The single most important thing you can do in starting and building a business is to get people to trust you. Trust needs to be earned and takes time, although you can lose it in a second. Telling people to trust you doesn’t cut it. In fact, when people I just meet tell me to trust them, my antennae is up to watch my back.
The benefits of being trusted are enormous. People have confidence in those they trust. Confidence leads to wanting to do business with you. Employees want to work for trustworthy bosses and are more highly motivated when they do. Customers are more likely to write orders for sales people they trust. Investors and lenders will not write the check to anyone they suspect is not high on the trustworthy ladder. A great deal of their due diligence is in finding out your trust score. And in my opinion, the most important thing about being trusted is that you live a better life. The only way to teach your children about trust is to set the example for them.
You should always do the right thing. Most people know right from wrong but are compromised when money is at stake. Many people differ on what is right or wrong in a business situation. It takes lots of little things and time to build trust in a business. Some people never even think about it as they instinctively do the right thing.
Here is my list of trust building ideas in no particular order.
|Listento people you deal with.(Listening is an acquired skill.)||Do not sell a product you know is bad.|
|Be honest at all times.||Look people in the eye when you talkto them.|
|Set an example by your behavior. Giveit a lot of thought.||Don’t be embarrassed to make a profit.|
|Admit mistakes right away. (Not easy.)||Don’t over promise; resist thattemptation.|
|After admitting a mistake, immediatelymove to correct it and pay for remedies.||Reprimand people who break theirword to you-clearly and decisively.|
|Pay bills on time. If you can’t, call andtell why and when you will pay. (Besure to give a date you can meet or
|Try to set down specific rules of ethicaland moral behavior for company–review them regularly.|
|Give credit where credit is due.||Keep people informed.|
|Acknowledge what you don’t know.Don’t BS.||Specify the relationship you expect.|
|Push quality. Demand quality.||Problems create opportunities to buildtrust. Attack problems.|
|Speak candidly to customers andemployees even when it’s somethingyou know they don’t want to hear but
it’s in their best interest.
| If you receive a check made out to youthat doesn’t belong to you or are paidtoo much, the sender should be
notified immediately. Don’t wait for
their auditors to discover the error
and contact you.
|Keep your promises.||Thank you and please” can go along way.|
|Try to be fair. The attempt is important.||Pay attention to the details of the business.|
| Don’t betray confidential information.Buyers will press you for informationabout their competition. Don’t fall for
|Be prompt in your appointments, yourfollow-ups, and your promises. Makeyour deadlines.|
|Treat littlepeople well. (Big onesseem to be easy.) Good assistantseventually get promoted.||Go the extra mile with your customersand employees.|
|Don’t duck or procrastinate dealingwith a problem.||Don’t knock others.|
|Answer calls on troublesome issues.Ducking calls creates a new problem,sometimes more onerous than the
original one you ducked.
|Present solutions, not just problems.|
|Show respect to every person you dealwith no matter their position.||If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it. . .then research the answer.|
|Be knowledgeable about your product,marketplace, new developments, and competition. Share much of this wisdom.||Remember what your parents told you:”Do unto others as you would havethem do unto you.”|
|Inform customers of problems as soonas you know and before they find out.||If for whatever reason you can’t takeon an assignment and give it theattention it deserves. . .then pass.|
I’m sure you can add to the list. Don’t expect immediate return or in fact any return for doing the right thing. It should be a way of life for you. However, you’ll be surprised at all the good, unexpected things that will come your way. If people trust you, they will have confidence in you. That will lead to their wanting to do business with you.
Also, remember trust is portable. Wherever you go, it follows you: good or bad.