Trust matters when it comes to relationships. Therefore, it matters when it comes to the customer experience.
People line up at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar in part because they’ve come to trust that they will get a great customer experience.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, how can you build trust with your customers?
To find the answers, I connected with Charles H. Green, CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates. He’s the author of Trust-Based Selling: Using Customer Focus and Collaboration to Build Long-Term Relationships and The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust.
He likes to create trust by focusing on building a long-term relationship instead of focusing on a one-time transaction.
For a constructive conversation packed with practical advice for building trust and relationship, enjoy this episode.
Better Ways to Build Trust with Your Customers (and Future Customers)
To hear this episode and others like it, subscribe to The Customer Experience Podcast in Apple Podcasts / iTunes by clicking here.
Each podcast recording is embedded into its companion blog post like this one!
Hear the entire conversation with Charlie Green right here …
Trust Works As Reciprocity
Think of trust like a handshake. When you reach your hand out, the other person takes a hold of it. In order to get it, you need to give it.
Charlie sees trust as a series of ways in which we crafted a very fundamental personal interaction with each other. If you play the game together, you end up trusting each other and an infinite number of things go better. If you do it wrong, you end up with low trust and those same things go south.
The positive consequences of building trust are significant. When your customers or potential customers trust you:
- They are more likely to buy from you.
- They’re less likely to push back on price.
- They’re more likely to be open and share the issues that are going on.
- They’re more likely to give you referrals and references.
- They’re less likely to challenge your statements.
- If you make a mistake, they’re more likely to forgive you.
The list goes on and on and on. Trust simply makes things go faster and cost less.
As Charlie says, “If trust is absent, you’re dealing with price and features, and it’s not a very great way to hang your relationships on.” Get more of his thoughts on trust in this clip …
Listening Creates Trust
In a customer experience context, whether it is sales or customer support, Green says a specific kind of listening makes people trust you more.
You need to listen to show that you understand where the other person is coming from and what they are feeling. The other person will often feel the need to return the gesture. They emotionally become much more willing to listen.
The paradox of successful selling is that if you want people to listen to your advice and take you seriously, the best thing to do is shut up and listen to them. Listening more induces them to listen when it’s your turn.
Perhaps the best way to build trust is to listen more effectively. Charlie explains …
The Best Mental Trick for Active Listening
Too often people pretend to listen, but are just preparing their response while the other person is talking. This is deadly to sales.
Instead, cultivate an attitude of curiosity. If you’re curious, you’re going to come up with a bunch of questions and questions are great sales tools.
People love to talk. If the other person’s paying attention, it’s a form of validation and respect that all people crave.
It is a lot like going on a date.
Like dating, you want to think beyond the current possible transaction to the long term goals, the 50 future projects you and the prospect could do together. By freely sharing information on both sides, it makes those future projects more likely to fulfill their needs and yours.
Just like on blind dates, sometimes it’s not a good fit. Instead of quickly ending the conversation to skip to the next prospect, spend some time helping that person solve their problem. Perhaps recommend a competitor if they are a better option for them.
They will remember that. It’s great marketing that’s inexpensive. They might not be ready for you now but in three years they may be.
There are four key principles to this mindset:
- Client focus for the sake of the clients, not you.
- Collaboration as opposed to competition.
- Transparency in all cases unless it’s illegal or hurtful.
- Taking the long-term perspective.
In this clip, Charlie explains the paradox of relationships and transactions …
The Trust Equation
Charlie has created an equation to capture and weigh the components of trust and trustworthiness.
The most powerful factor is intimacy.
Intimacy in this context means, do I feel safe talking to this person? What kind of things can I share with them?
Intimacy tends to be the lowest skill for most people and yet it’s the most powerful. It’s the biggest source of competitive advantage. Most of your competitors are probably as bad at it as you are. If you can get a little better, you can use that as powerful leverage.
Hear Charlie explain the Trust Equation in this video clip …
To learn more about the Trust Equation, check out the video here. If you want to take Green’s self-assessment test to see how trustworthy you are click here (70,000 people have already taken the test).
This post is based on an interview with Charlie Green, CEO at Trusted Advisor Associates. You can contact him via his website, Twitter, LinkedIn, his Amazon author page, or by email (CGreen at TrustedAdvisor dot com).
To hear this episode, and many more like it, please subscribe to The Customer Experience Podcast.
While you’re there, please leave a rating or review to help others find and enjoy these podcast episodes.
More Great People on The Customer Experience Podcast
- Sales process expert Jeremy Donovan (SalesLoft)
- Customer experience author and advisor Joey Coleman (Never Lose a Customer Again)
- Sales and marketing pro Steve Pacinelli (BombBomb)
- Customer success manager Nick Hart (Outreach)
- See them all by clicking here
- 5-time founder and 2-time CEO David Cancel (Drift)
- Customer success leader Jordan Olivero (Swimlane)
- Product marketing expert Brian Gilman (Vonage)
With podcast questions or guest recommendations, email me at Ethan (at) BombBomb (dot) com
Build trust and relationships by getting face to face.
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