This is another word for dependability – trustworthiness – and encourages people to have confidence in you. It is essential that you start out in business this way. Doesn’t everybody do it? I wish. They will be more likely to do business with you if you are known for your openness and honesty. It’s essential to a successful businessperson. Start out that way – it is the right thing to do for success! I have found there are two types of business people. The ones who keep their word and the ones who don’t – but they make sure everybody else does. Be the first one – Keep Your Word!

If you say you are going to be there – BE There.

You will want your patients to show up for their appointments! Make it YOUR way of doing business so you can expect it from others. For instance, we have a lot of doctors that do business with us at Integrity. They will register for a conference and then not come. Sometimes they even register the day before and not show up. Some come to the conference and make an appointment to meet with us in the afternoon – and then not show up. All of these things reveal a business character flaw. It’s no wonder they aren’t doing better in practice. I am sure they expect their patients to show up for their appointments.

You might say, “But sometimes things come up.” Of course they do, so when that happens – let them know! Apologize and excuse yourself! Everybody understands and APPRECIATES your ethics of thoughtfulness – that is the kind of person everybody wants to do business with.

If you say a certain time – BE ON TIME.

Doctors who even REQUIRE patients to make an appointment and then THE DOCTOR doesn’t keep it – they’re running late, etc., lacks business ethics. You are dreaming if you think your degree excuses your unethical behavior! It’s a lack of respect. Your time is not more important than ours. If you don’t know what time you can see me – don’t tell me a time! I trusted you and blocked out my time to see you then – if I can do it – you can do it!

If you buy something – PAY FOR IT.

If a bill is due on a certain date – pay it on or before that date – don’t be late. I want people to KNOW I am good for my bill and they would never say, “He’s always late.” Pay your bills the way you would want to be paid by your patients.

You might find this interesting – our yard service double billed me twice – in other words, I got a bill and paid it and they sent me another bill saying I hadn’t paid it – which of course, was impossible. I mentioned it to Ryan and found out they had done the same thing to him – twice! Hmmmm. Well, we both proved it to them by pulling out our bank statements and proving we had made the payments and they had deposited the checks. This takes a lot of time and effort.

So I made a deal with them. Here is a copy of my actual letter to them. I thought you might get a kick out of it:

Dear Greenside Landscaping:

First, I LOVE doing business with you guys – you do a GREAT job – you care – you work hard – and we have been super pleased with your work for us!!!!!!

Second, I would like to think I have proven – I always pay my bills – always! In fact, I am so honest about paying my bills that when we first hired you – you went several months without billing us and every time you were here I went outside and said – you really need to check your records and email addresses because I am not getting my bill and I WANT to pay you. I could have said nothing you know!

Third, for two months in a row you have sent me my current invoice – AND an invoice in July – Invoice #17903 – as if I haven’t paid that one yet. I ignored it the first time assuming you didn’t mean to send it. Accidents happen. No problem! But since I got the July invoice again with this month – it seems obvious that you are saying I haven’t paid my bill. I have also heard from my son, Ryan, that several times you have done the same thing with him and he has had to prove to you that he paid his bill, too.

I’m sorry but I don’t like going back and researching to prove passed payments – it just isn’t fun. Maybe that is bad of me and maybe it is because I am getting old – but I don’t think you would want to keep going back and proving that you paid your bills either! This is not the way I like to do business. So let me go ahead and prove I have paid the back invoice you are still billing me for and then outline a fair agreement from which we will do business from now on so there isn’t any misunderstandings and we have a win-win deal!

We paid your invoice #17903 with check #3689 and you deposited it on 7/25. That is when the check cleared and I can show you a copy of the check. So I KNOW you got it and deposited it! Please mark that invoice paid and discontinue sending me that invoice.

Now, I can understand mistakes – I have made a boatload of them – just this week – so don’t worry about that! But seeing you have done this with Ryan and myself and knowing that I don’t enjoy spending my time proving I have paid a bill – I will make a deal with you that I believe is fair. It is true I have made a boatload of mistakes – but it is also true that I have had to pay for them! 🙂

The next time you send me a past invoice as if I haven’t paid it and you are trying to collect on a past bill – I will look it up. If YOU are right and I cannot show you a cleared check for that invoice – I will pay that bill THAT DAY – no questions asked!!!!! But If I am right – and I can show you the check and when it cleared – then you must pay ME that invoice amount! Why? Because if you can deposit it and not know it – you can write it back out and never miss it! And besides, it will hopefully make YOU double check before you make ME double check!

I think that is fair! Sincerely,
Keith Maule

Did this work? I have never had a problem since!