had a client that I worked with for years who left his company, went to a different company, and brought us in on three accounts. He left that company and went to another one, and now we’re working with him there. He bounces all around these different companies but he always takes us with him because we have a great reputation and he can always bring us in and know that we’re going to deliver on what he’s promised to his bosses.
Even just having a good reputation with one person who's very connected in your industry can be invaluable. With this one person I’ve worked with, I’m now going to be managing 21 different accounts that he’s brought us. He’s been able to open the doors for us to huge opportunities, and it’s all because I’ve always guarded my agency’s reputation like it’s a pot of gold — because it is!
Something that I pride myself on is that if there's ever an opportunity to take the blame for something and make it right, I always do that.
Even if the client's wrong, or even if it was a team member of mine that messed up, I always, always take responsibility and make it right.
On the flip side, if there's ever an opportunity to share credit with someone else, I always do that as well.
It’s amazing how all of these small, little things add up. Really, all you have to do is always underpromise, overdeliver, and take ownership...and you will be able to maintain a good reputation in your industry that will lead to amazing opportunities and clients.
This is all pretty basic stuff, but it’s so important. Do all of these things and you will be seen as a reliable person. You will be seen as somebody who’s a “go-to” because you always keep your word.
Within my Agency Accelerator program, I preach a lot about the importance of having a good reputation. We talk about it a lot, especially when we cover sales calls, how to share without over-promising, and how to still be able to win clients over even if you’re not coming into the project guns blazing.
Join the waitlist for the Agency Accelerator program here: www.jenerationacademy.com/agency