It’s Time to Stop Selling and Start Proving We Can Be Trusted


It’s Time to Stop Selling and Start Proving We Can Be Trusted

The modern customer respects actions far more than words and we need to start proving we can be trusted.

Up until a few years ago anyone talking about their business in any shape or form would go to great lengths to explain how perfect it was and by association how perfect they were.We were encouraged to believe that it would be madness to take our business anywhere but to them. And to a large degree, we believed everything we were told, or at least we tried to believe it.

The thought of a business owner talking about their mistakes, their ongoing issues, their insecurities and their failings–and then expecting us to buy from them was pretty much crazy talk. But not any more.

In fact, we have gone in the exact opposite direction. We are reading books about vulnerability, we are listening to talks showcasing an entrepreneurs never ending list of faults and failings and we are being driven by emotive words like kindness, generosity and trust.

A lot of this is because our BS detectors are highly tuned these days. We no longer believe the stories of perfection. And any business that tries too hard to tell us how perfect they are is likely to be put under extreme scrutiny.

If it doesn’t stack up, through social media and word of mouth from those within our community, look out.

So what does this mean for business owners today? It means you have to be prepared to write and talk about yourself and your business in a very open and honest way.

You need to be able to admit what you are good at and what you are not good at, share your story, the good bits and tough bits and you need to rely on others saying the right things about you and ensuring what you say and what they say aligns.

Most importantly of all, you need to develop a reputation that others will trust. And this isn’t something that you can turn on in a couple of days. To really build trust takes years, in many cases a lifetime–and it can be lost in a heartbeat.

How do we build trust? Here are a few really straight-forward and proven ideas:

  1. Deliver what you promise–always.
  2. Treat every single person you meet with respect.
  3. Play a proactive role in your community – it’s not just about money.
  4. Build a reputation for being fair, which means you don’t have to win every encounter.
  5. Be careful whom you associate with if you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas.
  6. Think before you post – this, of course, can apply to ‘talk’, ‘write’ or ‘press send’
  7. Proudly support your industry – don’t be one of those people who does nothing but complain about everyone else in their industry.
  8. Act consistently all of the time (ideally consistently nice).
  9. Be really generous.
  10. Share your failings as much as your strengths.

Really the bottom line is that we should all be doing our best to make sure we never give anyone a reason to lose their trust in us. Now these suggestions might sound simple, and they are, but we need to treat them with respect because they are powerful.

Combine these trust building concepts and you really will be trusted, but you have to do them with authenticity. You can’t fake trust.

Originally published on INC.COM

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