Trust is at the heart of any good company

Trust is the main pillar supporting any good company. Leadership must trust the employees to take the initiative and get their jobs done. The employees must trust that leadership knows what it’s doing and is guiding the company properly. Trust keeps the organization working together and moving forward as a team.

So how do you build trust within a company? You can say “trust me” all you want, but actions always speak louder than words. Here’s seven actions that will have your team trusting in one another in no time.

The 7 steps to building trust within an organization

1. Keep your word

Warren Buffett said it best in the above video: Only hire people with intelligence, initiative and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one — integrity — “you want them lazy and dumb.” People buy from people they like and trust, and nothing builds trust like integrity.

Sometimes integrity means picking up the phone and delivering bad news, which is better than being less than truthful to soften the impact. Every buyer has been sold a bill of goods and not gotten what was promised. While you may know your integrity is off the charts, keep in mind that your customers have been burned before and are always suspicious. It’s up to you to demonstrate that you have integrity. Live up to your promises.

2. Demonstrate high moral principles

To be successful we must always do the right thing, even in morally ambiguous situations. This can mean turning down business, suggesting alternative (and less profitable) solutions, or referring business elsewhere. Customers will trust you if you have their best interests in mind. If you don’t work on building trust you are missing out on a powerful differentiator. Trust is a major part of the sales equation.

3. Manage expectations

There’s an old expression in business: “under promise and over deliver.” To do the opposite is foolhardy, and companies that go against this rule are often punished. Woody Allen once said, “80% of life is showing up.” You can build trust by consistently showing up AND honoring your commitments. Make sure our customers have clear expectations for how you operate, do what you promise and do it well.

4. No negative surprises

Avoiding last minute bad news should be one of the basics. You need to make your customers look good, and last minute negative surprises are a very bad thing. If the customer looks bad, the company looks bad. Smart teams work hard at building relationships with customers, and negatively surprising them erodes the relationship and the trust.

5. Be an expert

This should be obvious, but customers won’t trust someone who doesn’t know their stuff. As a vendor, you need to know your industry, business, competition, marketplace, customer needs, and more. This is why Marxent is choosing to focus on specific verticals like furniture, and in doing so we must be able to answer our customers questions about our products and the market. If we want to lead the way, we need to make it our business to be a source of knowledge in our areas of focus.

6. Know your benefit

To be sales winners you have to craft compelling solutions that come with real-world benefits. Proving a concrete return on investment is a great way to inspire trust in a client. Be prepared to discuss what results your customers can expect to achieve. If you can’t show how your company can positively effect a customer’s business, those customers will not trust your business sense.

7. Be yourself

Don’t be afraid to connect on a personal level, as connecting on a personal level is a critical component to building trust. Unless you’re a asshole — in which case you should find another job.