Trust is a big part of small business, maybe even more so in a small town. Part of your role as a small business person is to be the trusted source, whether you are the source of a product, a service, or information.
But have you given any thought to it? How do you improve yourself in this role?
1. Make your own game.
If you are the same as everyone else, there is little reason to trust you. This is about standing out, creating something new. Put yourself at an intersection (like, say, rural and small business?), and start building there.
2. Be one of us.
Intimacy seems to trump everything in a trust relationship. All things being equal or not equal, you want to do business with people you like. So understand your customers, act in their best interests.
In a big company, that means being the person who humanizes the company. In the small business world, it means building personal connections, using your small size to be easier to connect with.
3. Use the web for leverage.
The web offers leverage in a couple of ways. First you’re leveraging the chance to have your ideas repeated in multiple forms and multiple places. Ideas can spread from your blog, to Twitter, to Facebook, to email, and on. Second, you’re leveraging your group of interested followers from one network to another, as you connect and reconnect with people in all those different places.
4. Be Agent Zero.
Agent Zero is the connector, at the center of a network, and bringing different networks together. Introduce your customers to the online world. Bring together people from different online networks, different industries, different communities.
Brogan and Smith offer this mantra for connecting others, “Be helpful. Be humble. Share.”
5. Be a Human Artist.
Trust is about people, interacting. That means how you interact matters. Don’t be “that guy.” Make it all about them, your customers.
Reputation is built by being amazing on behalf of others.
And that’s easier than bragging, anyway.
6. Build an army.
This is the skill of building up others. It’s the ultimate expression of trust, isn’t it?
As you educate your customers, you’re creating an army that can multiply your efforts on their behalf. Together, you go out and change the world.
That’s a high level overview. If you like the ideas, you’ll like the book. Chris is doing a big push for Trust Agents today. Stop by there and check it out.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.