When’s the last time you thought about Trust?

There are a handful of things that can be a huge pivot point for any businesses prospects going forward. Get them right and things will likely be good. Get them wrong and you’re probably soon to be out of business. One of those things is trust…!

I’ve recently had a really bad business experience and although it’s been an expensive lesson on my part, the whole process has really hammered home the importance of trust.

In this particular case, I was investing with someone that I’ve known for over 10 years and who I’ve now worked with for well over 5 years. I knew them, I liked them and I trusted them – which made me comfortable to not only do business with them, but also to introduce them to others and even recommend them.

But in the last 12 months, things started to seriously go south and obligations were no longer being met.

I understand when mistakes happen, or the marketplace turns, or something just flat out gets screwed up. I don’t like it, but I understand it and if handled correctly, not only can I live with it, but it may even have the effect of driving additional opportunities.

What I can’t live with is when I’m lied to – or even just not being told the whole story. A well told story may buy some time up front, but when it becomes obvious that the truth has been lost along the way, then the trust is gone and any good will or patience is gone with it.

Once the trust is gone – the whole situation is broken and is unlikely to be recovered.

But is that really a big deal? So they lost a client – there are more out there. And 20 years ago – maybe that that’s the case. But these days, it’s to easy for an upset customer to share their story with hundreds, or even thousands, of other potential customers. And if you get even as few as 3 or 4 unhappy clients who no longer trust you – your reputation, your brand and your future opportunities are pretty much shot.

These days – trust is everything when it comes to business.

So… as a business owner, what can you do to keep the trust of your clients?

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3 Ways to Keep Trust in Business (or otherwise…)

These ideas are likely going to sound simplistic, but I guarantee if you (and your entire team) can do these, then losing trust won’t be an issue for you.

#1 – Follow through. As simple as it sounds, when you tell someone you’re going to do something, follow through and do it when you say you’re going to do it (or earlier if you really want to build up some good will).

And if it turns out you can’t meet expectations – proactively let the client know that… and let them know what you’re going to do about it.

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#2 – Be Transparent. You know why politicians get such a bad rap? It’s because they never actually come clean with what’s going on… and therefore it doesn’t take long for people to lose trust in them. Being transparent means not hiding behind excuses, not making up stories, not selling a line. Just tell people what’s going on and what you’re going to do about it.

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#3 – Apologize (sincerely). This one kinds of overlaps with transparency but it’s more specific. If you’ve screwed up… or even if you didn’t screw up but your client was impacted, start with a sincere apology. Let your customers know that you genuinely care about what’s going on and that you understand this is impacting them.

And then of course, immediately follow that up with a clear, transparent plan on how you’re going to fix the situation… and follow through on that plan.

That’s it – 3 simple things that anyone can do that will insure that you remain a trustworthy option for business. In fact, if you’re consistent with these 3 things, not only will people trust you – they’ll tell lots of other people that you can be trusted as well… which makes it a lot easier to sell more of whatever it is you’re doing.

What do you think? Have you been a customer or a client that’s been wrong and lost trust with someone? Has this ever happened in your business? And maybe more importantly, is this a topic that you talk about with your team on a regular basis to make sure it doesn’t happen?

We’d love to hear your thoughts – contact us or leave us a comment below.

Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach

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