Be Honest – Do You Show Up?
I was having lunch recently with a friend and we were talking about how some individuals, especially in sales, just don’t know how to show up! By that I mean, they come and meet you, give you at times a great presentation, and then, they vanish like last year’s snow!
Showing up for me encompasses some basics that seem to be lost on some people. You can call it old school, but I think a lot of it can still be applied in today’s market, despite all the new technology and fanfare that now surrounds us.
Look the Part – I have carried out thousands of interviews in my life and it never surprises me how some people turn up and how they comport themselves during the interview. For me it starts with the résumé – it seems unbelievable to me that despite all the information available today, many people still send out résumés that just don’t cut it. If you are going to attach a photo, please take the time to get a professional headshot done. Photos of you on vacation, photos that have been cut and where you can still see the shoulder of another person, or a photo where you are eating a pizza just don’t cut it! One day, when I have nothing else to do, I will write a book on the photos people have sent me with their résumés! Unless you are a nuclear scientist, five-page résumés are just too long! The focus also needs to be on achievements rather than vague statements – for example saying you increased sales really says nothing, instead, share the percentage that sales increased under your control. Make sure you also turn off or mute your mobile phone during an interview – a cell phone ringing during an interview does not make a great impression.
Follow Up – I can’t count the number of times that sales people have come to see me to present a product or service, and despite that I was willing to buy, they simply disappeared after the pitch! I was the one who had to follow up! Savvy sales people know that follow up is vital. Even when the prospect does not need your product or service now, keep in touch every now and again, as they may need you some day.
What Happened to Thank You? Again, I can’t count the number of times that people have written to me for information, which I have sent without delay, and then they can’t even be bothered to say thank you! You can call it old school, but I was raised to say thank you when someone gives you something, or does something for you. I would like to believe that good manners will never go out of style. Looking the part, following up, and saying thank you go a long way in building a stellar reputation.
Showing up, as I call it, gets lost on many people, unfortunately. In business, your reputation is everything. Once lost, it can take forever to get it back, and in some cases, it can’t be mended. If you promise to do something – you must do it! Lack of follow through does not foster a sense of trust or a belief in you in other people. Personally, I cut these people lose immediately, as it makes working with them extremely challenging as you have to stay behind them like a guard dog in order to get anything done. This is tiresome and a complete waste of valuable energy and time.
My five cardinal rules for showing up are the following:
- Keep your commitments
- Keep communication clear and focused – don’t promise what you can’t deliver
- Finish what you start
- Be honest and truthful
- Set and maintain high standards
As you can see, it is not rocket science, and yet, these basics go over the head of many people. There is a saying that says you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression and this is so true – so make sure you always start putting your best foot forward!