Monday, February 11, 2013

The Power of a Good Name

Guest post by Samuel G. Njenga

On that Friday evening, I received this call from this guy who was talking non-stop like a radio with new batteries. From the few minutes we talked with Kamau, I knew he had the gift of the gab. I deduced that he was a man of cloth. Kamau insisted that I must sell him a plot wherever I am having one. But I was curious to know why he was so sure he shall buy from me irrespective of the location as long as the price was in his range. That is when the brother told me that he was the right hand man to a pastor based somewhere off Thika road. It was the pastor who had referred him to me. In fact the pastor announced to the congregation that there are some nice dudes selling land off the bypass who had sold some plot to him. I could not remember selling any plot to a pastor, or maybe I did but he never disclosed that. The culmination of the marketing by the pastor was giving my cell phone number to the faithfuls and advising them they can talk to me if they need some honest business. To make the long story short we agreed with Kamau to meet the day after and I took him round on a viewing mission of the various properties on sale whereupon he later bought one. He is still my good friend after I realized how highly he rated me. The word of these men of cloth is taken as the gospel truth and obviously I must have made a few sales out of the marketing the pastor did on my behalf.

This was the day that I realized I was sitting on a gold mine cum time bomb depending on how I handled myself. Obviously with establishing a small name and making sales from references was key to reaching higher levels of business growth mimicking climbing a mountain slowly but surely. On the contrary, doing anything that would spoil the small good name would result in a downfall from atop the mountain like that of the rolling stone on a hill that the mzungu man advises that gathers no moss. That day it dawned on me and I communicated to my partner the potential we were sitting on and the need to maintain our principles of honesty and straight forwardness. After all we had the opportunity to cut a niche in real estate based on the said principles.

There is nothing as powerful as a spoken word. It is a double edged sword. Solomon, the wise one of the Bible in Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. What your customers say about you and quite importantly what you also say about yourself is really powerful.

That brings me to the big question. As an individual or even as a business that you own, what are you known for? What do they say when you can’t hear them; after all that is most likely the truth about you unless they are malicious. Like that guy who has saved the number of his boss as ‘shetani’ only for the boss to discover that under unavoidable circumstances. At your work place, what stands out for you? How do you brand yourself? How would you rate yourself if you considered the points below:

1.             Are you passionate about what you do? I will tell you am really passionate about my real estate business…I not only invest time and money on it, but my thoughts too. If it means retreating to Kilaguni to strategize…so be it…the cost is rather small compared to what am eyeing. Martin Luther said once something to the effect that if you are a sweeper sweep to the glory of God.

2.             Do you have a reputation for keeping time for meetings and appointments? Until you have a reputation for respect for time you will not project yourself as a powerful brand.

3.             Do you deliver reliable and extra ordinary service? Most of the time, the little small things that you can do leave a lasting impression on the people you interact with.

4.             Someone once said this “To create a brand of yourself you must stop thinking employment/employee and begin to see yourself as an independent contractor irrespective of whether you are a cleaner, a CEO, a teacher or a middle executive” You see, when employed you are riding on someone else’s brand…

5.             Powerlessness is a state of mind…Think of Wangari Mathai, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King who would have coiled back with the assumption of being powerless. But deep conviction inside them translated to power and authority that made them do things that will be forever etched in history books…For sure all of us have the power to effect change in small and big ways.

6.             Do you continually learn and upgrade your skill in all facets of life. I meet all the time people who are willing to be financially independent but they are not doing much about it. How will you get there if you even lack the basic knowledge of dealing with and making money? After all, it is never rocket science but simple basic proven and tested ways that work.

Is your name good? Work on you brand…

Next post we shall talk about customer profiling of course relating to my line of business but definitely applicable to most businesses.

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