How You Build Trust From Scratch
For others to become comfortable with you, they have to trust you.
It’s a tough call when there’s a lack of familiarity, nothing known for anyone to latch onto.
Getting people to trust you is not about spouting that you know best, repeating others’ bold statements or sharing your aspirations, sometimes you have to take a deep breath, accept that, for the time being, you’re an unknown quantity and unfamiliar, and start building those relationships of trust from scratch.
This article is about how to gain trust.
When you’re first starting something it can be challenging for others to take that step with you. Trust takes time because it involves a commitment from others.
Making Things Real
You Are The Media Lunch Club is launching in Bristol this October. It’s time to embrace the unfamiliar and get to know another city.
Fleur Cook and Ben Roberts are going to lead the Bristol side of You Are The Media. Very much part of the fabric of YATM, they know what it’s all about and have participated fully in our Bournemouth community in the past. Prominent individuals in their own right, Ben published Marketing Buzzword to Marketing Authority in March 2019 and Fleur has played a key role in promoting the Rock Star Awards, they’re just the people to make YATM Bristol a success.
The Bristol events will coincide with the Bournemouth Lunch Club where the main topics each month will be replicated from the seaside to the city. I won’t present or host in Bristol, this is for Fleur and Ben. As their format finds its feet, it won’t need me orchestrating from the back of the room.
You Are The Media Lunch Club started from nothing back in summer 2016 with 22 people attending. The plan is that the same will now happen in Bristol too. But it is a challenge – what is the process behind transforming lack of awareness into knowledge and trust?
In Bournemouth, YATM is in a far better place than it was a few years ago. Consistency has created familiarity which has bred trust.
In Bristol, we’re starting from zero again, led by two people who are very much a part of the city but who also have priorities with their day jobs.
How do you get people to know something is ok when there is that lack of an emotional tie?
How do help people overcome a lack of familiarity to become attached?
Launching in Bristol is going to be tough. People are being asked to step forward and be present in a space they’re unfamiliar with.
We accept that it’s going to take a bit of time for YATM Bristol to find its momentum.
For anyone who’s going to get involved they’ll have to make that leap of faith. They have to feel that any promise YATM makes to them will be delivered on. So getting clarity on the sort of promises you’ll be making to your nascent community is key.
YATM is all about learning, applying that learning and extending your own and others’ networks. The more people trust, the more they stick around. I have always endorsed retention, you don’t want tourists, who dip in and out but make no commitment. For instance, the YATM Lunch Club would have failed if every month saw a new and different mix of people. We’ve now got to that sweet spot that keeps a community vibrant – a balance of 60% retained Lunch Clubbers and 40% of people who are getting to know what we’re all about.
YATM’s promise to those who come into contact with us for the first time is:
— We vow to create experiences that you will want to feel a part of
— We vow to make you feel that you’re a part of something
— We vow to help you be heard
— We vow to be non-sales oriented
— We vow that our events will connect you to someone new, who you’ll then see over and over again
— We vow to share relevant, useful and easily actionable information
— We vow to encourage you to learn and build
— We vow not to spam you every week
There’s much to be learnt from starting things from scratch, learnings which are just around the corner in Bristol:
The more you show up, the easier it becomes for people to have confidence in you. Having perseverance goes a long way, when you start to mean something to others.
When you start something new, building trust has to be one of the prime objectives. This is the foundation of longevity (and sales and revenue).
Just because people like a social media post, it doesn’t mean they’ll be coming along to whatever you’re putting on. A like or retweet is only a temporary bond. You need more than a thumbs-up (although it’s a start). Remember you’re looking for commitment.
Accept that people always approach something new with caution. Anything new represents a leap of faith. If you are asking people to commit and you have nothing to show them, this will end in failure.
Trust is not related to price, but the value people can take away. When someone takes away a new idea that you originated and delivered from a space you created, you’ve made a friend for life.
You can’t always know what people want. You might start on a path that you believe is right, but the more input you receive from the people you’re serving, the finer-tuned and better for your audience it becomes. That element of collaboration is also how you go from audience to community.
Paid-for promotion such as ads won’t create commitment. There are no easy wins or short cuts to getting people to trust you. Stay human, stay you and share with honesty and integrity, even dare to reveal your battle scars along the way.
Trust is at the centre of everything we do today.
Findings from the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer report give us hope: People are prepared to trust you as a business person. There’s been a recognisable shift that has seen people look to businesses for the changes society needs to make. (Read what I took from the report here).
People are going to have faith in you if you promise to make their morning, afternoon or week better. You will never achieve trust if you live a life of lies, bravado, and coercion. As Mark Schaefer says, “Stop doing marketing that people hate!”
When you’re looking to build something around you, you have to accept it will be lonely and difficult at the start. Taking something from the unfamiliar to the known and familiar, and even more importantly trusted, takes time. So put them at their ease, deliver on your promises and listen to feedback to build something, be it blog, event or community, that has real value.