Be trustworthy with business communications

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matt-barrettI recently had the pleasure of attending a breakfast roundtable downtown. I watched the people around me greet each other, introduce their businesses by handing out business cards, shake hands and eventually engage in discussions on how their organizations provide value to Colorado Springs.

Seeing that, it dawned on me that all of these subtle actions were simply initial attempts to build trust amongst peers.

Building trust is smart. Once it’s struck between two people, many attractive things can follow suit such as finding a new colleague, learning about a new business offering or even finding common ground where lucrative deals can be struck. Building a relationship on trust is a basic yet key practice that enhances confidence in business, as well as in those who may buy a product or service from a business.

As business professionals we often talk about building trust with our clients, employees and business associates. It is a crucial requirement in sustaining any productive relationship and keeping a business healthy and growing. As many of us know from our experiences, trust can take a long time to build yet only a moment to lose if we uphold bad practices or lie about our capabilities.

As I sat at that breakfast, witnessing the origins of trust surrounding me, I felt compelled to ask the person next to me if she leveraged trust as a commodity to grow her business.

She said most certainly yes.

In Colorado Springs, she said, “If you want to grow your business, trust is the first layer of insulation our neighbors require as they consider using your service.”

First and foremost we discussed that telling the truth about a company’s products and services, including a clear and adequate disclosure of capabilities on a website or advertisement is the key.

“Nothing drives a customer away faster than if they read about or watch you in an ad, then walk into your business only to find that ‘offer’ is not truly available,” my breakfast cohort stated emphatically.

On the note of advertising, we agreed that it’s a vital component of driving new business. Even though advertising is an industry known for (sometimes) stretching truths, doing it the right way can persuade our neighbors to respond to our calls to action. We agreed that a trustworthy business must avoid creating false impressions that mislead customers on products or services. If your advertising is found guilty of being false, you would quickly drive customers away rather than drive interest in your brand.

If you are responsible for promoting a business, it is mandatory these days to clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.

At the end of the day, if you are going to buy an ad to showcase your brand, be sure to be honest and don’t overpromise or mislead — Colorado Springs residents will sniff out anything outside of full disclosure.

The breakfast was a fun experience, but sharing ideas and values on trust in advertising made the day for me. It’s great to know there are like-minded people here in Colorado Springs dedicated to showcasing their businesses the right way.

More often than not, showcasing your business the right way starts with trust. Here at the BBB, we strive to build trust in business both in our brand and by encouraging business owners to follow this path, especially with their communications to the public.

Matt Barrett is the CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.


Upcoming: Athena Award

BBB of Southern Colorado, along with the Regional Business Alliance and Small Business Development Center, invites you to join us as we honor one woman in business with the 2014 ATHENA Award on Wednesday, April 23, at The Broadmoor. The recipient is a mentor to one or more members of the community, is involved in the community and has achieved a variety of accolades in her business career. This year’s luncheon will feature keynote speaker Linda Larsen. Reserve your seat: http://bit.ly/ATHENA2014.