Make sure that you get up early. This may sound very simple so let’s dig a little deeper into it. The first rule of customer relationships is ‘show up on time!’ There is nothing more stressful than running late for a meeting with a customer, being stuck in traffic or knowing that the public transport is running late. A few months ago I took a delegation of sponsors to visit a group who wanted their support (and money). When we arrived on time our host from the community was running late. After some time he arrived panting and not able to speak for five minutes until he had recovered his breath. The impression the potential sponsors took away with them was not the best one, and they did not have enough time with the host for him to fully convince them of the value of sponsoring his group.
Making good impressions
When I was growing up my mother needed me to go with her to the bank and I was delaying her. She said something I will never forget: “If you are late, people will be so irritated they won’t care how terrific you are!” This lesson has been one of the most valuable ones I’ve ever learnt, and to this day I focus on being early. If you want to succeed you need to be earlier than your competitors. Earlier up in the morning; early for appointments; early proposal and tender deadlines. Customers appreciate knowing that they can rely on you and your business to make deadlines, so that they in turn can deliver on time.
Being early has turned out to be a valuable habit, as I have met some terrific people. A few weeks ago I presented at a conference, and arrived well before the time to make sure that my presentation was in order and all the technology was working. As I had time to spare before the proceedings started, I was able to introduce myself to the Premier of the province and engage in a meaningful conversation before the crowd arrived.
I am prepared to take a sporting bet that people who are in the habit of being early are more in charge of their lives, more confident, calmer and successful in business. If you want to succeed in business too, you need to be better that the competition, more dependable, consistent and reliable. And the best place to start this journey? By getting up early earlier than the competition!