Someone recently asked me what they should do to develop a “peer level” relationship with their clients because they felt they weren’t getting the respect they deserved. That same person forgot to show up for a business call we had scheduled for the following week.
Hmm, is it a coincidence that they’re not getting the respect that they desire? Not likely. There’s a saying in business that basically states that you can usually tell how successful a person is by whether or not they keep their agreements. In business and in your personal life, keeping your agreements is one of the top ways to show respect for another person. And let’s be honest, who wants to have a “peer level” relationship with someone they believe doesn’t respect them?
Obviously, you would never even think of being anything less than a true professional...but just in case you know someone who might need a gentle reminder, here’s a few tips for keeping agreements that you are welcome to share.
Tip 1. Show Up. Whether it’s a meeting with a partner, client, employee or friend, it’s essential that you are consistent in being where you said you would be, when you said you’d be there. If you’re going to be late or not make it at all, call well in advance...better yet, do everything in your power to be there on time. Five minutes late is enough time for your employee, partner or client to doubt your commitment to the relationship and ultimately doubt your credibility and your professionalism. This is not the kind of thinking that will help solidify business (or personal) relationships.
Tip 2. Make the call. I bet you can think back to at least one time you were expecting a call that was important to you (waiting to hear from a potential client, a job offer, the results of a test, a potential love interest) only to be kept waiting...and waiting...long after the promised day and time passed. It’s frustrating at the very least. Yet, far too often so called “professionals” will avoid calling when they are uncomfortable with the subject or simply overcommitted. Just take a deep breath, start dialing, and keep your agreement.
Tip 3. Deliver on your promise. Whether you promised to finish a report, give an employee their performance appraisal, or bring the sports equipment to the game, someone is counting on you. True professionals and those truly successful in life realize that they are only as good as their word. You seldom get an opportunity to reclaim the trust that can be broken by failing to follow through on a commitment. If you gave your word, keep it...you never know who might be counting on you.
When I first started my career, someone gave me a memo pad that said at the top “if they really want the project completed, they’ll ask twice”. At the time I though it was kind of funny. Now I realize that if I really want to be successful, once is all it should take.
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