We all know that for any business to be viable, it needs to be trusted.
Yet earning trust takes time. Just because you take out an advertisement that says ‘Trust Me’ doesn’t mean people will throng to your door.
Likewise, you can’t tell people to believe you and expect them to obey. After all, they don’t know you; and besides, we all know not to trust anyone who has to ask you to believe them. (Some of us even had to learn it the hard way.)
Consumers need to make up their own minds and with the never before seen competition of today’s marketplace, they have the luxury of choice.
How can we as small businesses understand what it takes to win consumer trust and loyalty?
In a previous blog, we’ve looked at how we demonstrate trustworthiness. We know how to provide value, for our customers and for ourselves.
But let’s take a step backwards and look at what goes through a consumers mind when he thinks about trusting you?
For starters, here are three questions. Answer these questions as it relates to your business and your customers, and you begin to anticipate needs, alleviate doubt, and are well on your way to earning your wings.
- What if I’m wrong? When you’re making a small or commodity purchase, it’s no big deal. But for the most part deciding whether or not to trust someone is a risk. What if you’re wrong? I remember when my father decided to buy his first car from a salesman he thought he could trust and ended up with a lemon. Trust is a risk, because if you’re wrong, you not only need to admit you’re wrong but impacts how you feel about your ability to make wises choices.
- What will I be giving up? We tend to think in in opposites. Win or lose? Gain or lose? When we allow someone else to influence our decision-making, are we being wise or foolish? Are we giving up control to what’s unknown? Sometimes WIFM (What’s in it for me) is a gamble. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you get it. You can’t be expert at all things. But you can do your research and take your best shot.
- Is it a two-way street? It should be, and a wise consumer knows that. The law of reciprocity works that way. A purchase is more than a dollar investment. It’s an emotional one. Consequently, he wants to know what the value he’ll be receiving with his purchase.
A final word. Trust doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. It takes time. Don’t take anything for granted. And, don’t confuse friendliness with trust. There’s a lot going on beneath the surface you know nothing about. And, don’t allow yourself to think that just because they’ve come back a couple of times, the trust is there.
Trust is a fickle friend that needs constant nurturing.
Trust easily gained is also easily lost unless you reinforce it consistently time and time again.
Trust is a feeling. When it’s earned, neither you nor your customer will need to say a word. You’ll both know it.