There are a few things that let me know that spring is officially here: sun shining, birds chirping, kids playing in the park, and an incessant barrage of telemarketing calls from companies offering to help me with my landscaping and duct cleaning.  Ahhhhh, spring!

One of the many companies that have contacted me over the past week or so has stood out from the rest, and it had nothing to do with the communication skills of their telemarketer, their price points, or their service quality.  It had everything to do with one principle that made me take notice: “If we’re not there when we say we’ll be there, we’ll do the job for free. We would never waste your time while expecting you to pay for ours.”

Now, I’ve dealt with my fair share of landscape and construction companies, and in an industry where time and energy is everything, their willingness to risk that spoke volumes for their credibility, and made me listen to everything else they had to say.

So, I started researching other companies who have risked something significant in order to build a credible name, and I learned something quite significant.  Of course, I know that credibility, especially in a service business, is paramount to success in whatever industry you’re in, but my focus has always been on providing quality service, marketing that quality service, and expecting clients and customers to do their part as well by spreading the word and building my brand. On the other hand, some of the biggest names in business have built their own credibility not only by providing a quality service or product, but by putting themselves at risk to make sure that their superior quality was immediately understood. was one of the first online retailers to allow their visitors to write negative reviews on their own site, essentially giving up power and control, and simultaneously lending immediate credibility to any positive reviews written on the site.

And the most dramatic example I found?  The president of an identity-theft protection program who ran ads with his full name and social security number, to prove his own personal confidence in the service his company was offering.  Wild!  But, also so effective in building consumer confidence in what you’re doing before they’ve even tried it.

Apparently, the more you put at risk, the more credibility you build for your brand.  I’m not sure how to translate this message into something that works for me just yet, but I certainly intend to.  There’s nothing more powerful in business than a brand that people believe in.


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