When I think about growing revenue, I typically think about marketing or sales campaigns, sales training or hiring additional sales staff. Rarely have I thought about Trust. I recently read the book The Speed of Trust by Steven M. R. Covey. In it he explains the value of trust and how things run better with it and cost more without it.
That left me with two very practical applications for Sales Leaders and Business Owners:
- Trust Your Customers – When you demonstrate trust, customers are more likely to reciprocate. When you demonstrate a lack of trust, they will also likely distrust you. The result is a longer sales process with more chance of losing the business or longer contract negotiations with more substantail attorney fees. Over my banking career, I have personally seen loan closings go from a single signature on a simple one-page note to an inch thick stack of papers, signed, notarized and witnessed. Think about the cost of doing business today versus just a few years ago when the paperwork was simple. Think about the change in customer satisfaction during this same timeframe. While some added paperwork may be necessary in today’s environment, how do you keep it simple, friendly, and demonstrate trust of your customer or prospect?
- Trust Your Employees – Creating trust between you and your employees begins with you extending trust. If a leader assumes trust (something to be lost versus earned), then employees are much more likely to behave in trusted ways. Rarely have I found employees that come to work wanting to dissappoint the boss. If the boss chooses to trust them, they are likely to work very hard to retain that trust. However, if the boss assumes everyone is dishonest or trying to beat the system, the employee will likely assume that is the normal practice around here and some percentage will behave accordingly. I know that I personally enjoy myself much more in a work setting where I choose to trust people, give them the benefit of the doubt, and don’t spend my time trying to inspect everything because of a lack of trust.
There is a HIGH cost to LOW trust in lost productivity, extended sales processes, and in hiring additional people to monitor your distrusted personnel. However the opposite is true of a trusting environment.
So start building your trusting environment by following these 3 steps:
- Exemplify someone who can be trusted. Do what you say and when you committed. When you are wrong admit it and recognize who helped you gain this new insight. Allow others the same priviledge and you will see fear and distrust dissipate.
- Demonstrate you trust your employees by including them in important decisions, asking for their input, allowing teams to self-govern, and ensuring that your team understands that getting there the correct way (no unscrupulous shortcuts) is more important than a quick win.
- Demonstrate that you trust your customers. Take them at their word when they have an issue with your product. Assume that they are right and quickly correct the problem. If it is user error, correct them with grace and style, never being the one to point out that you were right and they were wrong. Trust me, all of us can figure that out on our own. Simplify your contracts and agreements. Do business on a handshake where possible. Even when it is challenging or difficult, keep your word, stand behind your product, guarantee it, provide a full refund or partial refund if necessary.
When what you say and what you do aligns, you are creating trust. Start teaching your team to behave this way and watch your profits improve.
If you would like help in building trust into your company or programs, give us a call and we will commit to helping you make Visible Progress.