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Your Reputation is Everything, Here is How To Build and Maintain It

Maintaining your reputation

Darrah Brustein, the founder of Network Under 40, posed an intriguing question to her readers in a Forbes post a few years ago: What form of currency never fluctuates with the market?

The answer? Your reputation.

Brustein went on to explain that your reputation is the most powerful leverage you have in business—and in life, generally. Your reputation is everything. It helps you gain credibility, instill trust in others, and catapult you to the top of the list for great opportunities. As Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”

With so much riding on your reputation, it’s worth the effort to build and maintain it. Here are five tips to ensure that your reputation is working for you, rather than against you. 

1. Do what you say you’ll do. 

According to Brustein, doing what you say you’ll do is a surefire way to maintain your reputation. As Brustein explains,

It sounds so darn simple, but think about it: How many times did you request that your banker send you something, that your assistant pick something up, or that your vendor call you back, to no avail?

With streams of emails and never-ending pings coming your way, it can seem impossible to always do what you say you’ll do. Fortunately, in Affinity, you have an intelligent assistant that will help safeguard—and build—your reputation.  Affinity automatically captures all your communication data and allows you to easily track relationships. It will even alert you with a reminder if you forget to reply back to an important email. 

Henry Ford once said, "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.”. Affinity helps you build a reputation on what you did—staying on top of your communication.

2. Say thank you more often. 

Writing in Forbes, AJ Agrawal—the founder of Verma Media, a marketing agency that focuses on emerging tech—explained that, when it comes to your reputation, some of the simplest things make the biggest difference. One of these simple things is saying “thank you.” He explains: 

Some of the simplest things make the biggest difference. Sending personal thank you notes to customers or clients can have a significant impact on how they feel about you. They will also more than likely share with others that you went out of your way to thank them for their business.

Don’t underestimate the value of saying “thanks.” 

3. Don’t let your relationships go cold.  

Days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years. Before you know it, a critical person in your network has gone cold and, at best, your reputation in their eyes has stagnated. 

Your reputation depends on your ability to keep the important people in your network fresh. This is tough! Decades ago, psychologist Robin Dunbar determined that the human brain is capable of maintaining about 150 relationships. Fortunately, Affinity lets you hack your way to more efficient and effective relationship management. 

With Affinity’s smart triggers, you can ensure that you stay on top of your most important relationships and are notified if you have not been in contact in a certain period of time, or if you need to follow up with someone who hasn’t emailed you back. You can set up smart triggers for a specific list of important individuals and even assign responsibility for follow-ups to a teammate. Since Affinity connects with your email and calendar data, it always knows if a relationship is going cold. 

4. Go out of your way to help others.  

In his book "Give and Take", Adam Grant described three groups of people: givers, takers, and matchers. According to Grant’s research, givers tend to be most successful. Put simply, by putting others' interests first, they gain high levels of trust and respect—and a top-notch reputation.

According to Brustein, one of the most effective ways to build your reputation is to “go out of your way to help others reach their goals.” She explains,

Being reputable goes beyond a concern for yourself and your own advancement. Foster a mindset of helping other people. Is your friend’s child in college and looking to get some insights into the business world? Offer to spend some time speaking with him/her to offer guidance and answer questions. Do you know someone in sales who is looking for a deal? Ask them if you can help by making the right introduction. Does one of your co-workers need to leave 30 minutes early for a family commitment? Offer to cover for them. 

You might not always know how to help others. That’s okay! When you’re at a loss, Cha Tekeli, a New York-based executive coach, recommends asking a simple question:  "What can I do to help?" She adds: 

It sounds simple enough, but if you mean it, it gives you the real opportunity to collaborate with people, offer your skills and/or thoughts, or just be the person who listens. People who give their time and attention to other people are extraordinarily valued. Why? Because no one seems to have enough of either. Acknowledge/care for others as much as yourself. 

5. Go a step beyond what is expected.

People remember when someone goes the extra mile. In many ways, boosting your reputation is about making a memorable statement. Going a step beyond the status quo is a great way to do this. Brustein explains how this may play out:  

Did someone ask for a reference from you? Offer three. Did you say you’d save them 10 percent? Save them 15. Did you say you’d follow up in 24 hours? Follow up in 12. If you had a great meeting, send a hand-written thank-you note. These small gestures go a long way and will make you stand out.

Rupert Murdoch once said, "our reputation is more important than the last hundred million dollars.” Following this argument, there’s no better investment than your reputation. Fortunately, boosting your reputation isn’t rocket science. But it does require a daily effort. With technology like Affinity by your side, you can build and maintain a reputation that will catapult you to new heights.