It’s not just who you know, it’s whom you trust
Trust is the backbone of personal relationships, and it’s just as critical in cultivating and maintaining a healthy and prosperous business. A company’s reputation is often directly related to the amount of trust its employees, customers and the general public have in it.
A trusted company’s shares tend to trade higher than its competitors based on investors’ expectations for future performance. This expectation is often based on trust in its products, judgment and work practices. And if something negative happens, a trusted company usually receives the benefit of the doubt—at least until facts may prove otherwise.
Trusted companies tend to attract the highest level employees and its best practices usually are adopted by other companies. Maintaining and strengthening a company’s trust with its stakeholders can and should be the ongoing goal of everyone who works there.
Here are four basic concepts that help define a trustworthy organization:
- Reliability. Being reliable is a critical aspect of trustworthiness. Reliability means aligning your company’s words and actions by doing what you say you’ll do. It also means being consistent and honoring all promises.
- Honesty. An honest company inspires trust. These kinds of companies tell the truth as much possible—even at their own expense. Being honest means expressing real feelings and speaking from the heart—being genuine. And if somehow an organization has lied, then it must own up to it and speak truthfully about it.
- Openness. Another aspect of trustworthiness is being open. People are more likely to trust a company if it volunteers information and doesn’t omit or hide critical details.
- Integrity. A company demonstrates integrity when it maintains the privacy of its customer and employee relationships. And loyalty and self-control are just as important as avoiding abusive or inappropriate behavior.
It’s easy to apply these principles about trust to your participation in an industry trade show or similar marketing event. After all, a trustworthy company is more likely to attract potential customers’ interest and their business.
- Make a pact about when to follow up. After qualifying a prospect and obtaining his or her contact information, ensure that you can follow up within a specified time to provide further information. Be certain you understand exactly what the prospect is looking for so that your follow up will meet expectations. Then, delver on your promise.
- Position your product or service accurately within the industry. Provide supporting documentation to back up your product or service claims but don’t omit essential facts in order to strengthen your argument. A wise prospect might challenge your claims and then form a negative opinion about your trustworthiness.
- Ensure that customer transactions are confidential and private. Explain your company’s stance on protecting customers’ confidential information and demonstrate that it keeps its word.
Trusted companies tend to be ones with good corporate reputations. And just like a good reputation, trust is built over time and requires a great deal of consistent action. Trust can be described as a fragile bond that’s challenging to earn and all too easy to lose.