By Damilola Faustino
In business, trust is the kind of compliment you can take to the bank when you earn it. Getting customers, clients and employees to trust you can be complicated, but it is imperative for success – perhaps more important than sales. If you get others to trust you, it’s easier to grow and nurture your business and give everyone excellent service. But trust is fragile. If you lose it, it’s very difficult – if not impossible – to restore it. Here are ways you can explore trust to grow your business.
Demonstrate that you trust others
Remember the golden rule? ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ People can’t trust you if it’s difficult for you to trust other people. You can’t hide it – at least from most people. One way to do this is to be generous and forgiving when someone else makes a mistake or disappoints you in some way. People who always jump to the worst conclusion about a person’s competence or motivation inspire wariness, not trust.
Create relationships that are mutually beneficial
Customers, co-workers, and employees all want to believe that they are making the right decision to work with you. This takes a lot more than clichés and platitudes. Customers should clearly understand the value of your products and services to them. Likewise, employees should feel good about taking ownership, which introduces an added measure of accountability and demonstrates the level of trust you have in them. In other words, trust is about showing people that you care about them. In turn, they will care about and trust you.
Directly address issues
Ruffled feathers are to be anticipated in any relationship. How you deal with distresses and troubles is what instills trust and loyalty. In the course of a busy business day, it’s easy to get preoccupied, distracted and become disconnected from what’s happening on the front lines. Customer trust is developed from the first contact and broadens through service delivery, implementation, care and support. At each step, you can either damage or enhance this experience for your customers. That’s why it’s so important to deliver on promises if you want to be trusted.
Tell the truth
It’s often difficult to know how people will react when told the truth. But, never assume that certain people can’t handle the truth. Be as honest with your employees as well as customers as you expect them to be with you. If you get caught in a lie, no one will trust you. You don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression, so don’t count on it. Keeping your promises is also a part of telling the truth. Never commit to a promise you can’t deliver. Think about what’s realistic, and do your best to live up to your word.
Respect their time
To get people to trust you, you will be well-served to raise your awareness of other people’s time, personal schedule and needs. This means you should: promptly return phone calls, promptly reply to emails and thoroughly address all points raised and be on time for meetings, and log on to a scheduled call two minutes in advance of the start time.
Be flexible and patient
Be tolerant of mistakes, and don’t be an inflexible judge. Meet the other person in the middle. Be considerate of events and negative experiences that may have affected one’s ability to trust. Make exceptions to the rules when common sense dictates. Consider unusual alternatives for problems that can’t be resolved by typical methods.
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