Running late? You’re also running out of respect.

Football Hall of Famer and philanthropist Gale Sayers once said that if you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late, you’re forgotten.

In these days when every minute seems to be accounted for, you can’t afford to compromise someone else’s busy schedule. A few minutes could cost you the sale of a new home, because lateness is a sign of disrespect. The ultimate way of gaining respect is by delivering on time, whether that means showing up a few minutes ahead of schedule or providing the follow-up when you’ve promised it, not a few hours or even minutes later.

Too many people have become casual about promptness. I’ve seen this problem with salespeople in model homes. They show up 10 or 20 minutes late to open the sales center, or leave a half-hour before the posted closing hour. These times are promises to your prospects. When no one is there to greet the potential buyer, you’ve already broken a promise and compromised your respectability. As a manager or developer, this is crucial for you to understand because every person on your sales team reflects you and your brand. Even if you are vigilant about timeliness, one slip-up with a salesperson at your model reflects poorly on you.

Can you afford such a cavalier attitude? You’ve invested millions on developing your project, including the infrastructure and model, as well as countless hours of your own. Why would you then ignore the lack of consideration your team is extending to your potential homeowners? I guarantee that while a few might tolerate it, they will not accord you the respect you should command.