I had a little bit of downtime today and was sitting here thinking about building trust and relationships along with the effects those two requirements have on any given business.
I was remembering back when I first started writing service for a Chrysler Dealer in the early 90’s. The store had it’s share of regular customers who purchased and serviced their cars there but also had new customers who had never visited the store before. These folks needed repair work and wanted to find a good place they could trust.
Roughly 50% of those people were what I like to call stand-offish from the get go. They had a pre-conceived notion that car repair shops were known for ripping people off and they weren’t about to personally become part of that statistic.
I soon started enjoying dealing with these kinds of customers because It was a challenge for me to win them over and try to make them life long customer’s of the store.
After getting cursed at, threatened and chewed out enough times from me dropping the ball I quickly learned that establishing trust and building relationships had a whole bunch to do with listening to people and asking good questions. I’m not talking about the kind of listening where you’re just nodding your head and saying “I understand.” I’m talking about really listening to people.
This can be sometimes difficult to do after you hear similar stories all day long everyday. However, it is also what prompts people to spend money with your business and then come back to become repeat customers.
If you are truly listening to somebody when they’re talking to you about a need or concern, you will probably be asking many questions to understand the severity of the situation or concern. More than likely you will also have the ability to relay empathy to their story. In other words, you can sympathize with their problem because you’ve personally been there and know what it’s like or you’ve asked enough questions to really understand what they’re trying to tell you. Your empathy tells your customer that you care. When they know you care then they know it’s ok to trust you. Now it has become valuable for the customer to keep a relationship with you.
Once I learned to really listen to people and ask questions the job became quite a bit more enjoyable. On top of that I actually landed many knew customers for the store. Most of them were so dedicated that they would only ask for me. Some of them still bring their cars there for repairs to this day. I know this to be true because I know the owners and the managers that currently run the place and ever so often I stop in and say hi to some of my old customers.
If you think about it, this is how trust is built in any relationship whether it be personal or business. You get to know each other by talking and listening. The ice is broke after you find common ground.
It’s a fast paced world we live in today. Working online, doing business online and sending emails make it very easy to not see the people on the other end of the spectrum. It becomes simple to overlook the trust factor. Pretty soon you start earning a little money and then begin thinking it’s not necessary to build relationships.You must try to avoid making this mistake and keep it in the front of your mind.
It can mean the difference of having a mildly successful business or an extremely successful business.