Building relationships based on trust with your customers calls for a very specific focus in the people and teams of an organisation; having a highly competitive culture driven to deliver profits as the primary success measure and driver, will not allow employees to think of their customers and their relationships with them as important over the long term. Employees who are going to be measured by the new business they win or deliver in the short term, will find it hard to generate behaviours that will build relationships over the long term. Hence, they will fail to build either deep or long-term trust.
For Trust Success as an organisation you need to recognise, acknowledge and communicate to your employees that you’re not in business solely to make money, but actually to deliver your unique value/contribution and to help your customers. Money is a byproduct of success, not the other way around.
If an organisation and its employees become customer focused, the relationships formed should develop a collaborative nature whereby your expertise and the customers’ needs, work together to reach solutions and benefits that are better than either working on their own. The combined intelligence of both parties – your employees and their customers will deliver better results and trust will be generated as a side benefit.
Customers do not always like to be lead by experts they hire – they want to feel equal in a partnership, even if they’re paying for that expertise.
Openness and transparency are vital to forming and maintaining trust. Speaking the truth and inviting truthful and open communications between parties is very important to forming real relationships between people. If people cannot be truthful when things are not right, or something is going badly, then honest conversations cannot be had, and trust will break down. Also openness means not keeping secrets or trying to hide something from others. In President Barack Obama’s campaign of 2008 the term “transparency,” was continually stressed as for him, being open and visible without hidden agendas was significant.
Trust Success also means taking a long term perspective with regards to the relationships you are forming. In organisational terms this means being aware that you are building your Brand Trust and this cannot be formed in the short term. You are building client relationships that may last beyond the current incumbents in a business, and also may mean acquiring new customers when current employees in your customers move on. You need to be thinking about your business in terms of relationships and not simple transactions. Most sales models are inherently transactional, with a lead and a close. But teams and organisations need to think about their business in a more medium- to long-term perspective, with an ongoing, ever-flowing cycle, to be developing a relationship of trust.
Trust is a major factor of successful relationships and successful organizations. It is as easy to build trust as to break trust, though the ramifications are as positive on the up side where trust is present, as it’s negative on the downside, where trust is absent.
The need to build and cultivate solid relationships is vital not only for success but also survival. Organizations are facing some of the biggest challenges of the last 25 years thanks to the economic climate of the past few years; and it is now, that organizations will be confronting how many of the business relationships they’d previously established are there to support them in the critical times. Thinking and planning for the long term are vital ingredients to build a culture in which relationships and trust can thrive.
7 October 2014