Ever wonder why you didn’t get the sale when your presentation went off without a hitch? You nailed it! You gave them the features and how they could benefit from them, save them oodles of money and there were smiles all around. The only drawback was that you were 7 minutes late because of an accident on the highway, but they understood that… or did they?
Being on time tells clients, fellow employees and even friends that you care enough about them to be there when you say you are going to. Sure, there are a multitude of reasons (AKA excuses) why you were held up, but the bottom line is you were late. There are no valid reasons for being late. If you need to leave 15 minutes or half an hour earlier to make up for unknowns, then you do that. Even if you have to sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes so you’re not too early, it is worth it. If your flying and you have a mid-morning meeting, you’d be a fool to try and catch an early flight that day. Leave the day before.
Here is what being on time tells your customer:
- You’re punctual. That translates into someone who is organized, not last minute, has probably reviewed their presentation 10 times and has it down to a tee. The attendee will get something out of it.
- You’re trustworthy. People who can be on time can be trusted for other things as well. This may not always be the case, but more times than not, it is.
- You’re respected. Maybe they are not ready for you, but they respect the fact that you live up to your word. You’ve shown yourself to be a human being of your word.
- You’re respectful. You respect the fact that they are on a schedule as well. You are there on time to start on time and you only use up the time you agreed upon. If it goes longer, it should be at their behest.
- You’re responsible. Anyone who lives by their word is a responsible person. Combined with trust, they’ll know they will be able to rely on you if something goes sideways after the sale. Earning the sale is only the beginning, getting repeat business and referrals is the proof you’ve succeeded.
In a business where trust in the entrepreneur is the ultimate goal, on time arrival is the first trait of relationship building. If I can’t trust you to arrive when you say you will, how can I trust you’ll follow through on other things after the sale? And it’s not just the first meeting that requires promptness, it’s every time. If you’re late for the next meeting, you’re slacking off now that you have my attention. If you don’t have a signed contract, you’re now slipping on the priority list. After the contract signing, stay true. You’re building your referral for the next opportunity.
Leading Edge Business Strategies, LLC is a consulting firm for small businesses. Paul Beaudette is the President and has over 30 years of successful business experience managing companies to sustainable profits and leading companies to productivity and growth.