People do business with people they know, like, and trust. But building trust with our audience can be an act of courage. Well... a series of them, really. Yet it can quickly pay huge dividends. In addition to the reward of good will that everyone feels (or maybe because of them), building trust can reap higher response rates, loyalty, and revenue.

Imagine landing on a website that spotlights an apology for a huge mistake the company made. Then, on another site, you see they've highlighted an offer that trusts you to pay whatever you feel their offer is worth. That's just crazy, right? Not really. There is plenty of proof out there that trust is not just good for one-on-one relationships, it's also good for business.

Here are two examples.

  1. When the rock band Radiohead released its most recent album online, it trusted fans to decide how much to pay. The band generated more revenue for that one album than for all its previous releases.
  2. The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) risked legal liability by encouraging its doctors to apologize when they made mistakes. Trusting that patients would be forgiving paid off for UMHS. The number of malpractice suits fell, so much so that other providers are taking the same approach.(1)

According to Stephen M. R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, "Trust is the key leadership competency of the new global economy." Covey says trust is "the heart and soul" of business success on all levels, and that in looking for drivers of success, "nothing is as fast as the speed of trust."(2)

We all know that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. Therefore, one of our top priorities should be to develop abiding trust in our relationships with our prospects and customers. When we do that, we can propel prospects through the sales pipeline—and transform customers into a testimonial- and referral-powered sales and marketing force.

In his book, Covey discusses 13 concepts for building trust in one-on-one relationships. What I'll do here is spring off Covey's concepts to explore how we can create content that generates trust with our audiences.

Be uncompromisingly honest

Many of Covey's concepts are based on the idea that being honest builds trust.

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Kathryn Gillett is the creator of The Hero Method. She is committed to creating trust-building content that reaps higher response rates, loyalty, and revenue. Contact her via