In No One Do We Trust

In No One Do We Trust

The figures are shocking.  Less than 25% of Americans trust the federal government to do the right thing, according to a recent Pew survey.  And it’s not just Uncle Sam. Approximately a quarter of the U.S. population has no religious affiliation.  One-third of Americans don’t trust the media to tell the truth, reaching a historic high, according to Gallup.

Marketing guru Seth Godin has written that trust is the hardest thing in business to earn.  So how to you earn the trust of your customers, team members and prospects?  David Brooks, in a recent New York Times editorial provides a roadmap.  

Trust your employees by letting the manage their own schedules and work on their own terms.  This is one of the lessons that the pandemic has taught.  You can trust your team to get the job done, recognizing that it may not be getting done 9-5.  

Be more human.  This is a generational difference, claims Brooks.  Those more than 45 years of age were raised to separate personal and professional life.  Those less than 45 just the opposite.  They bring their entire emotional package to the showroom.  Many expect owners to take an interest in their health, welfare and emotional stability.  Research at Northwestern University found that negotiators who spend only five minutes chatting about nonwork stuff before a negotiation felt more cooperative, shared more information and developed more trust in subsequent communications.

Eliminate back channel condemnations.  Prohibit your team from posting negative comments and opinions about other team members, projects, clients, et. al. on social media platforms.  If someone has a problem with someone else or a project, sit down face-to-face to discuss and seek a resolution.

Don’t over-value transparency.  It’s not true that people will trust you if you make your organization’s operations more transparent to outsiders.  That being said, recognize there is a difference between honesty and transparency.  Your clients don’t necessarily care about the processes used to select a cabinet line.  They want to know that you will direct them to the cabinet line that best suits their needs.

Don’t allow cliques in your organization.  They are bound to be viewed with trepidation by those not in the clique.

Take advantage of mistakes.  Mistakes are trust-making opportunities provided there is accountability for the shortcoming, the lessons learned are clearly articulated and there is a call to action to prevent recurrences.  Brooks notes that prosperous times can undermine trust if leaders self-promote.

Admit social ignorance.  Regardless of intellect, experience or position, it’s difficult to read someone’s mind or determine what they are thinking.  Your team, clients, subs and others will not trust you if they do not believe you hear them or see their perspective.  The solution is to constantly ask what they are thinking and what problems are they facing. 

Delegate authority and power.  There is no better way to earn trust among your team members than to trust them with authority and decision making.

Recognize skeptics.  There are those you interact with who will be naturally distrustful. Constantly show up for them even if they don't trust you.  

Kitchen and bath showrooms can build trust with consumers by effectively managing customer expectations, making it easy to do business with them at every stage in the customer journey and to deliver a level of customer service not readily available at competitors.


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