Every entrepreneur wants to build a brand that inspires confidence, quality and reliability, knowing that customers’ belief in your product or service translates into revenue. In short, people put their money where their trust is. But trust can be a fickle thing. It can be difficult to earn and even then, requires constant maintenance. And if that trust is shattered, it can mean the end of an enterprise.
CLARITY: According to Horsager, people trust the clear and they mistrust or distrust the ambiguous. “If it’s a sales person who tells us the benefits of something, if they are absolutely clear we trust them; if they’re kind of vague, we often don’t trust them,” he says. “A manager that has clear expectations, boy, we know how to please them, we’re motivated. A manager with a vague expectation it’s so stressful because we don’t know exactly what to do.”
COMPETENCY: It’s important to demonstrate an ability to stay fresh and relevant, capable and continue to learn and progress. Horsager cites a Harvard study which concludes that the skill faculty members want to instill most upon their MBAs is the ability to learn amiss chaos. “We see sales people all the time that they had great sales 20 years ago, but what about today?” he asks. “Well, they haven’t stayed fresh in learning and relevant and they’ve got this been there, done that attitude and their sales have tanked.”
COMMITMENT: People believe in those who are committed and stand through adversity, according to Horsager. For a business owner looking to build a loyal customer base must also demonstrate loyalty to his or her employees, as well as clients. He says the US automakers showed bad judgment with regards to this pillar. “All of our great-grandparents that worked there for 40 years and then they got fired two years before their pension kicked in,” he says. “You lost commitment in these people; how are [customers] going to stay committed to you?”
CONNECTION: If you want to do business with someone, you must first establish a connection and demonstrate “magnetic” traits that will attract people to your cause: gratitude, being grateful, humility, sincerity. It’s important to also learn to ask great questions. Find out what your potential customer wants and determine how to provide it.
CONTRIBUTION: At the end of the day, people trust contributors that get results. “You can have all this compassion, you can have all this character but if you don’t get me results I don’t trust you,” says Horsager. “On the other hand, we can find people that get results without the right character, without the compassion and we find that company tanking at some point or that leader or that salesperson. Maybe they got some results for a time but it tanked because they didn’t have all eight pillars.”
CONSISTENCY: Building trust isn’t an off-and-on process. It has to be maintained constantly. Horsager attributes much of McDonald’s success to consistency. A Big Mac tastes the same in Los Angeles as it does in Miami or Singapore. “If you’re going to start any new initiative in your company, only do what you’ll do consistently because consistency is what builds trusts,” he advises. Brilliance is an interesting thing, but we only trust consistency.”