Achieving growth is often tied to one of the biggest challenges businesses face today: building trust. The presence of trust increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the business, which leads to an increase in speed and a reduction in cost. Shorter sales cycles, lower delivery cost, and a better bottom line are all potential gains from building trust. The results gained from building trust can help your business grow.
The word “building” implies that there is action to be taken and knowing where to start is the first step. Similar to a business strategy, a trust building strategy has to have specific areas of focus. The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer identified several factors involved in building current and future trust. Operational aspects, including financial performance, rank high for building current trust while future trust is built around more societal aspects like listening to customers and treating employees well. Most small business owners can resolve these two general areas into four specific trust building focus areas; Customers and Prospects, Staff, Financial, and Culture.
Shorter sales cycles, lower delivery cost, and a better bottom line are all potential gains from building trust.
- The Customer and Prospect trust building activity centers on demonstrating your business’ trustworthiness. This includes the reputation, track record, and value proposition of the business. The objective is to help prospects overcome trust obstacles and for existing customers to receive the value of the business relationship.
- The Staff trust building activity focuses on actions that can be taken that increase the trust your staff has in the business and its leadership. An emphasis in this area may be the alignment of internal resources for optimal performance and programs that build company loyalty.
- The Financial trust building activity deals with how your business both achieves and uses its financial resources. This applies to the business’ supply chain and where the business invests. A major emphasis in this trust building activity is to establish a link between the purpose of the business and the financial operations of the business.
- The Culture trust building activity relates to the internal and external character of the business. Social responsibility, community involvement, and a demonstration of values and believes become building blocks of a culture that builds trust.
The Trust building activity is not a “one and done” management exercise. Business owners are faced with daily decisions and actions that can either build or reduce trust. Elevating trust into one of the primary decision making factors your business uses in these four trust building areas will help your business benefit from higher levels of trust – which is essential for business growth.
image credit: David Castillo Dominici