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Your IR is Essential to Your Market Position
by: Kathleen Gage

Often people look for the latest and greatest bells and whistles to market their company. Fact is, one of the most powerful marketing strategies is one that many folks overlook. Something that can make or break a person's reputation and their ability to gain and maintain strong position is their IR or the Integrity Reading. The IR determines their level of integrity. My definition of integrity is simple.

"Integrity is the ability to know we are doing the right thing in all situations. It is about accountability and responsibility. Accountability is when others can count on what we agree to and responsibility is the ability to respond. It has to do with following through on the agreements we make with others, even if following through is not the most convenient or comfortable thing to do. And if we can't follow through, having the willingness to be honest enough to let the other person know the reason why."

A quick read through in the newspaper will make one believe that for many people integrity, accountability and responsibility are viewed as foreign concepts. How many people make purchases on credit with no intention of paying the lender back in the agreed upon timeframe, or worse yet, having no intention whatsoever of paying any of the debt back?

This doesn't just apply to individuals, it also applies to companies who use the services of vendors and, through bad planning, overextend the company resources and write off the vendor's bill to bad debt.

What about the individual who agrees to be at a meeting place at a specific time and due to bad planning shows up late? Have you ever wondered how much money this can cost in lost production time? Figure a staff meeting where there are going to be 10 people in attendance and the meeting is 15 minutes late getting started -- that could literally cost the company thousands of dollars in lost productivity over the period of a year.

Or how often are people trying to get something for nothing? Interestingly, these very people want to get paid for their services and yet, they are constantly looking for ways to get free services from others.

On the other hand, there are so many people who live with the utmost integrity and their life seems to work pretty well. They are people who can honestly look in the mirror and say, "I feel good about the decisions I have made and the actions I have taken."

What is your IR? Take this simple test. Do you follow through on agreements? Do you deliver more than expected in your transactions? Do you honor your creditors need to get paid on time? Does your reputation help you or hinder your position in the market?

Your integrity reading can be one of the most powerful marketing tools you can have. After all, word of mouth marketing is the greatest marketing strategy of all. What is the word around town about you?


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