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March 22, 2013

Trust Fail Economy

March 22, 2013
Do your customers trust what you're saying? If the latest research has anything to say about it, the answer is sadly probably no.

"Seventy percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, but only 10% trust advertising, according to a new report from Forrester Research." - Todd Wasserman, Mashable
Forget about a trust fall, this is a trust fail economy.

To build trust you need to of course cover basics like deliver on what you promise and have great products and services, but there are other x factors that can give you a trust edge.
Stop the micro-focus on selling, and start being.
Most businesses have a written mission and vision statement, and rarely do they focus on the bottom line. Still, we've talked with a lot of businesses who respond with "To make money," to the question, "Why do you exist?" It's a unsurprising byproduct of a long economic downshift that people had to get laser focused on the numbers to survive, and one that hasn't let go.

If a leadership team is only talking about sales, then it might be time to revisit those mission and vision statements. Be a whole brand–one that has a great team and participates in communities larger than your sales floor. Don't get me wrong, selling isn't bad, but if that's all you do, that's just boring. Which leads me to the next point...
Do a little good.

You care about something. Your employees probably care about a lot of things. Connect with some of those, pick some causes, rally around them.

At the recent IBJ Tech Breakfast, the CMO of Exact Target Tim Kopp summed this up nicely: "Serving is the new selling." Amen.

Admit it, you've messed up before.
I think part of the current trust fail is that our fear of appearing vulnerable is so great, we can't admit if we've been wrong. There's something wildly liberating about owning up and moving on. People can relate to and respect this level of honesty. The earned trust will transfer over to everything else.
The Contrarian's Guide to Trust.
In the quest to win a deal, it's easy to try to fit your square product or service into a round hole. If what you have to offer doesn't fill the need, say so. Seriously. Say no. No can be refreshing in an endless sea of yes. People begin to understand you're not the type to try and pull the wool over their eyes. "No" has an uncanny power to build trust. 

It isn't all doom and gloom. While you're working in the trenches, trying to earn trust, don't forget the first half of that statement. 70% of consumers trust a friend's recommendation. If you're not thinking about how to earn referrals from your best customers, it might be time to start.


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