April 2nd, 2009
by Pamela Sherman
At WMT, we believe the “Circle of Trust” is the wheel that makes the business world go around.
Today, the circle has been damaged, requiring added attention and healing repair.
When we look at our “Nation’s Circle of Trust,” we see critical supports that have been weakened financially, physically and emotionally -like broken spokes in a wheel. It’s no wonder, having experienced a lineage of self-serving executive leadership, financial abuses, and even terrorism, our usual sense of security and trust has suffered. Many have become fearful, feeling as though they’re traveling on shaky ground. The question is: If we don’t trust in people and form solid relationships, how will we create, innovate or develop new business and industry?… We can’t!
So, how do we take it into our own hands, to heal our “Circles of Trust” and increase our success?:
Here are some examples, while marketing your businesses on the web and beyond:
1) Pay More Attention Than Ever to Building Trust
Even though it’s not business as usual, it’s still all about PEOPLE (whether on-line, in print or in person). Because of the fragile state of the public, we need to focus on nurturing the healthiest relationships possible, using the “golden rule” with “titanium reinforcements.” Commit to being helpful, trust-worthy and real. Don’t be afraid to show valuable and distinct “human characteristics.” Show personality, be inspiring, or even humorous to put people at ease and gain their confidence. Accept responsibility for errors, solving problems equitably and quickly. (Negative news is traveling faster than ever, so be sure any mishaps are resolved and not perpetuated on the Internet or beyond). Use netiquette (net+etiquette) and don’t send newsletters or soliciting emails without permission and an “opt-out.”
2) Strengthen the Spokes of Your Business Wheel -Your “Circle of Trust”
Keep strong and healthy tenants of your business in the following areas: 1) FINANCIALLY -invest wisely in your business, don’t just spend, 2) PHYSICALLY -focus on value-based products/services and personnel, 3) EMOTIONALLY -express and embody character with emotional appeal and persuasion (ethos, pathos and logos.)
Build your “Circle of Trust” by aligning with companies and individuals of integrity. For your target market, identify and collaborate well with those who are already part of your customers’ trusted circle. Also, since the web is a low cost/no cost way to help connect and collaborate with others, create co-promotions, links, affiliations, social/professional media groups and/or fan clubs. Seek meaningful ways to build customer relationships and earn their trust. Lorrie Thomas, WMT’s Marketing Therapist, wrote in her blog about how small business owners CAN move forward in this scary climate.
3) Focus on Character and Values in Your Company Culture
Company culture is created, either by default or design. To create an optimal company culture that helps strengthen your business, outline the values you want to embody and support them in your operations, from strategy to everyday interactions. In the book, HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything…in Business (and in Life), author, Dov Seidman shares how businesses develop ethical corporate cultures and inspire principled performance.
4) Give Trust to Your Team (employees, staff, consultants, vendors, etc.)
We find that giving trust is an act of good will that encourages a higher level of caring, commitment and performance. Not to say random checks aren’t necessary to prevent anything detrimental occurring; but, expressing belief in an individual to do the “right thing,” even when no one’s looking, is valuable and spreads good emotions. It’s backed by science in part with the Cognitive Neuroscience Group in Germany. –They conducted studies that show when trust is given, a recipient’s hormone, called oxytocin is released which floods the brain with a feeling of well-being, and fear is reduced.
5) Build Trust Into Your Transactions
If customers don’t trust you, it will take longer and cost much more to attain them. (A 2002 study among 8 automakers in the US, Japan, and South Korea demonstrated this, showing that the least-trusting buyer costs 6 times the amount to attain than the most-trusting buyer.)
6) Share Knowledge, Value and Expertise
Be sure that potential customers and current customers are aware of all the expertise and value you have to offer. Sharing content and information helps to establish you as credible with authority and differentiation. You can do this in blogs, newsletters, testimonials, articles, interviews, blog-talk radio and more.