How to Build Trust with Customers

Mistrust is at an all-time high, and the simple truth is, if your prospective customers do not trust you, they will not buy from you.

Building trust and credibility through your processes is actually really really simple if you understand who you are, what you stand for, and what you do and don’t do. Look at everyone that you’re trying to connect with. What do they care about? What do they love? What are their motivations? All these things tie into building trust. If you can simply connect the dots between the people that you’re going after and who you are, you’ll build trust.

When you connect with someone on a story level, on an emotional level, and on a needs level, they will very quickly extend trust to you. They will come at you with scrutiny because you are saying the things that they need to hear. You are able to help them through their journey. Trust is naturally given at a very, very high level. Most people don’t even realize that, to begin with, because they’re too busy thinking about themselves, never considering what the people on the other side of the table want, need, or desire.

Too many people focus on me, me, me. They never even enter into that conversation with immediate trust. They’re making bold-faced claims that have no basis and don’t stand up to scrutiny. That’s one great way to lose trust with people.

The first step to build trust is to recognize who you are and who they are. Connecting those dots will give you 90 percent of the trust that you need right out of the gate. Then once you have that trust built and that connection made, you have to do everything within your power to hold on to it.

Second, be consistent. Don’t give one set of pricing and then another set of pricing without any rationale. You say one thing one day and then something else the next, and you don’t even remember that you’ve changed your story. Well, which one is it? Have a reason behind everything you do, and explain that reason to people. You will build so much credibility and trust if you do the things that you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to follow up Friday, follow up Friday, even if that follow-up is “Hey, I said I would follow up today. I’m so sorry, I’ve gotten slammed. Can we connect on Monday?” There’s nothing wrong with that. That builds trust and credibility with the people that you’re working with.

Third, you have to be super transparent. Don’t try to hide everything all the time. People can sense when things are going wrong. So tell them, “Things are really crazy. Things are going wrong. Here’s how we plan to save it.” Be open with the people that you’re working with. Studies show that when something goes wrong, the way the company handles it is more important than the thing going wrong, to begin with. Be transparent and be open. Have a reason for everything. I already touched on this a little bit. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you do have to have all the reasons. If you are an expert, if you are the person who does this particular thing for a living, then there should be a rationale for your process and why you think what you think. It’s not about being right or wrong; it’s about ensuring that you’re communicating to people the reason you’re doing what you’re doing, why it’s important, and how it helps them. That builds so much credibility and trust.

Frankly, most people under-communicate. Most people don’t really want to explain too much. They’re terrified that somehow their competition is going to steal all their information and replicate it. They are too busy. They’re overwhelmed. They don’t follow up. They don’t take the time that they need to treat every single conversation as what it is—a ticking time bomb where things can go wrong and all of your credibility can be wiped out.

You have to focus on communications. You have to be open. You have to explain exactly what you’re doing and why. Now, of course, most people who talk about credibility and trust are going to tell you to focus on social proof and customer reviews. They’re going to say, “Make sure that you have a website that looks good, and you have your picture there, and you have a team and an address and presence.” All of those things play into credibility, of course, but more important to that are the people side of things that I just mentioned. Focus some time on getting better at this. Just see how dramatic it is to the person sitting across from you. It’s not only about building trust; it’s about maintaining and keeping that trust because that is ultimately how you build long-term high-value clients and how you scale and grow your business.