“In the end, you have to choose whether or not to trust someone.” Sophie Kinsella, pseudonym of Madeleine Wickham – 1969 to present. British author.
It often pays to check whether or not our actions match our words, which is certainly important in building trust. If you are to have a fruitful and continuing relationship with your customers it is important that trust is built. If customers don’t trust you it is unlikely that they will volunteer information which will enable you to more effectively do your job.
Below are four areas which enables trust to be built. Check yourself, and that of your organisation, to see whether you score a 10 out of 10 on each of these points.
1. Propriety: Matching role expectations. The other party has expectations of what you will be like, how you will dress, behave, etc. To deviate from this expectation will affect your credibility. For example, presenting at an executive meeting dressed in thongs, shorts and a T-shirt would not allow you to be taken seriously. Being slovenly dressed in a retail environment doesn’t engender confidence in the shopper.
2. Competence: Do you have the knowledge, experience and expertise to solve the problem and are you able to display this capacity when serving your customers? Are you adequately prepared? For example, know your product and its applications, aware of the competition and the market, checked the customer’s website to glean information such as head office, products, personnel, etc.
3. Intent: Are you seeking to solve situations to mutual satisfaction, or are you only interested in your own goals? Are you seeking a mutually beneficial outcome? Do you listen to the customer or just wait your turn to speak? Do you care about your customers and recognise they are the reason you have a job or do you see them as an interruption to your work? A confidence trickster will have numbers 1 and 2 above, down to a fine art. However, the intent is far from helping the other party.
4. Reputation: What is your track record of dealing with your customers, on a personal and organisational level? Are you usually considered polite, punctual, willing to listen and explain? Do you keep your promises of calling when you said you would, obtaining or passing on information? Sharing information is very important and people who don’t are often not trusted.
Words are cheap and saying “Trust me” does not mean your customers will believe you; probably it will have just the opposite effect. Words must be backed by action to prove trust. When trust exists, both you and your customers can more easily discuss goals, wants, expectations and concerns. Result? A rewarding and ongoing relationship and greater chance of referrals for an easier building of business.
It can take a long time to build trust, but trust can easily be broken and may take a long time to repair. So promote and guard it jealously.
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