Build trust to gain customers

Reputation is a firm’s most valuable asset. Winning business away from established companies is hard. It is far easier to grow if people already know, like and trust you. So pay attention to how you treat your customers and employees. If your treatment of them is consistently better than your competitors then that will shine through and start generating word-of-mouth advertising for you.”

Trust between a retailer and its consumers creates consumer loyalty. In turn, consumer loyalty creates a competitive advantage for the retailer.

Trust is the essential resource for growth. It is the source of the lifetime value of a customer, and therefore the lifeblood of a startup.

Customers don’t just want to buy the best product, they want to buy from the best company. A business that can build a brand that is synonymous with product quality will have a big advantage over its competitors. A business is trustworthy if people believe you will do what you say, even when they can’t check up on you.

Entrepreneurs often try to jump straight to marketing by advertising. The problem is that marketing companies are in business to make money from customers, not to create strong customer relationships over time. They have no incentive to help the entrepreneur build a strong relationship with customers. The result is that in most cases when an entrepreneur spends money on marketing he ends up with fewer customers, not more.

Trust is the mechanism by which you gain customers. Not marketing, not advertising. Trust.

It is not about telling everyone you are trustworthy. Action speaks louder than words in this case. If your main marketing message is how trustworthy you are, you’ve already lost. The world is too cynical for that to work. But you can build up trust by repeatedly behaving trustworthily. … Each time you do that, your reputation for trustworthiness grows a little more.

A leading motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said: “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”

Never underestimate the importance of trust. Building trust is hard, and it takes an enormous amount of time and effort. It’s also something that founders sometimes take for granted.

Trust is the grease that makes the economy run. You can’t exchange money for goods or services without trusting people first. It’s even worse to trade nonexistent money (credit) for things you want. So trust is not just an important part of business, it’s absolutely necessary.

Trust is fast becoming the currency of the new world economy. It’s what allows buyers and sellers to connect instantly through the internet without resorting to lawyers, contracts and transactions. But trust is also a currency you can create for yourself, both online and offline.

How to build trust that last and brings in customers:

Experience sharing. Give customers, potential customers, and the general public an experience of what your company and its products and services are. Your ‘story’ is your opportunity to tell an experience of your company, its products and services. Whenever you talk about your company, who you are, what you do, why you do it, who uses it, etc. if you include enough of the story, you will be giving out part of an experience. That is what we call experiential marketing. Experiential marketing is any marketing effort intended to create an experience for the customer. The intention of experiential marketing is to create a positive association with a brand or product by immersing people in a brand experience.

Build a reputation.

Your company can be many things, but its core value is always based on an intangible: a unique collection of people and the relationships they have with other people. These relationships — and not products, financing or profits — define who you are. A company’s primary objective is to create value for its customers. That value can take many forms, including leisure time saved, money saved, health improved. It is irrelevant whether the company actually sells the product, or instead leases it. It is irrelevant whether the company buys components externally or produces them in-house. What matters is how customers perceive their needs being filled.

The paradox of reputation is that it’s about others valuing you, but it’s also about you valuing yourself. If you don’t believe in your own worth, no one else will either. And yet reputation is like any currency: if you hoard it, it may lose its value. The best form of currency is not savings but spending — using the currency you’ve earned to transact business even with people who don’t yet know or trust you. The more you spend your currency, the more valuable it becomes.

Be transparent and honest consistently

People crave authenticity and honesty. So, instead of building your company with advertising, you want to build it with integrity. A business built on integrity will win loyalty and longevity by gaining and retaining customers for life.

When you consider that just a 5% increase in customer retention can boost your profits by as much as 95% the rewards for gaining and maintaining customer trust are massive.

Customer trust is the foundation of long-term customer relationships. Trust in your company, in your capabilities, in your promises, in your assurances. And most especially trust in you, the individual you are when dealing with customers face-to-face or on the phone or online.

Business Strategist, Building Products for companies using Web and Mobile technologies. Fractional CMO.