We all are looking for that secret ingredient that turns a typical company, idea, or product into a raving success. What if I told you that it may have less to do with what you sell but how you sell it? The exact same product may sit on the shelves of a dozen stores at comparable prices. Choosing who to buy from then comes down to other, less tangible factors. This is where a company’s reputation – and the trust its’ customers have in it – makes all the difference.
If you are a Marine, you are already familiar with the concept of P.W.Y.E or Protect What You’ve Earned. Simply put, P.W.Y.E is the mindset commitment to honor and safeguard one’s reputation and achievements by choosing sound behaviors and actions which best serve their interest and investments in excellence.
I have always admired our service men and women because they are so true to this commitment of protecting what they’ve earned. They put in consistent, active effort to uphold the best version of themselves for the world to recognize. It’s a practice that I think translates well into business.
Think of how companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google create a brand that means something to people. These companies paint a picture of what they believe in and how teaming with them can change the world. They build an image worth investing in and then strive every day to uphold the values they promised their supporters.
So, how does this apply to me? We need to protect both our name and our company’s reputation. Most of the business we do, or will do in the coming years, will be done based on our reputation and what we do to protect it. The key to maintaining both our success and reputation is to treat them like verbs rather than nouns. Neither are the sort of thing that can simply be achieved and kept forever. They are active, living states of being which must be nourished and protected in order to thrive.
How we interact with the world is more visible with the ever-growing power of the internet. Customers are researching us and our businesses all the time and you will never know how much business you have lost because of a bad reputation. On the other hand, you may also have people tell you how impressed they are by what they see online. Today, the internet can either be your best ally or your worst enemy, but it all starts with protecting the reputation you have earned.
In an effort to provide some insight on how to earn and protect your reputation, here are two key points that can you can apply to your business. First, you must deliver exceptional service and then provide great products.
Providing exceptional service almost sounds cliché these days. Delivering on that promise; however, is absolutely critical. At Horizon Forest Products, our motto is “The Hardwood Experts” and we demonstrate that by providing exceptional customer service. We strive to always have the best products in stock and the most complete knowledge base available so our customers can rely on us. We value our customer’s time by providing pricing within two hours of requests and by promising on-time delivery every time. We invest our resources in ensuring that our customers are as successful as possible.
Equally as important is our commitment to sell great products. There is a quote that is very true in business: “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory,” – Ben Franklin. This is something we know to be true at Horizon Forest Products. Periodically, our customers tell us that they found a cheaper solution somewhere else and it ended up costing them more because it was an inferior product. I don’t think I have ever heard a customer tell me that they regretted buying something of higher quality, even if they paid a little more for it. The thing to remember in regards to your reputation is that even if you didn’t make the poor-quality product, the customer will remember you sold it to them. A bad experience compounded by the coupling effect of negative reviews on the internet means selling cheaper products will only cheapen your reputation.
Building a strong reputation and protecting it is a daily activity. Giving great service and providing great products are the keys to that reputation. Now, it is your job to protect what you’ve earned and strive for success, every day.
Written by David Williams is Vice President of Horizon Forest Products.