There’s a saying that people only buy from trusted sources, and if you combine that with the one “people do business with people” you begin to recognise just how important it is that your prospects and customers can trust you / your organisation / your people.
Establishing trust is difficult and can take a long time. Destroying it can take seconds. I know I have quoted this before, but it bears repetition:
Trust arrives on foot and departs in a Ferrari – Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England.
The rules for maintaining trust are actually very simple.
Be consistent. Trust requires certainty and inconsistency is the enemy of certainty.
Be very clear. Nothing destroys trust faster than disappointed expectations, and they often result from a lack of clarity. Who is going to do what by when?
Keep your promises
If you are going to fail to meet a promise, tell your customer early!
Be responsive. If you don’t answer questions or provide information when requested, your customer will think you have something to hide.
Building trust takes longer and is a little more complex.
Be visible. Your prospect has to know you first. If you know who your prospects are, and where they are, make sure you are visible there. That might be a trade magazine, a particular website or an exhibition. If your prospects are there, you should be too.
Be helpful / of value Your prospect has to like you. If you provide something for nothing or for very little (an email address) you are helping your prospect. We like people who help. What can you give away?
Make it easy. Your prospect will still be nervous and hesitant. What can you do to make the decision an easier one? Is there a trial version or a low cost “light” program they can experience?
Give guarantees. You are confident that you deliver value, so guarantee it to your prospect.
That’s it from a customer / prospect perspective, but what about building trust within your teams?
Similar principles apply – do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it. That will take you a very long way.