Business strategy 101: Trust. How to build it – and keep it

Business strategy 101: Trust. How to build it - and keep itWhenever I have needed to make any significant changes to any of my businesses, I have invariably reached out to a trusted colleague or friend to get some unbiased third party input.

The value of these trusted relationships cannot be under estimated, and, as the saying goes,’ if only you could bottle it….’  Setting aside the financial aspect of trust, just being able to trust someone to do what they say they are going to do is worth its weight in gold, and enables you to get on with your role without a second thought.

Over the years it has become clear that developing trusting relationships is as much about our own behaviours as that of our colleagues.

It is not only the big things – doing what you say you are going to do is a given. It is so much more than that; as with most things, the devil is in the detail.

It can be the simplest of actions that set the tone here.  How annoying is it when someone doesn’t return your call?  What does it say to your colleague when there is a call in the office for you, and you say, “Tell them I am in a meeting….”.  It’s bad enough that the caller probably knows you are not in a meeting at all, but it is saying subconsciously to your colleague who took the call, “That’s what we do around here. We put people off by lying to them.”  All these actions break down the trust between parties.

Some other things we all experience that can work against the building of trusting, long-term relationships:

  • Being habitually late for meetings
  • Not replying to phone messages
  • Not replying to emails
  • Taking a call in a meeting
  • Leaving your mobile on the desk while talking to someone

All these little things chip away at building the highly valuable links we all need.

One positive behaviour that businesses are increasingly displaying is really an effort to establish and retain trust.

More and more businesses are making available valuable resources to potential clients – before there is any thought of a contract being signed or an invoice being raised. Many of us offer free resources on our websites, some even offer an amount of time completely free of charge and with no obligation.

Customers today really value these ‘something for nothing’ offers. It lets them get an idea about a product or service before they have to make any commitments. Of course, the something does have to be of genuine value, and give them a benefit that they would normally have to pay for.

So, if you’re looking for ways to start building trust with your target customers, and within your business, consider the following as planks of your business strategy:

  • Behave in a consistent way that others can trust.
  • Do what you say you are going to do, and remember the little things.
  • Consider providing some of your organisation’s valuable resources free of charge before potential customers have signed a contract or bought anything from you.Company turnaround

None of these ideas are groundbreaking. They are simple common sense. But in the rush of our daily business lives, we can forget them and, more crucially, we forget what an impact these actions can make.

If you’ve got any suggestions for ways to build trust, both inside and outside your business, we’d love to hear them.

Image by: elycefeliz