Your vision must be compelling, impactful and build legacy. This will attract three kinds of people. Investors, customers and partners to follow you.
I've always found that being able to secure those first few testimonials, or client stories, is key. When potential customers/clients see that others have had success with your business it builds trust naturally.
I always place client testimonials at the top of the list for helping to build trust.
Building trust has two aspects - reliability of your product, honesty of your intentions. So work on both. Even if you falter at the former, you can more than make up for it by conveying the latter. Ensure that you resolve your customer's problems with empathy. This is what they call the Service Recovery Paradox. This applies to any problem.
The secret is to have a GREAT communication strategy and to have an outstanding differentiation point. Your unique selling proposition is what build brands. If you do not offer anything different in some ways you would have big difficulties building trust around your bran. Obviously, your customer service and customer relationship management should be outstanding!
Building trust is critical as our society becomes even more skeptical with products and services of all industries. People want to identify with a brand and be able to connect with it and make it a part of their lives. With that, there has to be a great deal of trust. Understanding your customer and creating a brand that shows strong values and promises what it delivers is critical. And, since you are the face of your brand, following through on your word will help you to gain trust with your future vendors and customers as well.
Best of luck!
Thank you for all of the fantastic input- it sounds like I have a lot to consider!
I can give you an example- When I started in promotions, I offered my Clients double time back at no cost should they be dissatisfied regarding any aspect of the promotion. It did happen that the problem was in Durban and the client chose the double time in Pietersburg - all at extra cost. However, this built my integrity, name and reflected how serious I was in this business. No doubt it worked both ways - for the client and for me - had to keep operation in tip-top performance levels at all times.
Jen there are many ways to build trust as a start-up but I always go for the look through the investors eyes. If you were to invest what would you be looking for or even as a customer.....I always say "Connect with my mind, appeal to my feeling and touch my heart and I will look at your brand. Just this short phrase is what drives most brands today. Go for the simple wins....under promise and over deliver but also remember that your brand is your score card. Live up to the impression you create.
Jen, when you are starting out, YOU are the brand. What you bring to the market are your ethics, integrity and what you stand for: customer service perhaps or a leader in some aspect of what your business does. Maybe you are highly responsive to consumer challenges. What ever it is, be consistent. Every day be consistent about what you offer. That is the essence of your brand as you undertake your new role.
The obvious way to build trust is to be trustworthy. Everybody intuitively knows that. But that can take a long time to develop -- especially if customers never buy from you and give you the opportunity to show your trustworthiness!
But in addition to the above you can also build trust -- and build it much more quickly -- by looking and behaving like a major-league, professional operation -- from Day One. I tell my clients, never look small or small-time. Never look or act like a start-up. From the very start you should always look and behave like a significant player with something unique and special to offer, and then do your best to deliver at that level. That's what leads to respect -- and respect is what leads to trust.
This principle is not necessarily intuitive for a lot of marketers, but it is a very powerful strategy that we've developed out of doing this for many years.