Give the Gift of Time
None of us have the time we’d like to accomplish what we need to get done. Time is a precious commodity—both in the business and personal sense. With more time, we can get more sales, make more money, spend more time with family and friends, and invest in things we enjoy.
While we show respect to people in a number of obvious ways, time is one that is often overlooked. Sure, if someone offers to meet with you for an hour to look at the solutions you provide, that’s huge and you will thank them for their time directly, possibly followed up with a thank you message.
We all have time commitments we make with others—phone calls, meetings—or simply when we promise we’ll have something to another person, such as information. How well we deliver is part of building trust with others. Also, consider what they are exposed to—the company they’re with could have a culture that impacts their perception of what you do. Erring on the side of delivering early versus just being on time is usually a safe bet.
At one point, I worked for a company where you were expected to be early for meetings with outside customers or prospects, but if you were simply meeting with peers, it was perfectly fine to show up five or 10 minutes late, almost assumed (if you were late, it showed that you were busy—there was a stigma to being on time). When joining my present company, the culture was and is quite different—being on time is seen as being slightly late.
How can you gift your precious time to your customers and colleagues, and build your personal brand in the process?
Be ready when they are
A friend recently shared, “If I’m late to a meeting, it shows the others that I feel my time is more important than theirs is.” Things happen—a phone call with a customer can go long, or a crisis can derail your day. An apology provides dividends, as long as it’s the exception and not habit.
Looking over someone’s head constantly in a meeting telegraphs that you’re waiting for someone more interesting or more important. Have a phone call scheduled during the lunch hour? Wait to eat that sandwich or slurp that soup. Today’s phones pick up every tiny noise—the sound of you happily enjoying your lunch sounds much less appetizing on the other end of the line.
Show they are a priority
If you have some windshield time to make phone calls, it is fine to let close acquaintances know that a certain time is convenient for you because you’ll be in the car. Never tell a customer this. While they likely try to schedule their calls for similar down time, being asked to adhere to a time because it’s convenient for you shows that they’re only good enough for time remnants. And if you can’t effectively use your hands-free device and focus on the road, please don’t try to multitask while behind the wheel of a half-ton machine of destruction.
Let’s have a terrific 2015!