Friday Success Tips
“Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.“ Mary Kay Ash
There are no shortcuts to building trust. Trust is cultivated and developed over time based on mutual experiences. However, it can take just one action for that trust to be lost. This is true in just about any type of relationship: romantic, family, friendship, or business.
Many persons have become disillusioned with large corporations. John Gerzema of Young & Rubicam’s, a New York advertising firm noted that trust in brands has plummeted over the past five years and added, “People stopped trusting all kinds of companies.” Most of us as entrepreneurs have a company of one – we are the company and it’s imperative that we are known by our customers and peers to be honest and dependable. This will go a far way in keeping us in business.
What are some ways entrepreneurs can build trust with their customers and encourage customer loyalty?
1. Get to Know Your Customers: Find ways to make every customer or client feel special. Keep good records and include special days like anniversaries, etc. If you hear of an illness or death in the family, send a Get Well or Sympathy card immediately. Acknowledge important events in their lives like the birth of a child or a graduation. A card is easy, but means a lot to the recipient.
2. Reward Your Customers: Large corporations create huge budgets to attract new customers/clients while ignoring their current ones. We must reverse that trend and show our current customers that we appreciate their loyalty by creating programs and special offers just for them.
3. Take Responsibility: Be the first to admit that you’ve made a mistake and avoid making excuses that do not solve the problem. By quickly accepting responsibility for any errors or missed deadlines, our clients will recognize that we are honest and are willing to accept responsibility.
If a product did not meet your customer’s expectations, be willing to cheerfully exchange or refund their money even if it’s your loss. You will have future gains in the trust that this will build.
4. Be Transparent: Each business owner has to decide how much of his/her personal life they will reveal to their customers, especially online. On the other hand, revealing some of your mistakes, challenges, and how you overcame them make you real to people and someone who will gain their trust and respect.
New entrepreneurs are often encouraged to ‘fake it until you make it.’ Some may see this as deceptive. It depends on your perspective. Viewing this advice in a positive light could mean ‘act successful and you will become successful.’ You’ve set your goals; you know where you want to go and are willing to do the work. This in no way is endorses anyone who deceives others about the money they make, especially in network marketing, to get others to join them for their profit only.
If you’re a service provider and a project is beyond your scope, honesty will allow you to admit this and connect your prospective client with someone who you know can do the job efficiently.
5. Build Your Network: Since we do not have a Board of Directors, it’s important to build a group of people who will support our goals and be a part of our resource group. For example, as a fairly new Internet Marketer, there are aspects of Internet Marketing that I feel I do not know enough about to teach. When someone needs help in any such area I can refer them to someone else’s post, article, or training class. Connecting people who can help each other is another way to build trust.
One definition of trust is “Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing; one in which confidence is placed.” This should always be the hallmark of our person and business, and our customers will feel the same way as they get to know us.
What are some things you’ve found that cause customers to lose trust in entrepreneurs or small business owners? And what are some things you personally do to build your customer’s trust? Please share so we can all benefit.