Fostering trust for better relationships and stronger business outcomes

In small business, you can’t expect strong sales or great customers and clients without first fostering trust in your offering. Expecting anything less is a case of putting the cart before the horse, writes Renae Smith.

In businesses, whether service or product-based, the key to success lies in the ability to develop good relationships.

Those relationships may be with customers, with staff, with our suppliers or even with other businesses in your sector.

It’s no surprise that trust is regularly named as the key cornerstone for any successful business.

Businesses are built on relationships, and just like any other relationship in our lives, trust will always have a huge impact on how deep those connections run, and therefore how strong your business relationships are.

So how do you make trust a key focus in business? Well first, let’s start with you.


First, trust yourself


When we think about trust, we usually think first about whether someone else is trustworthy.

In fact, it’s essential to understand that for ourselves to be trusted by others, we must first trust ourselves.

Like most aspects of relationships, the key to a successful position starts with looking at the self.

When business owners don’t have genuine trust in themselves and really back the services or products they provide, this immediately puts doubt in the minds of those around them.

Customers, employees or business associates are usually very quick to identify a lack of trust someone may have for themselves or their product. Once identified, this behaviour makes someone feel unsafe and insecure.

In addition, it can take a very long time to undo the feelings of mistrust, insecurity or hesitancy.

READ: 3 reasons your clients lose trust in you

When an employee or business associate lacks trust in their leadership, they very quickly disconnect from the core values of the business. Instead of engaging with their work or looking for ways to develop their business connections further, they begin to turn inwards and disconnect from that person to protect themselves – just as they would in a romantic relationship.

Having an educated confidence in your offering and demonstrating clear goals and motives will make sure those around you feel secure and will therefore be more inclined to invest in your company.

When it comes to healthy business/customer relationships, ensuring customers develop a genuine trust for what you provide is essential to ensure that when faced with countless options for them to choose from, they will continue to choose your company over, and over again.

To develop trust with a consumer, make a solid brand promise and then stick to it.

If you demonstrate consistency in what you do and always deliver what you promise, customers will connect with this, feel secure and begin to develop a deep trust of your business.

When it comes to customer loyalty, it’s good to remember that up to 30 percent of a customer’s purchasing influence is based on the trust they have for the brand alone.


Trust others – you’ll become a better listener


Not to be ignored is the flip side.

Having too much trust in what you do and failing to audit your actions can also be another way to lose trust from those around you.

If you have too much trust in yourself, it is easy to to stick to a decision that you believe is right, without seeing when something isn’t working.

READ: Building a business on trust with Sharon Melamed

Sometimes, a customer or colleague may be critical of a decision or complain about a service or product provided to them.

While it’s essential to back yourself, business owners who only trust themselves will immediately dismiss the feedback of others and stay determined to put their decisions and beliefs over anyone else’s’.

Being open to the opinions of others is essential to audit your positioning.

Having trust in yourself is just as important as having trust in others. In addition, when people lack trust of others and things go wrong, these types of people usually look for ways to blame someone else, rather than admitting that they were wrong.

Again, this over-confident or cocky behaviour towards customers, employees and colleagues causes a disconnect between you and them. When faced with this sort of behaviour, people naturally withdraw, turn inwards and begin trying to protect themselves.


It’s all about balance


A good business owner will admit when they are wrong, trust the input of others and then share the credit when things go right.

They will have trust in their ability to spot issues and their ability to make the right decision or admit when they’ve made the wrong one and to ask for help.

Developing trust both in yourself and in others can be a long journey.

Trust is not something that can just be given, and it requires hard work every day to promote these feelings – both within your business and with also those who deal with it.

While building and maintaining trust is a lot of work, if you stay focused and build a business that’s based on trust, the benefits will definitely outweigh the effort.

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