Regardless of what stage you’re in with your business, you have probably heard the saying, “people do business with people they know, like and trust”. You see a lot of programs that focus on getting known and getting people to “like” you or your social media posts, but what about trusting you. Do you know If your customers trust you? In order to answer the question, you must first know what trust is.
What is trust?
When you search for the definition of trust on dictionary.com, you will find trust can serve as a noun, adjective or verb. For the purpose, if this article we will look at the definition as a noun.
According to dictionary.com trust is:
1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
2. confident expectation of something; hope.
3. confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit: to sell merchandise on trust.
Why does this even matter?
When I read this definition, what stands out for me is the word integrity. This implies the need to be reliable and honest when communicating and dealing with others. As business owners, it is very important for one to establish a true sense of trust with customers, clients, staff members, and others you may do business with. Trust is not something that is built overnight; it takes time. Having the patience to build trust can be the difference as to whether or not your business sustains in difficult times.
Trust does take time to build but it can be destroyed in a few seconds. When trust is destroyed you can damage the reputation of your business and open the door to unethical behavior and practices. Sometimes, business owners don’t even realize their actions are weakening the relationships they have. You may think you are projecting an image of trust, but what do your customers really think of you and/or your business?
What can I do?
Here are a few strategies you can use to strengthen the relationship you have with your clients and customers.
Don’t lie. This may seem so obvious, but I can almost guarantee at one time in your life you have been lied to by a company. How did that make you feel? A business owner may think it is a simple twist of the truth to buy more time or to explain why something didn’t go exactly as planned but don’t underestimate your client. If they figure out you are not being completely honest they may not even say anything to you but will silently fade away and never do business with you again.
Be transparent. As a business owner, sometimes you have to tell customers something they may not want to hear. The longer you put off telling them, it can make a situation worse. They may also question your confidence level, as you did not have the confidence to face them and let them know what was truly going on.
Listen. Listening is one of the main keys to success in any business. You have to listen to what your customer is and is not saying. Do not say what you think they want or say what you think is best for them. You may be allowing your personal opinion to play into the decision making process. Provide the best advice possible, including pros and cons based on facts and your experience. Let them use that information to make the final decisions.
Pay attention. This goes beyond just listening. When you are speaking with a client, give them your undivided attention. Do not be so focused on everything that is going on around you. If you are, you will not truly listen to what your client is saying. Looking constantly at your cell phone sends a message that you are not interested in doing business with them. They are just another customer.
Be reliable. If you say you are going to do something do it. Do not consistently change what you have discussed. Doing this will cause the client to become frustrated and confused. Do not make promises or commitments you know are impossible to keep.
By following these strategies, you can establish strong relationships with your clients and they will not only get to know and like you but trust you as well. If you have a client who has begun to lose trust in you, these strategies can also help with regaining trust. Also, incorporate these strategies into your daily practices as you never know, the person you meet today can become your client tomorrow.
If you would like to build better business relationships and learn how to communicate more effectively with your clients, I am here to help. To explore how we can work together and create amazing relationships, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you and your organization achieve the success you desire.