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MyOnlineToolbox cofounder
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It seems that so many are falling into the trap of lying, mostly unintentional (and perhaps a few do it purposely since they believe their own lies).

I had a water pipe break under my foundation causing me to replace the entire floors of my house, and will have to fix the plumbing along with having kitchen cabinets replaced, some stucco fixed where the whole was punched in the wall, and some other cosmetics.

The physical issue isn’t what concerns me. It is the vast number of people who seem to all feel that lying, yes – lying, seems to be a matter of course to run their business. Maybe it is just a South Florida thing, but it is rampant. I do not think most are doing it intentionally, but it seems to be more the norm, so perhaps this little story may have you think if you are doing it too (by mistake).

I am referring to how we treat one another when it comes to “making promises with time”. Last week I literally had three different tradesmen, one adjuster and one insurance company all say variations when talking to me …. “I’ll get back to later today” or “I’ll get back to you first thing tomorrow” and “we will be at your house first thing in the morning”. Well unfortunately all five were batting .000 when it came to living up to these statements.

Regardless of the reason, since I was promised something and then I had to be the one to follow up, it comes across as a lie (again, perhaps not intentional, and maybe just a white lie, but a lie nonetheless). It comes across that none of the people view my time as respectful as I value their time.

To put it into perspective, I make my SEO Marketing Education customers aware that I will try to get back to them within 2 to 4 days of their emails to me. I usually am able to do well with this in 1 to 3 days, but when I know I can’t, I then send a note to my customer making them aware I am running late. While more than 4 days may seem excessive, sometimes it is just a reality of the week. I run into the same capacity and time constraint issues combined with the unexpected – but I still ensure my clients are updated so they are not just waiting (based on what I said last).

Will anyone else admit to making false (inadvertent) promises about following up or being on time, without necessarily being able to follow up the way you wished? I know replying to this topic may make you seem less professional than you would desire. But I think it more important to realize that many contractors do this so much that it is easy to break the mold. :clap:

My suggestion is to not just say “I’ll get back to you in an hour” if you know you can’t. My suggestion is to also offer more latitude in your promises, such as “I’ll get back to you by noon tomorrow – and if not – I’ll still call to explain why I do not have the answer for you”.

Try to ensure that you build leeway into whatever promise you make rather than just saying something to get someone off the phone but still misleading them on the followup. A little proactive responsiveness can go a long way and stand out above the rest. :thumbsup:
 

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Kind of like telling a girl "I'll call you" after a date. Maybe it's polite, but you may know it's a dead end.

I've done it (try not to). Good intentions, but stuff happens. Shame on me. I used to be excellent at getting back to folks, but the more I came to depend on others (responses, call-back's, scheduling, etc.) the harder it got to maintain these goals. And it's hard to give a courtesy update when you don't have your answers or back-up commitments yet. They expect a new time commitment that you can't yet make.

The "market-based" answer is that this should self-correct itself out of the marketplace. But it doesn't. The reason may be that timely and courteous responses may not translate into worthwhile business. Contractors get a sixth sense about this. Recently, I had a plumber on the phone to discuss an unusual bathroom renovation. He actually said "I'm not interested". Whoa! Sounded harsh, but it was honest. Not too many like that.
 

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I've found that it's SO MUCH easier to be pro-active rather than re-active in situations like this. When I'm going to miss a deadline for any reason, even if I know the customer is going to be upset, I don't email.... I pick up the phone and call them. I've found they respect this approach and are usually more than willing to be understanding and flexible with me on the delay and in the future.

I don't know, maybe they are so used to unfulfilled promises from dealing with contractors, they are surprised when I call ahead and take full responsibility for the delay. Most of the time, I already have a solution in place, which seems to help the situation too.

Of course, maybe it's just my charming personality and the whipped puppy dog approach I take that keeps me out of hot water too.

:whistling
 

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Fine Handcrafted Opinions
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Oh man. I'm the worst. I have great intentions, and I fully intend on following thru when I make a commitment, but I get busy and forget, or something takes twice as long as I thought, or whatever.

I know. Excuses excuses. No good reason for it.

Good reminder. I'm going to put some effort into stopping this. It really is lazy and unprofessional.
 

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Home Repairs
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291 Posts
Most of my work is generated from real estate companies and builders needing a warranty repair. It always comes down to them needing it right now!! :eek: They all know that I am a one man show and are respectfull enough to keep it in mind. They also know that what I tell them is what they need to hear.......not what they want to hear.

If I am slammed over the over a period of time, I will always tell them so. I never give them the "I'll try to make it over there" because it might put them in the mindset that "I" am going to take care of it. That will most always place both parties in a negative situation, not to mention the stress that is placed upon me.

They might get a little mad at times, but they are never left hanging. You can't build dependable reputation on (might) (maybe) or (I'll try).

It is a much less stressfull way to communicate.
 

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If there is one thing I always do, its be on time. I am also dead honest with customers. Its cost me work by telling them things are necessary when they think it is, but I just hope that work comes back to me when it really does need to be done.

The part I don't get is I have bid on jobs where guys have pulled no call/no shows for appointments with the HO, two or three times. When they finally get the guy there, he is cheaper than me, so they go with him. Then they're surprised when the guy is a flake, takes 4x longer then promised, goes way over budget and lack quality. So, I don't lie, its just not who I am, but I don't know if its helping me any.
 

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The only continual stretch of the truth with us is always about the weather and when we will be there. So...if you want to call it "lying", then we are guilty.

We will tell a client we will be there on a certain day, or date, or tomorrow, and then weather goes south....high winds, whatever. Then the next client on the list isn't even thinking about weather...so when you get beck to the first client, the second one is on the phone...."when will we be there?".....and you are put in a position to lie....depending on how they define a lie.

Lies are intentional and meant to deceive....and the weather doesn't count, IMO.
 

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Let's not confuse saying something that you know you will not deliver with saying something having best of intentions of doing it but for one reason or another it skipped your mind.

95% of the time I'm right on the money meeting my obligations, i.e if I said something I will do or I will be there- I will deliver and I will be there and if I can't or running late, I will call that I am running late, or I will say I checked on what ever and I cannot do it...

Sometimes you get one of this days and it just skips your mind... after all we're human and it happens to everyone and not a thing anybody can do about that, so I wouldn't put that into a "lie" category because its not a perfect world and nobody is perfect.

Now when it comes to a person who tells you anything you wanna hear because they have no balls to tell the truth, that is a lie. If someone knows they can't or don't want to be there- tell you I will be there, that is a lie and people like that don't get second chances especially in business when other parties involved and counting on you. Period.

With that said, I'm glad that people like that don't cross our path to often, and I'm glad that I grew up with a certain type of individuals and had a certain upbringing where your word and a handshake meant everything, and being in business for so long, you become a pretty damn good judge of character and frankly speaking, I see the bull**** a mile away and cut it off right there and then before someone gets a chance to bull**** or let that get near me.
 
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