The Role of Trust in ReferralsGuest_Blogger | Apr 28, 2010
Referrals are a key driver for success in the business world today. John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing and author of the upcoming book essential for businesses titled "The Referral Engine" gives us some insight on how building a strong level of trust can truly impact your business. (We're giving away five copies of The Referral Engine - scroll down to the bottom of this page for more information.)
In a recent survey of small business owners I asked - What’s the number one consideration you make when giving a referral? 73% answered - I trust they will do a good job.
In the business of referrals, trust is the most important reason a recommendation is made and, conversely, lack of trust the single greatest reason referrals don’t happen. There are countless ways that companies build and break trust with their customers, but most can be summed up with the term “honesty.”
What builds trust?
Trust is earned by keeping promises: tangible things like delivering on time, paying bills on time, and honoring guarantees; and less tangible things like authentic marketing messages, caring service, and a culture of respect.
What erodes trust?
Trust is also lost by overpromising. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t aim high, but I am suggesting you must know what you are capable of doing and do what you say you are going to do. It sounds so simple, yet it’s the number one reason people lose faith in businesses and in entire industries.
Trust and mistakes
When you have trust—earned by keeping your promises—you can make mistakes, own up to them, and correct them without loss. One of the hallmarks of a highly referred business is that they work as hard on fixing mistakes as on any other aspect of their business.
Of course, there are two sides to trust. Trust is a quality that must be extended as well as earned. You can see this in the types of employees an organization attracts and develops by trusting their staff to make smart, customer-focused decisions.
Sort of trust
When was the last time you referred a friend to a business you kind of trusted? Show me a business that automatically receives a substantial amount of business by way of referral and, with rare exception, you’ll find a business that places supreme value on building and keeping trust in every aspect of business.
Consistency builds trust
In my book The Referral Engine I tell a story about one of my favorite marketers – Scott “The Nametag Guy” Ginsberg. Scott is famous for wearing the Hello my name is Scott nametag every day rain or shine.
In his presentations, Scott Ginsberg often recounts stories of people being so threatened by his name tag that they actually wanted to fight him. He tells of people hurling insults at him, ripping the tag from his coat—he’s even received e-mailed death threats for his tag-wearing ways! (People obviously not getting enough ketchup in their diets.)
Next time you see Ginsberg, I invite you to (gently) peel the name tag from his topcoat; it’s okay, he’s got one on his blazer, and another on his shirt. And just in case your group needs him to present at your next pool party, he’s got his name tag permanently tattooed on his chest. So yeah, he’s committed to his brand and to his primary referral strategy.
What Ginsberg adds to this equation is an unquestionable commitment to his differentiation, his consistent talkability factor. It does very little good to create this week’s publicity stunt in an effort to get folks talking for today. Referability is a long-term game; it’s not a drive-by event but a well-planned, precisely calculated marathon.
Repetition, consistency, and authenticity build trust and are the foundational tools of the referral trade. People can sense when you are attempting to draw attention for attention’s sake, or are stepping out of your authentic self so far that it doesn’t feel right to you or anyone associated with your business.
Commitment to a remarkable difference demonstrates that yours is a brand that can be trusted.
About the Author:
John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach and is the founder of Duct Tape Marketing. His new book, titled "The Referral Engine" offers practical techniques for harnessing the power of referrals to ensure a steady flow of new customers. For more, visit http://www.referralenginebook.com.
The Elance Referral Engine Giveaway
Elancers, what are some of the ways you build and extend trust with clients and other people that you work with? Be sure to add a comment to this post on our Facebook Page. We’ll be giving away copies of John Jantsch’s new book “The Referral Engine” randomly to five people who share their answers on our Facebook Page. Act fast as we’ll be picking the winners on May 7.