TRUST: Your Business-Building Currency
If you want a stronger ROI—build trust. If you want a team that delivers reliable service—build trust. If you want customers to buy more and post positive comments online—build trust. Why? Because it’s the cornerstone of creating a sense of community with your product or service. Ultimately, the degree of trust you build with people will determine your organization’s success and its profitability.
It’s possible you’re eroding trust without being aware of it. Distrust is fueled by not believing another, by neglecting to follow through on promises; and by feeling disconnected. In the extreme, distrust can damage the relationships that make a business run smoothly. Not good.
Instead, regard trust as the currency for nurturing relationships. Make it your new strategic advantage. That’s a bold goal, but it’s exactly why trust needs to be as your focus at three levels.
Trust Required at Three Levels
The first level is trusting yourself, the second is building trust among team members and the third is having your customers fully trust you and your team – in each position.
You need self-trust to lead your teams confidently. And if your team members don’t have a high degree of trust with each other, how can your customers ever be expected to have faith and confidence in your organization? Without it, how can community building ever happen?
Think of Trust as Deposits and Withdrawals
In my work with organizations, I define trust as belief in the honesty, reliability, and ability of someone (including yourself). So, really, I regard trust – an ongoing, active process – as a verb rather than a noun. It’s never stagnant because a person’s trust level adjusts based on his or her ever-changing thoughts and actions.
Think of it as having a trust bank account with deposits and withdrawals. Every time people do what they say they’ll do, a deposit goes into the trust-building account.
Conversely, every time they don’t do what they say, it’s like a withdrawal. At the end of the day, have you and your team members built up your trust accounts with each other or taken away from them?
For each of the three levels of trust, there are three specific attributes to consider. As you read them, reflect on your attitude as described in each. No doubt on any given day, you’ll feel stronger in some areas than in others. Your goal, though, is to make more deposits than withdrawals in your trust-building account.
Awareness comes first and then practice. Let’s start at the first level—with you.
Building Trust within Yourself
Simply said, you want to know you’ve got your own back. Do you trust yourself to do what you say you’ll do?
Because building trust is like a muscle that develops with practice, here are three steps to consistently work on:
- Respect yourself. Know that you are worthy of proper regard. Have belief and faith in yourself without self-judgment. Respect who you are, what you know, and what you want. It’s your right to choose what’s right for you.
- Notice your focus. Throughout the day, pause and see if you’re focusing on positive or negative thoughts. In business, you get inundated with issues – many negative.Taking time every day to acknowledge that more is going right than wrong builds trust in yourself.
- Take action. Whenever you feel stuck, check in and ask, “Where am I not trusting?” Mustering up the courage to take one step provides the momentum for the next. Even if something doesn’t turn out the way you intended, taking action brought you out of your stuck-ness. In the process, you’re building proof you can trust yourself.
With greater self-trust, you have heightened confidence to speak up, take risks, and be a leader in your position. Here’s the bonus: You feel more relaxed, centered, and calm no matter what comes at you throughout the day.
Building Trust within Your Team
You can build trust among team members by embracing these three steps:
- Be honest. Honesty is not only the best policy; it’s an essential life policy. It’s tough for others to respect you if they don’t know if you can be counted on. Yes, stuff happens. So if there’s something you can’t get to or don’t know how, speak up with honesty about what isn’t possible.
- Sharpen your abilities. Trust grows when you know your co-workers are competent and good at what they do. That requires you to be good at what you do. Better yet, be the best at what you do. Be dependable to produce quality results.
- Be resourceful. Being a “can do” person builds trust. This includes being proactive and solution focused. Forget the excuses. There’s no such response as “I forgot” or “you didn’t tell me” or a dismissive “oh well!”
What are the benefits of greater trustworthiness among team members? You’ll all have more fun, less stress, and faster results. All good!
Building Trust with Your Customers
Customers want to know that you’ll do what you say you’ll do by the time you said you’d do it. It’s as simple and as complex as that.
You can build trust with customers when you:
- Stay connected. Engage with your customers. This means no hiding behind closed doors. They are paying for your product or service and deserve your availability. This includes being visible offline and online. Being available builds trusts—and builds a sense of community.
- Important updates. Fit this as appropriate to your product or service. Customers don’t like surprises, so advise them in advance of changes and issues that will affect them. It’s common courtesy.
- Act reliably. Don’t set up unrealistic expectations. Rather, you want to establish realistic ones and meet them reliably. And as issues come up, be sure to resolve them as swiftly and completely as possible. A breach of trust here produces massive withdrawals from your trust account! And once it gets low, it’s tough to bring it back up.
Trust-Building Pays Handsomely
When customers have a strong sense of trust in your team, it can pay out handsomely.
They buy more, stay longer and frequently become ambassadors for your business.
They might even write positive testimonials of their experiences on Yelp.com—comments that greatly assist your organization in attracting more customers. What better marketing exists than that!
Creating a strong customer community involves building self-trust and a trustworthy team that delivers on the promise of service. Trust does matter. Make it a solid strategic advantage that you can start nurturing today.