Bring Your “A” Game, Part 1

When you were in school, everything you did was scored according to a letter grade system.  For most (with the exception of perfectionists and kids with scary parents), getting less than an “A” was not the end of the world.  Actually, anything short of an “F” still got you by.  Getting 65% on a final exam – though tragic – didn’t really worry you because you knew you’d still technically pass.

NEWS FLASH: School’s out!

In the working world, especially in a client-based professional environment, if you don’t bring your “A” game, consider yourself “held back.”  There’s nothing in between.

Case-in-point: I was recently in a working relationship with a vendor in whom I had invested a big chunk of my time and energy (not to mention, money!) and whose services should have played a major role in my 2010 business plan.  The key words here are “should have” because they certainly didn’t deliver like they said they would.  They missed their self-appointed deadlines, they did not communicate effectively, they came up with numerous excuses, and their end product was so shockingly below average, I nearly had convulsions.

Needless to say, I will never do business with that vendor again. But, worse than losing my business is the fact that they have also lost the potential business that my referrals would have acquired for them, had they brought their “A” game.

Ever heard of “Opportunity Cost” (flashback to Economics 101)?  For those of you who found Econ to be the perfect nap time,  here’s a refresher: According to Wikipedia, “Opportunity cost is the next-best choice available to someone who has picked between several mutually exclusive choices.”  For example (from Wikipedia), A person who has $15 can either buy a CD or a shirt. If he buys the shirt the opportunity cost is the CD and if he buys the CD the opportunity cost is the shirt.

So, the opportunity cost of choosing to NOT bring your “A” Game to a business relationship is a satisfied client.  Without satisfied clients, you won’t be referred to other clients.  Without clients…well, let’s just say unless you’re in the business of twiddling your thumbs, you won’t have a business much longer.

So, what can you do to make sure that clients are satisfied?  Remember how your parents taught you, “treat others how you want to be treated,” well, good business works along the same lines.  Think about it for a while and it should be common sense. Stay tuned for Part 2 for tips to ensure your “A” game shines through.

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