“She does what she says she’ll do.”

This post was written by John White on Tue, 14 Oct 2008 13:24:35 +0000
Posted Under: endorsements,messaging,rapport with writer

What’s the best recommendation  you’ve ever given for a writer (or any colleague, for that matter)?

If I ask you for a recommendation on Claudia, what do I want to hear most of all? I want to hear, “She does good work, and I’ll guarantee it.” You can go on and on with lots of other words, but what I’m listening for is your guarantee that she’s good.

Naturally, you can’t give that guarantee. You can tell me, “I asked her to write a rocking white paper in three weeks, and she did it in two weeks. Our leads have doubled since we put it on our Web site.” But you add either tacitly or explicitly the automotive industry’s well-worn disclaimer, “your mileage may vary.” Or, as they say in the recently excoriated financial services industry, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results. May lose value.”

I once pitched a VP of marketing named Jim, one of my dad’s long-time colleagues. A few days later, Dad told me that Jim had brought up my visit in a subsequent conversation. Referring obliquely to Jim’s request for a recommendation about me, Dad said, “I told him that you do what you say you’ll do.'”

I didn’t mind that, because he put all the responsibility back onto me. When all is said and done, a writer’s word and reputation are really all she has. There are no guarantees about anybody you hire to tell your company’s story. The best you can do is to find out whether she does what she says she’ll do.

What’s the best recommendation you’ve ever received (that you didn’t write yourself)?

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