Four steps to building trust in your business

Are you frustrated by a lack of business success? Have you got your product or service right, but the money’s not coming in? Learn why trust is the key to growing sales, and the four steps to building it.

Trust is one of the most under-rated business qualities. But, as Jo-Ann Hamilton from SecretBirds explains, it’s fundamental to growing sales. You can follow all the proven ‘how-to’ guides to building a profitable business you like, but if you haven’t laid the all-important foundations of trust, don’t be surprised if the expected sales don’t follow.

To help you grow a business that doesn’t just make sales, it attracts them, read the four steps to building trust in your business.

We buy from people we like and trust

It’s a simple fact that people often do business with people they like and trust – people who have proven over time that they are honest, and have steadily followed through on their words.

If you want to build a bevy of loyal, long term clients, the magic is in the trust. And the more emotionally attached we are to a product or service, the deeper the level of trust we need. This is why we put considerable effort into buying our homes, for example, because it is a highly emotional product.

The four steps to building trust in your business

But trust isn’t something you can magic up overnight. It cannot be accelerated or fast-tracked; it takes time and patience.

To help you learn how to build trust in your own business, I’ve identified four important steps you need to take. And the first lies not in what you are doing or selling but, more fundamentally, in you yourself.

1) Trust yourself

You won’t get far in business without self-belief. As Honore de Balzac says, “When you doubt your power, you give power to doubt.”

People who operate from fear don’t believe that they are meant to be happy. And in the case of entrepreneurs, they may not believe that they are worthy of anyone purchasing their products. As a result, self-sabotage and impostor syndrome are constant themes in their lives.

So it’s important that you believe in yourself. After all, you can’t expect anyone else to trust you enough to buy from you if you don’t trust yourself! Trust in yourself says openly ‘I am trustworthy’. It says that your capabilities are enough and are of a great service to the world.

So how can you learn to trust yourself? It starts with eliminating self-hate and building confidence in your ability, your truth and your own values. Appreciate that your unique story is enough, and believe that you can live by your own rules.

Also, recognise that your rules are based on your definition of integrity. Jenn Aubert, CoFounder and CEO of Learn Savvy, a platform for female entrepreneurs to learn, teach, connect and inspire, has written a book titled, Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Ready! Set! Launch!. The book explores the common traits and behaviours of successful women entrepreneurs through interviews, and it’s a great resource for understanding how trust in yourself creates and generate success.

2) Attract trust

The Law of Universal Attraction, states that “The essence of that which is like unto itself is drawn.” Abraham Hicks expands this thought further by saying, “That what I think and what I feel and what I get are always a match.”

Put into context here, this means that once you have deemed yourself trustworthy, you are a medium for trust. You are now a class act and only attract those who are worthy of your time, energy and special entrepreneurial gift.

When you trust and believe in yourself, you’ll find that a constant flow of trustworthy people will come into your life, and it can feel like everyone wants to do business with you – they sense that you will act with honour and self-respect.

It’s also important to maintain this momentum by ensuring you develop and maintain your personal standards. Monica Mehta, author of The Entrepreneurial Instinct: How Everyone Has the Innate Ability to Start a Successful Small Business is a powerful example of how entrepreneurs use brain chemistry to generate success.

The brain chemical oxytocin (also known as the trust hormone) has been proven to foster connections and deep bonds. The more you attract trustworthy individuals, the more likely you are able to cultivate relationships which will grow organically and have a positive impact on your business.

3) Communicate trust

According to Yehuda Berg, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”

Creating credibility and believability to your potential customers requires trusting communication. And to start, you need to listen to your current customers. By listening you will learn what they expect of and from you, and this in turn will enable you to communicate directly on issues relevant to them.

Hone your message, ensure that it’s interesting and use as many platforms as possible to convey it. Say it over and over again, and keep saying until you are tired of hearing it. This empowers you in the process because you now embody the message (the brand). Think of it as a business affirmation. Your potential customers are also observing from a distance, patiently watching you unfold your trusting communication.

And don’t forget to express gratitude, because saying “Thank you” is simple but speaks volumes when communicating. Susan Gunelius, Founder and Editor in Chief of on-line publication Women on Business and the CEO and President of communications agency KeySplash Creative, has a blog dedicated to marketing communications, which includes helpful hints and tools to aid in communicating your style to your market.

4) Display trust

Zig Ziglar famously once said, “If people like you, they will listen to you but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”

This is the final stage in the trust process, and your opportunity to proudly demonstrate your trust. This is where you align your actions with your communicative methods and are transparent in your operations. Trustworthy businesses don’t conceal their practices, but instead are open about what they do.

So be both proactive and responsive in your activities, and constantly forthcoming. Your business should always be a few steps ahead, over-delivering and following up expeditiously while always being helpful, considerate and empathetic.

As a communicator you are the message, but as a displayer you are now the messenger and purveyor of all things trusting. In Deborah Meaden’s book Common Sense Rules she highlights common sense as being the least common commodity amongst entrepreneurs. And as an entrepreneur you know that the common sense thing to do is show up in earnest to display your trust.

Build trust, and the sales will follow

Take the time to earn trust in your business, and you’ll reap the rewards of your efforts. On the foundations of a loyal, trusting fan base you can build a profitable, personally rewarding business.

But remember, trust takes time, so don’t be frustrated if it doesn’t happen straight away. Get it right and you will get there, I promise.

Need more help to troubleshoot your business? Read five ways to get to the root of your business’ problems.

Jo-Ann A Hamilton, is the founder of SecretBirds, an enterprise, which encourages, supports and empowers girls and women through entrepreneurship.