Trust: Why You Need It and How to Get It

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“Trust is the currency of business.” That’s the conclusion in the book, The Trust Edge by David Horsager.  (Mr. Horsager shared his book with me as he’s an upcoming guest on Marketing Made Simple TV. Business book authors are popular guests on Marketing Made Simple TV.) Since trust is so important to business leaders today, I wish to share some insights with you.

Why should you care about trust?

Horsager points out that “In one of the largest and most extensive studies of its kind, Watson Wyatt studied 12,750 workers in all major industries and work levels. According to the study, “Companies with high trust levels generate total returns to shareholders almost three times the level of companies with low trust.”

What the heck is trust?

Clearly, high levels of trust improve bottom-line results, but what’s the definition of trust? Again, let’s use the definition from the book The Trust Edge. Trust is demonstrated when three things are done:

  • Doing what is right
  • Delivering what is promised
  • Being the same every time, regardless of circumstances

Another top expert, Don Peppers of the Peppers and Rogers Group, says that in this world of social media and instant communications, resistance is futile. No one is fooled. So you need to really embrace trust, as he explained in his great book, Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage. Watch Don on Marketing Made Simple TV here.

Don also believes that companies need to show a human face and admit mistakes in order to garner trust.

In one famous case, Domino’s Pizza put a billboard in Times Square with a live Twitter feed. If someone tweeted “This Domino’s pizza is awesome!” it went up in Times Square. But if someone tweeted “This Domino’s pizza sucks. Cold and cardboard. #FAIL” that went up in Times Square too. Domino’s decided honesty was the best policy and stopped trying to control negative comments.

There is a lesson for you here. Be honest and don’t fear negative comments. Instead embrace them, as Domino’s did.

How can you embrace trust in your business?

One of the first things I suggest you do is watch “5 Ways a B2B Marketer Should Act Like a B2C Marketer” with Paul Dunay, Global VP of Marketing at Maxymizer. (It includes a great offer of a Marketing Syllabus from show sponsor Eloqua, too.) Paul’s tips include rethinking website design (he argues that traditional B2B website design is obsolete), allowing feedback, reorganizing content and more. He believes B2B websites need to become more like B2C websites — simple, clear and obvious.

I also suggest you watch Don Peppers discuss Extreme Trust on Marketing Made Simple TV.

For more good tips, the author shares 15 Tips for a Trusted Online Presence. (There are a lot of similarities to the Paul Dunay advice on Marketing Made Simple TV.) I share this list of 15 ways to be trusted online:

  1. Be simple and clear.  Look at Google’s site. People use it because it is simple. Cut the distractions. Make sure people understand clearly what you offer. (Mr. Dunay stated that the traditional design of B2B websites – rotating hero image, tabs and customer logos is out of date and needs to change. He believes they need to become simple and clear as well.)
  2. Be informative. People want solutions. Big fresh information on concrete ways to solve problems.
  3. Make it easy to contact you. Show contact information clearly. Provide a phone number that actually gets answered along with a street address, rather than a P.O. Box. It goes a long way to gaining trust with the public if they can genuinely access you.
  4. Show real people. Pictures that show your people, customers, or offices all help build trust in an anonymous web world. Stories and testimonials make it even more personal. (A great example of a company that does this is the supply chain software firm, Kinaxis. Check out their management team here. Every image is a smiling man or woman — smiling, happy people.)
  5. Be a member of credible groups and show their logo. Being a member of the Better Business Bureau reveals you have been audited by a trusted, unbiased outside organization and you are committed to operating by a code of ethics. Showing your site is VeriSign protected gives customers buying confidence. Showing the logo of trusted associations or partners gives your site accountability and a foundation for trust.
  6. Show your history. “Since 1962” shows history and builds credibility.
  7. Use true client testimonials. The more credible the client, the more trusted the testimonial. Get permission to use real names and companies. Consider using a few short video testimonials also. (Mr./Ms. CEO, this is your job. Go make this happen!)
  8. Include a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section. Anticipate questions that potential customers might have. An FAQ section can engage potential buyers and give them answers that take them to the next level. It will also cut down on the buyer’s need to contact you.
  9. Respond quickly. Expectations are high for quick responses in the online world. Get back to people quickly on their questions or needs. (No matter if they call, email, fax, DM or contact you via Twitter;  communications today take many forms.)
  10. Confirm it. If someone signed up for a newsletter or bought a product, make sure a confirmation is sent to them. It will put them at ease to know they gave their email address to someone who will actually deliver the information promised.
  11. Keep in touch. After the transaction, let the customer know you still care. Capitalize on the recent purchase or inquiry by sending valuable and pertinent information. This also helps them confirm in their minds that they made a good decision to choose your company. It might bring them back again.
  12. Avoid too much advertising. Using your site to advertise too much is a turn-off. Give real solutions, real value and real testimonials. (How much is too much? More than one tiny ad is too much.)
  13. Update often. People will feel you are active and competent if you are updating your site. An old site dissolves trust. (A weekly update is a bare minimum. Our blog, Fearless Competitor, publishes every day, which is one of the reasons Buyzone named it the Top B2B marketing blog of 2012.)
  14. Have and display a strong privacy policy. People look for this before they submit their personal information.
  15. Offer a generous return policy. When perceived risk is lower, willingness to participate or buy goes up.

What do you think about the need for trust today? I’d love to hear from you.

Lead nurturing webinar: Attend Jeff Ogden’s upcoming RainToday webinar on December 4, 2012, 2:00 p.m. ET — Nurture Leads and Sell More: How to Earn Buyers’ Trust and Grow Your Revenue.

Resources used in this article:

Jeff Ogden, president of Find New Customers and the creator and host of Marketing Made Simple TV , is an award-winning B2B marketing expert. He was named a top 25 Sales Influencer for 2012 by OpenView Labs. He was also named one of the Top 50 Most Influential in Sales Lead Management by the Sales Lead Management Association. And his blog was named the top B2B blog of 2012 by BuyerZone. 

 

Comments

By Jeff Ogden

Thanks for sharing this post, Sandhill.com. I’d love to hear from people. Please comment here or send an email to jeff dot ogden at findnewcustomers.com.

By Jason Mills

Jeff, thanks for the great reminder on the value of trust.

An idea I am looking to explore further is establishing mutual trust. It can be difficult to get prospective clients to reciprocate with the same commitment and level of effort such as: openness of dialog, access to information, meeting established deadlines, time commitments, etc . People and companies have much higher standards & expectations for their prospective vendors than they have for themselves and yet don’t see or care about the hypocrisy or irony.

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