Tarnish on Your Personal Branding Silver

Candlestick_2 Do you ever oversell a service or product? You know- promise more than can really be delivered.  Or promise it can be done or accomplished in an unrealistic time just to get the sale or client. Some people have a destructive habit of doing just that.

In our capitalistic society we see and hear it happening all of the time.  New.  Improved. Good for you.  Enriched.  You gotta have this to be cool.  Organic.  Green.  It can be delivered/ installed/ renovated by the end of next week.  I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die… Oh, but I forgot to tell you that my fingers are crossed too…. so what I just oversold and said doesn’t really count.

And what’s the harm?  Doesn’t everyone oversell?

From a personal branding perspective, overselling can be the nail in your coffin.  If you constantly oversell your goods, services, or yourself and make promises that you cannot deliver on, then you are creating a string of negative interactions that will eventually bite you.  People will hear, word of mouth, that you do not operate with integrity.  And who wants to hire a service professional, a contractor, a CPA, an attorney, a financial planner or have an employee on board who does not keep their word.  The answer is no one.

One of my executive consulting clients is in the middle of releasing her formerly trusted financial planner for overselling.  More accurately, he overstated (actually he lied) about the performance of investments, the cost of products that she purchased, and the cost of his services.  We all know what his motivation was for doing it.  He wanted to land a few big fish to showcase as he oversold to the next poor sucker he was prospecting.  The tough thing to understand about this situation, and others who oversell or overstate, is how they would think that it would not catch up with them? And, now in the wake of a complaint with the state insurance commissioner, how this financial planner thinks that his breech of trust and lack of integrity won’t tarnish the silver of his personal brand

The good news is that we can all learn from the mistakes of others. Before you promise anything to anyone, be sure that you can make it happen.  Most people would like to hear a really honest "I am sorry but I cannot guarantee that" instead of "Sure we can!" only to find out that surely they can’t. Being a coveted employee, member of an organization or a successful business person that others will make referrals to depends on your follow up, follow through, right action, right intention and integrity

Protect your personal brand and reputation at all costs.  It will pay huge dividends in a lot of ways. 

Photo on Flickr by Objects

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