Last week, I talked to a group about the concept of trust-building.
There are several books on trust, ranging from psychology to social media to leadership. In many cases, the secret sauce for building trust is authenticity combined with accountability. However, I’ve learned that you can be yourself and perfect on the finish, but if you fail to trust others they will reciprocate by distrusting you.
Trust is a two way street, triggered by the Law Of Reciprocity. People can tell if you trust them, especially if they are your customer. You let them choose. You let them decide when to interact with you. When you begin to “act on their better interest” by taking away choice or privacy, they begin to feel like objects instead of people. And they are right.
Too many companies talk about building trust when all they care about is extracting revenue or desired outcome. To these companies, trust is one of the hurdles between product and revenue. While it’s true that trust can help overcome objections and fears, it can do so much more. Trust, if properly approached, can build a two way relationship where a customer can give you more than money. They can give you feedback or be word-of-mouse evangelists.
Companies that are sincere about trust building need to practice the fine art of letting go. Letting the customer have self-service. Letting the customer have privacy. Letting the customer contact the big cheese if they have a problem. A few years ago, I told the story about University of Texas football coach Mack Brown, who established a trust bond with his team by letting go of his conventional tastes and preferences.