Building trust with your customers will make them customers for life.
No matter what else you do for your customers, you have to build trust. If you can get your customers to trust you they will stay with you for life…yes, even if you change companies.
Over the years and in many columns, we have talked about what it takes to win customers. We have talked about lead generation and prospecting and cold calling and the sales meeting and that first quote and winning the order but truth be known there is one thing that surpasses everything else. There is only one secret weapon that will guarantee you success with your customers and that thing is building trust; getting your customers to trust you with their needs, their products, their requirements, and their business. Customers need to know they can rely on you as an individual, someone who will always have their best interest at heart.
The question is how to build that trust? How to get your customers to trust you unconditionally. You can talk all you want about how trustworthy you are, you can try to show examples of how trustworthy you have been in the past but there is only one true way to convince your customers that they can trust you and that is to show them with real-life actions, to demonstrate to them through your performance that you are trustworthy. In shor,t to gain your customers’ trust you have to do it the old fashion way, you have to earn it.
Here are seven critical characteristics of a truly trustworthy person:
- Honesty: always tell to truth even when it hurts, even when you have made a mistake and you are going to look bad by admitting it. It doesn’t matter tell the truth and you will earn their respect you in the end.
- Caring: show your customers that you care. Do things for them that are thoughtful and always in their best interest. If they have a problem bring them a solution, even if that solution is not you’re your product or service and goes against what you are selling. Bringing them the right solution at the right time will always create trust.
- Credibility: Let them know that they can always rely and one what you tell them. No matter what. You want them to be able to take anything you say to the bank or in their case their upper management.
- Reliability: Always be there for your customers. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, hurricane or tornado always show up when you say you are going to. Be the most reliable vendor they have, hell, be the most reliable person they know.
- Capability: Educate yourself about their company and its’ needs. Have a great understanding of your customers so that you will be capable of meeting all of their needs. You want to be in complete control at all times. You want to make sure there is nothing left to the imagination when it comes to what your customers’ needs are and what your own company can provide to meet those needs.
- Integrity: This it could be argued is the most important characteristic of all. Conduct yourself with honesty, decency, respect, and integrity, not many people have true integrity and fewer people really know what it is. It is the ability to do the right thing at all times. It is the ability to resist the temptation to do the wrong thing. It is always doing things properly and avoiding short cuts. It means doing the one right thing that every situation demands. Once you have shown your customer that you have integrity you will have her trust for life
- Respect: Yes respect, have respect for everyone you meet. Whether it be the person on the loading dock or the president of the company always show the utmost respect for everyone, especially you meet and that goes for your customer most of all. Do not ever allow anyone in your company to ever speak badly about your customers. Whether it be verbally or in an email, stop any disrespect of your customers dead in its track. Do not tolerate anyone in your company bad-mouthing a customer. It should never be allowed. And by the way, the higher position you hold in a company that more critical it is to show your customers the respect they deserve because if you publicly disrespect a customer you are tacitly giving permission to everyone below you in the company to do the same. Always remember that without customers you do not have a business…not rocket science that.
And one more characteristic, always under-promise and over deliver so there is always one more and that one is Courage. Have the courage to be there during the hard times as well as the good times. If something goes wrong and say your company does not deliver product when it’s need thus messing up your customer’s schedule or worse yet your product gets to your customer on time but is unacceptable, then is the time to show up, it’s the time to stop whatever you are doing and get to that customer’s as quickly as you can to try to help as much as you can. Look, at that point even if all they need is a fresh live butt to kick then you be that butt. There was trouble and you came in like the stand- up person that you are and took whatever they had to dish out in their frustration at that time. Always make sure you show up in the bad times, because in the end they will always remember that you were there. And in the end, they will respect you for showing up and they will trust you like they have never trusted anyone before. It’s all about trust. It’s only common sense.