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Trust is the currency of business. When we trust an organization, we do business with them whenever and wherever it makes sense, without questioning it. If we don’t trust an organization, we look for alternatives and we spend a fortune over-evaluating their pricing and value model. Trust is extremely valuable.

In “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen Covey, he poetically illustrates the value of trust in the business world. Without it, we add a tremendous amount of cost to each and every business transaction. Once we trust a brand to deliver on its promises, the next time we buy from them, the transaction costs go way down because we don’t have to spend as much time evaluating their promises. Instead, we have direct historical experience to draw upon from the past. The bigger the purchase, the more important this becomes. But where does trust really come from?

Trust, at its very core, comes from evidence. Whether it is direct historical evidence from a previous encounter with your brand, second hand evidence passed along from peer groups, or evidence provided by your Marketing and Sales teams’ efforts. At the end of the day, evidence, or data, is at the root of all trust relationships.

Whether we realize it of not, we spend most of our sales and marketing energy and dollars experimenting with ways to reduce the speed-to-trust with evidence. This could take the form of many different examples, but it could be the act of writing and publishing a case study of past work, or contributing to your company’s blog in order to educate your consumer- both attempts to build credibility and trust.

Marketing is an exercise in minimizing the effort that our prospects have to exert to trust us.

This is where transparency comes into play. The more transparency you create in the business environment, the more trust you breed. Whether it’s with your employees, your supervisors, your vendors or your customers, greater transparency always breeds more trust. If you work to hide information, control relationships and create a mysterious veil of superiority between your firm and your customers, over time, you destroy the trust relationship. If you look for creative ways to improve transparency at every turn – you build trust. 

Take a hard look at your core operations and each of your customer experience touch points and figure out how to use the data that you have to improve transparency and build trust. Here are four questions to ask yourself:

  • What information can you provide to your customers that your competitors are not providing?
  • What data, information or insights can you draw and share with your customers to make them more individually successful in the context of your business?
  • What knowledge can you provide for your customers that will help them in their careers?
  • What wisdom can you impart on your industry with the knowledge that you create in your organization?

Trust should trump everything that you do in marketing. Behind each marketing dollar that you spend, you should have a very clear understanding of how it is building trust for your clients and prospective clients. 

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