Board meeting hand shake

All healthy, long-lasting customer relationships are based on trust, integrity and mutual respect.

In our private lives, keeping a promise is seen as something sacred. We swear to cross our hearts, hope to die, and stick needles in our eyes before breaking that trust. But what about in the business world? Do customers have faith that companies will keep their promises? Just how strong is that bond of trust?

If you look at some of the recent studies on trust in business, it’s clear that, on the whole, companies have a long way to go. Salesforce’s most recent Trends in Customer Trust study, for example, shows that 54% of customers don’t believe companies have their best interests in mind. And that has real consequences for the business. That same study found that 95% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust, and 92% are more likely to purchase additional products and services from trusted businesses. Just as important, 93% are more likely to recommend a company they trust.

Strong Customer Relationships are Built on Trust

All healthy, long-lasting customer relationships are based on trust, integrity and mutual respect. The customer has to trust that the company—and every person who is part of the customer experience—will keep its promises. As Gallup points out in its publication The Real Future of Work: The Trust Issue, “In a globalized, highly interconnected world, trust is more important than ever to business success and sustainability over the long term. More than ever, integrity is the ultimate brand attribute.” And more than ever, keeping promises is everyone’s job.

Trust-building is a process that begins with first impressions and goes all the way through the customer relationship. For people in sales roles, this means that they have to be able to validate themselves, the products and services they’re representing, and the organization throughout the buying/selling journey. Any time trust and confidence are missing, the chances for a sale are weakened.

This process of validation is about answering the questions in the customers’ minds:

  • Can I believe and trust you?
  • Can I have confidence in the value of your product or service?
  • Can I be assured that your organization will stand behind this sale?

Start With a Focus on Customer Value Creation

How do you build trust and demonstrate to customers that you’re the kind of company that keeps its promises? It starts when everyone sees themselves as value creators.

When people view their jobs through the lens of how their actions impact customer value creation, it makes things like keeping promises, acting with integrity and treating people with mutual respect a way of doing business. As Gallup puts it, “If a company exists to improve the life of its customers, violating their trust or harming their communities through unethical behavior becomes not just a moral issue, but a strategic concern.”

Here are just a few of the ways a focus on value creation brings out the best in your people and your business:

  1. A healthy view of selling unconsciously validates your salespeople to your customers. Salespeople who believe that their job is to create value for their customers will view selling as serving, helping and focusing on solutions. This is a very healthy view of selling, and one that builds customer trust almost by definition. It’s also the hallmark of highly successful salespeople who enjoy long-term, mutually respectful client relationships.
  2. A focus on customer value creation results in stronger confidence and sense of purpose. When people focus on identifying and filling customer needs with the objective of creating more and better value, they’ll have higher energy and confidence, and a stronger sense of purpose.
  3. Values and attitudes are projected to customers. People tend to form pretty quick impressions of others. That’s why the old saying is true: The best way to get people to trust you is to be someone they can trust. When your behavior shows that you believe in the importance of integrity and have a genuine desire to create value, others will intuitively feel your sincerity.

Too many organizations are dropping the ball when it comes to keeping their promises, and yet it matters to customers now more than ever. For more on how to make sure yours is a company that customers have confidence in and know they can trust, check out these 5 ways leaders can develop a culture of trust.

About the Author
headshot for mike esterday
Mike Esterday

Partner and CEO

Mike Esterday first discovered his talent for sales when he ranked number one out of 6,000 sales professionals in his...
upward point of view on skyscrapers

Insightful Perspectives and Tips to Help You

Serve Your Customers Better
Don't Miss Out