Trust Must be Built Over Time
July 10, 2011
Business Tips Article
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Lately I have been thinking on the word “trust” as it relates to business. Most people would say business is based on good relationships and good relationships are built on trust. In fact in some businesses, relationships that are built on trust are everything.
Trust to me means that someone has our best interests at heart and will strive to act in a manner that protects our best interests along with theirs, however difficult it may be at times.
We trust our professional advisers to give us good advice and challenge certain ways we do things to protect us. We trust our suppliers not to push the latest promotion but to always promote items that will benefit our business, even if it means they do not make the monthly sales quota. We want to deal with those we trust and I suspect once we find those who are trustworthy, we will continue to do business with them and overlook the minor glitches and modest but necessary price increases.
Trust can even be a competitive advantage.
As I mentioned, most of us want to do business with those we trust, but do we ensure we are acting in a trustworthy way with our customers? Being seen as trusted advisers are important to us at the SBDC. We want our clients to trust we will keep things confidential, trust we have the resources and experience necessary, trust we will do what we say on time, and trust we will tell them things they may not want to hear, but in our view are in their best interests. We strive to earn the label of trusted advisers, knowing full well we stumble occasionally.
Consider how your firm builds trust with your customers. Ensure that your marketing and promotion efforts signal trust. See to it those employees who come into daily contact with your customers build trust. Tell employees that building trust may not be a one-time event, but a series of trust building activities and events over time.
I have heard many times that employees will treat customers exactly as they are treated. My experience has told me this is true. Build trust within your organization so you can model how you want them to build trust with customers.
Hire the right people, train them well, provide a good atmosphere, and trust they will do what is best for your customers within necessary boundaries. Let them know that you are looking out for their best interests as employees along with yours. Let them see firsthand what trust looks like. My experience has also told me that it all begins with hiring the right people.
Hopefully I have been able to convey my thoughts on trust as it relates to business. It is the foundation in building relationships that lead to a successful business. It feels right and good, and it is a journey that never ends.
“Business Tips” was written by Dave Erickson, Director and Certified Business Adviser IV, of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact him atDavid.Erickson@angelo.edu.