Trust. Let’s face it, people prefer and want to work with people who are honest, whom they believe and whom they can trust. We’ve seen a lot of businesses get this one wrong and underestimate the value of trust. Sometimes by over committing and not actually being able to deliver or playing the “fake it til you make it” game and believing their own perceived greatness instead of putting in the work to make it “real.”

Admittedly, it’s difficult to work with or be around people whom you don’t trust. If you feel like someone may steer you in the wrong direction, you’re just not likely to trust him/her with $[insert any amount] to handle your business. People want to do business with those who are tried and trusted. This is why referrals are so critical because you have someone else saying, “I endorse you. I trust this person to do a great job for you.” (And this is exactly why we don’t take – or give – referrals lightly!)

Here are three ways that trust comes into play:

Disclosure (Be Professional!)
From a PR perspective, this is where communication style is important as well. Your message should match your true intentions (we wanted to say “heart” but didn’t want to get all sappy on you!).

People who don’t believe you or trust you won’t purchase from you. It’s really that simple. Does this mean an untrustworthy person won’t make any sales? No. Some people are good at tricking people so they’ll make a few sales, and there are those who may purchase out of curiosity, however, neither will last.

Always be clear about what you can and cannot do. Share what you know about your service and product. Here’s a good example regarding disclosure of relationships involving well-known and trusted, Dr. Phil and the 17-Day Diet. For some, lack of disclosure was an issue. It doesn’t mean the diet isn’t a good one and doesn’t work because someone Dr. Phil is related to was involved with publishing the book, but for many it raised some red flags.

Dr. Phil later disclosed his association though and that means there is always an opportunity to “clear things up!”

Discretion (Be Professional!)
This doesn’t mean you share everything. In some businesses, in ours for instance, we’re privy to information before the general public. For example, we may know about new products, pending patents and legal disputes before anyone else does. It’s important that this information is handled with care and discretion. Doctors, lawyers and other professionals often abide by the same code of conduct involving discretion and integrity, otherwise, it’s difficult to keep their practice or firm in business!

Some people are on a “need-to-know” basis and this has to be determined early on. Let’s say you have a new product or service in the works, you don’t have to tell everyone, however, know when to solicit feedback and let people in. This helps to establish trust as well e.g. “We’re working on a new service offering. I can’t release the details just yet but would definitely like to give you first look and get your feedback.”

On the flip side, keep in mind  and know when public, social media channels may not be the right tool for a “private, invite-only party.”

Keep It Real (Be You)
A week or two ago we tweeted, “There’s fake until you make it and then there’s lying – know the difference.” For us, “fake it ‘til you make it’ is about getting over the fear of success or going ahead and doing it (whatever “it” is) scared. For instance, perhaps you’re nervous to go on television, but what’s the only thing that’s going to actually get you comfortable in front of the camera? Aside from practicing, it’s going on TV! You may not feel fully confident, but you’ll muster up the courage to do it and that will carry you through until the next time…when you are more confident and comfortable.

Another example would be “dressing for the job you want, not the one you have.” Aside from good image-building and basic grooming, this is a smart thing to do and helps again, to build confidence. Look good, feel good.

If there’s any “faking it until you make it” well, “keeping it real” involves not getting too full of yourself and believing your own hype to the point that you don’t build the foundation necessary to get you beyond…faking it!

We really advocate “keeping it real.” Instead of focusing on faking it until you make it, own it and make it happen! It works well personally and you’ll find that it also works well in business. People have instincts, that gut feeling about people, and when you keep it real, this shows your true personality, establishes authentic rapport and helps to build trust.

Have you ever ignored your better judgment and worked with someone you didn’t trust? How does trust apply to your business?

Know. Like. Trust. Remember these three words as you build relationships with your customers and clients. Any combination of two might carry you for a little while, but working on all three in your business is beneficial for long-term relationship-building and growth!

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