In June 2016, the UK made political history when 51.9% of the population voted to leave the EU.

As shock radiated across the UK, the nation was temporarily spilt in two — half of the country celebrated their triumph while the other half recovered from their loss. The split however, didn’t last long.

The day after the results were announced, former leader of the UKIP party and prominent Leave campaigner, Nigel Farage, disappointed a vast amount of supporters. When questioned on the Leave campaign’s promise to transfer the £350 million paid into the EU per week over to the NHS, he flatly denied it.

As time passed, the Leave campaign continued to deny and retract more previously promoted promises and statements, such as dramatically reducing immigration rates and the imminent threat of Turkey joining the EU. As a result, many who previously stood by the decision to leave began to feel differently. In fact, according to The Independent, 7% of people who voted to leave now regret their choice, calling it “Bregret”.

So, what can your firm learn from the Leave campaign?

Well, part of running a successful business is building and maintaining a reputation. Your reputation is what helps you progress, keeps your clients confident and demonstrates your firm’s quality.

The Leave campaign had built a reputation on offering the UK a better life. However, having gone back on so many promises after the vote, their once competitive and trustworthy campaign suddenly became unreliable.

The problem with ruining an initially great reputation, even after winning a campaign or — in your firm’s case — acquiring new business, is the aftermath that can follow. For instance, if you go against what you’ve previously promised or stated, you’re putting yourself in an awkward position for negotiations and general decision making processes with the client in the future. They will be less inclined to agree or trust you if you’ve gone back on what you’ve previously said, and are likely going to want a lot of information before agreeing to anything.

So, when your firm wins a client, the time to earn their trust and build up a strong reputation doesn’t stop once they’ve signed the contract. Just like the Leave voters, your client would have taken a chance when they hired you and you must endeavour to prove them right or risk losing their support entirely.

Going back on your word, displays a lack of continuity and authority. In order to uphold your reputation, it’s important to ensure that you deliver on your contract and build on the foundational trust that was established before they signed.

If you continue to perform as promised, the client relationship will grow and is much more likely to develop into something longterm. It could even result in word of mouth recommendations, opening up your firm to other clients who are in need of the same services.

To avoid the same backlash the Leave campaign has experienced, remember these three simple rules when meeting with, and on-boarding, new clients:

  • Under-promise and over-deliver
  • Communicate with integrity, and
  • Prepare to hold yourself accountable 

Clients, like voters, expect openness and honesty, any failure to demonstrate this could not only hurt your business in the short term, but also in the future.

If you want to offer your clients more than your competitors and keep them on a more permanent retainer, have a look at our guide on ‘building authority in the accounting and finance industry’ or get in touch and a member of our senior team will be happy to have a chat.

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