Stock handshake

I would imagine that if you are reading this and you were close to your parents as they were raising you to become a good person that they taught you many little pearls of wisdom.

I was fortunate to have had a healthy childhood with loving parents. They both taught me, as we would say now, so many common-sense ideals and ways to navigate life.

Without going through the many ethics as they have taught me, one does come to mind and I wish we did it more often.

Doing business on a handshake.

Before you shake your head and say, “Hal, you are being so naive,” hear me out. I am not referring to a big deal such as selling your business, buying a home or something similar that might be a complicated business transaction.

What I am referring to is keeping your word and not going back on something you said.

It might be “old school” or something out of the “The Godfather” movies, but nonetheless, it is about your character and how you build your reputation.

It could be something as simple as “I will call you at 4 p.m.” or “I will sell you my lawn mower for $75.” If you say something, keep your word. Do it and don’t look back.

I guarantee if you find a very successful person, they will tell you they made some bad deals in their life, but they honored them as well. I am not talking about an entrepreneur, CEO or even a small business owner. It can be a school principal or even a nurse in a hospital.

If you say something, do it.

Here are some simple rules to live by:

• Keep your word

• Follow up on any promise you made

• Tell the truth

• Be genuine

• Don’t change the terms of the deal you made

• Don’t over-promise

• Reputation lasts forever, don’t ruin it

• Everything does not need a formal contract

• Try to deal with people who you can trust

• Be gracious

Nothing new here, just a reminder to think about what you were taught from people who have been there, done that and so on. We complicate so many things that can be pretty simple and full of common sense. Sometimes going a bit above and beyond your promise can go a long way as well.

Here is an example. I recently sold one of my bicycles on a mobile app called OfferUP. You just take a couple of pictures of the item you want to sell, provide a quick description, price and post it.

Within a few minutes I received texts from people that were interested in my bike. We met and it was sold that day.

But two days later, I texted or called them to see if they were enjoying the bicycle and if they had any questions. I know they were surprised by the follow-up call, but why not say thanks and see how they were doing?

Build your own brand each and every day by trying to do all the right things.

Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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