Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

5 Steps to Build and Develop Trust

5 Steps to Build and Develop Trust 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

Every good business relationship is built on trust. From creditors to employees, people need to trust that you’ll treat them the right way. Once trust is established and they know they can depend on you, they will extend their support even further, and may even make exceptions for you. This is essential to business success.

The sooner you show that you’re dependable, the quicker you’ll see the benefits, for instance commitment, devotion, priority ranking, extended credit, increased sales, and more opportunities. You must be proactive! Find ways to show your employees, creditors, and clients that you have their best interests at heart.

Here is our short guide for building and developing trust:


  1. Communicate. And communicate often. Be transparent when it comes to what you’re doing and why. Don’t leave anyone guessing what you’re up to—keep everyone informed! We suggest having regular meetings with suppliers, outsourced services, creditors, and your team. Share important information with them early and often. This alleviates their fears and allows them to feel valued. The more your team knows ahead of time, the more confident they are working with you.


  1. Be honest! If you purposely reserve information or harbor ulterior motives, you will destroy relationships and your reputation in your industry. Voluntarily discuss loopholes to assure the people you depend on that they will not be exploited. Make it clear that you’re a true partner who is looking out for them, not one who’s waiting to stab them in the back! Prevent them from keeping their guard up. Otherwise, you’ll get only the words of your agreements, not the spirit behind them.


  1. Create strategic alliances. Identify who gains if you gain, and treat them like partners. Share your ideas for growth and development with those who would prosper from a business relationship with you. Figure out how to advance their business while decreasing your need for money. For example, construct contracts for improved terms and free warehousing in return for longer term commitments.


  1. Take care of your customers. Nothing says, “Now that I have your money, you’re stuck with my products” like bad customer service. Customer service takes priority over what you’re selling. When you do your best to make that the sale is made, but can’t be bothered to prevent or fix an issue, you are asking competitors to take your customers. This is detrimental to your long-term business security. Without good customer service, your buyers won’t continue to buy, and they’ll tell others about their negative experience. Customers become devoted supporters when you treat them like a friend.


  1. Be responsible. Don’t try to play the blame game or cover up when you make a mistake. It will only worsen the situation, hurt your relationship, and lose you valuable trust. If you realize you’re going to miss a payment, contact your creditors right away. And be prepared! Develop a strategy that will bring your account up-to-date. This shows your empathy for the risk they’ve taken on you. Remember: You are not judged when everything goes smoothly. You’re judged by how you handle mistakes.

Long-term good behavior is the foundation for trust. In the first stages of a business relationship, trust can be lost easily. How you deal with an awkward situation tells your employees, creditors, and clients all they need to know. It could help them justify putting their faith in you, or it could lead them to regret the relationship. Trust is a lot more than saying, “Trust me.” And you can trust us on that!

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