In the business world, trustworthiness is the most important asset that your company has. Think about it, you expect your partners to trust you with their money, time and effort. You expect your clients to trust you with their personal information (especially credit card information). And you expect your employees to trust you with their future. In order for all of this to work, you need to give them a reason to trust you and to trust in your brand. Here are five methods that you can use in order to get there in no time.
1. Start with your prices
If you start lying (or at least deceiving your clients) early on, you’ll get off on the wrong foot with your target audience and might be unable to fix this trust issue in the future. A lot of businesses try to trick their audience into thinking their products are cheaper than they really are by using the 99 cents trick or by omitting cost of taxes and delivery from the product. Unless you’re dealing with a one-time purchase product (chess sets or exercise equipment), you’ll rely on return customers. This means that such tactics aren’t giving great long-term results. Even if you are in a one-purchase industry, this isn’t how you gain positive reviews and ratings.
2. Be the bearer of bad news
It’s easy to stay on people’s good side by telling them what they want to hear. However, if you want to build trust, you need to make sure that they hear even the bad news. By being the one to do so you’ll promote courage and honesty, both of which are traits that an entrepreneur needs to have. Also, if someone on your staff makes a mistake, be forthcoming about it and be the one to take the blame. After all, you’re the one who put them in a position to make this mistake, so the part of the blame is yours by default. This is what leadership is all about and leadership figures usually inspire trust.
3. Make legally binding contracts
The next thing you need to do in order to make your business appear more trustworthy is to show your partners that you aren’t afraid to sign legally binding contracts. When going into a meeting, make sure to have legal binding contract templates already printed out and make sure to present an option to your partners to sign them right away. This way, you’ll show that you have nothing to hide and that you’re not afraid to let the law govern your partnership. Also, if there’s any doubt that you’ll be able to finish the deal in time (or under agreed conditions), you can always look for surety bonds as a guarantee of your honesty.
4. Be honest with your employees
A lot of businesses function on a need-to-know basis and try to “shield” their employees from bad news. This is a bad practice that often results in a much bigger problem. First of all, deceiving your employees may be something that you’ll be legally prosecuted for, later on. Now, even if this suit is completely unfounded (even outright ridiculous), it will generate a ton of bad press that you can definitely do without. Therefore, make sure to be honest with your employees even if it means breaking the bad news (something we’ve already discussed in the second section of the post).
5. Don’t push the hype-train too far
Being misinterpreted is a phenomenon that will cause you to be at a loss even if you’re not the one to blame. Still, the business world is not a place where you can afford to put your ego first. If your audience feels cheated, they’ll start abandoning you in droves. Therefore, even if you find yourself in a scenario where you “technically” didn’t lie to them, you might end up at a net loss. The perfect example of how this works can be seen in the gaming industry. During their trailers, a lot of gaming companies use footage that doesn’t appear in-game in order to lure their audience in. The perfect example of this can be seen on the example of No Man’s Sky which received a massive backlash. Since then, a lot of companies are labeling their cinematic trailers with words “not actual in-game footage”.
As you can see, trust comes in many forms and takes place in many relations (employer-employee, brand-customer, partner-partner). Fortunately, with these five simple mechanisms, you can find a way to make your business more trustworthy in general, thus giving a boost to your overall branding, PR and corporate efficiency. All of these components are vital to your