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Networking 101 – The Importance of Integrity and Credibility

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It’s all about integrity and credibility.

Imagine if you will, that you have been running around like a maniac trying to find someone to provide you with a service, let’s call it a handyman (for the purpose of this exercise). Now I am sure that we have all had the same sort of experience here, and if anyone reading this is a handyman and does not fit into this category, I apologise in advance.

So you are hunting high and low for a handyman as there are several “little jobs” around the house that require a tad more expertise than you currently have. You find a flyer in your post box, or someone leaves a flyer on your windscreen, advertising their services as a handyman and you rush home to phone and make an appointment. You get an answering machine, you leave a message and . . . nothing! No one phones you back. Or, you get hold of the handyman and he promises to come and have a look, tomorrow, at what needs doing and give you a quote, and you stay at home the whole day waiting for him and . . he doesn’t pitch. Or, he comes round the following day, has a look at everything that need to be done and promises to send you a quote and . . . you never receive one. Sound familiar!

So when you are bemoaning the fact to anyone who will listen, somebody suddenly says, “hey, I’ve got a handyman type person who will come and assist you, his name is Joe Soap and his number is ……”, you are really excited. You see Joe Soap has come recommended. Now that is still only 50% of your problem resolved, because Joe Soap, could very well go the same route as the chaps referred to above, or he could actually be a real business person who actually wants the work.

Herein lies the problem.

First of all if Joe Soap, actually is a real business person, who wants and desires his business to be successful, he will of course pitch up, ascertain what needs to be done, give you a quote and then actually arrive to do the work and finally, he will perform the service in a professional manner. This means now, that you will refer him to all of your friends and colleagues and anyone else who requires anything done around the house or the office. His business will grow and he will flourish. You will become regarded as someone who ‘knows’ people and your credibility will become legendary and your business will flourish. Everyone is happy.

But what if . . . and here comes the crunch, what if after delivering you the wonderful service, Joe Soap, suddenly becomes like the rest of the handymen out there and becomes sloppy, doesn’t phone people back, doesn’t pitch up etc. Well not only will Joe Soap’s business die, like the rest of the handymen out there, but also your credibility will be affected – remember you have recommended him.

The moral of this story should now be obvious. If you want people to recommend you, not only is your credibility at stake, but you are putting theirs at risk as well if you do not deliver or behave in a professional manner.

Do not give people’s contact details out unless you have received their permission to do so! Not only will they not trust you again but in all likelihood they will not be happy to assist whomever you have given the details to, thus resulting in two people being pretty disgruntled with you.

If you are on the receiving end of getting someone’s contact details as a referral. Treat those details with respect – don’t be spamming them! That’s just rude! If you have received those details, it was for a specific reason, use them for that specific reason and not only will you gain the service/product/assistance that you were looking for, but you will also gain a valuable contact.

Treat other people’s contact details, with the same dignity and respect that you would want other people to treat yours. I am sure you wouldn’t like to see your name and address and contact details sprawled all over the toilet door, so don’t do that with anyone else’s details.

The Business world in South Africa is a smaller place than you think, people talk, reputations are built up over time, but destroyed in seconds. Always, operate with Integrity and Credibility.

 

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