Creating and building trust

How often do you hear the phrase ‘people buy from people’.

Well if you attend one of my networking events, then you will know that this is the basis of my groups and how I believe that good business is done.

Personally, I am a little too trusting of others, but I continue to learn 🙂 However, I hope that you feel that I have proven that you can trust me to deliver to my word, whether that’s my business, my volunteering or in personal friendship.

Before I set up my own networking group, the Oxford Business Community Network, nearly 11 years ago, I completed some research to establish why people do buy from people rather than just the label we represent in business. I found that ‘trust’ was the most important factor required before a buyer decides to buy from you or not.

Trust is defined as “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something” and seen as the willingness or ability to rely on others.

We all know the phrase ‘Know, Like and Trust’, but as I often say, it is easy to get people to know you, they could even like you, but can they trust you? I also add a fourth step, ahead of trust, which is rapport, as I feel it is the key building step from like to trust.

Trust is much deeper than a gut feeling of whether you will receive the expectation you feel or simply whether you will be ripped off or whether you will be made to look silly by another.

‘Trust’ can be explained as the trust in what someone says plus the trust in what they do plus the ability to entrust someone with something over the perception of whether the focus is primarily on themselves or others.

So what can we do to make ourselves more trustworthy with our prospective customers?

  • Deliver on your promises, don’t over promise – perhaps this sounds too obvious, but it is where so many fail!
  • Be honest. Admit when you don’t know something. Admit when you’re wrong. It goes a long way.
  • Remove the risk – offer a guarantee and show your belief in your product or service 
  • Position yourself with authority, expertise and recognition
  • Be transparent and truthful
  • Have proof of delivery such as testimonials, articles, awards and case studies
  • Be predicatable, consistant and accountable
  • When discussing your thoughts with others, don’t just give an opinion, but also share your thought process. People may disagree with you, but they can still respect your thinking
  • Have integrity and be compassionate
  • Tone down the selling but still solve the problem

Trust takes hard work and must be earned. It comes from a continued conscious effort to walk your talk, keep your promises and align your behaviour with your values. If you want a short cut, then don’t be surprised if you are not trusted.

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