Whether you are a multinational manufacturer or a local retailer, your success depends largely on how much other people trust you. Here are 10 must-dos (and don’ts).

In a commercial setting, a lack of trust has the potential to create dramatic consequences for any business. That’s why we have compiled this list.

  1. Never expect your customer to take a risk

If you want to persuade someone to enter a deal, provide evidence of your integrity. Presenting examples of your good work with believable and genuine testimonials is a good start. But please don’t follow the examples shown on the home shopping channels that often fail the authenticity test with overblown statements and fake results.

  1. Show a strong commitment to excellent customer service

In a retail setting, ask insightful questions such as “what do you need a bike for?” instead of pitching the highest-priced item in the shop. Consumers are smart and have a good sense for honesty and integrity. Sell to them like you would give advice to a friend to win their trust and loyalty.

  1. Be convinced that your product or service is of great value

If it is not the case, improve it. There is no point in trying to win the trust of clients if you don’t trust your own products. If you are in retail, source the best product available. If you provide a service ask yourself, what can I do better? Your capacity to sell and promote will increase significantly if you are absolutely confident your product is the best money can buy.

  1. Be transparent and tell the truth

Don’t try to push customers with fabricated stories into a deal by stating “this offer will expire tomorrow” or “be quick this is the last one we have in stock”. Successful businesses are built on establishing a customer base, not on short-term wins. Shoppers can easily detect desperate attempts to close a deal and will not want to make a commitment under pressure.

  1. Don’t try to cover up your mistakes

If you have something to hide, you probably not deserve to be trusted. To be wrong, to make mistakes is human and you can expect more understanding if you take the blame instead of denying it or by shifting the blame to someone else. Businesses who are open to acknowledge their mistakes enjoy more trust because they show that they are able to reflect on their faults and are willing to improve.

  1. Promise to return the money

That goes for other forms of reimbursements if your service or product does not measure up to expectations. This commitment to quality will have an impact on your perceived trustworthiness. But be aware that there are some businesses that exploit the laziness of customers to return a dodgy product. Be different and let your customer know about it.

  1. Be consistent in the way you represent and conduct business

People like to deal with predictable partners because no one likes surprises in the commercial setting. If you have to introduce change, let partners and customers know before you announce it to give them the chance to provide feedback or to opt out. 

  1. Listen to your customers

It is always a good idea to ask how you can enhance your products or service. Firstly, it tells you how to increase the value of your business to the customer, secondly you show that you care about them. People who know that you care will trust you. And they will tell others about it.

  1. Live and breathe your values

If your business wants to appeal to people who have a strong commitment to social justice or the environment, you should also conduct your business in adherence to these values. You can’t win the trust of this target group if you underpay your staff or source your products from companies that contradict these values by their actions. 

  1. Give back to your community

People honour it when individuals do things that improve the living standards of their local community. That does not require a lot of money but a little bit of creativity and some research. Find out what the issues in your community are and come up with an initiative or event that ideally involves some assets of your business.