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  • Bob Burg

“Master the contents of Endless Referrals and you will practically GUARANTEE your future success.”

~ Tom Hopkins, Author, Master the Art of Selling

Trust And Its Effect On Loyalty And Company Growth

September 6th, 2010 by Bob Burg

Webster’s defines trust as: The assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.

We often – in this blog – discuss trust, and how important it is in the selling process. Stephen M.R. Covey opined in his magnificent book, The Speed of Trust, and congruent with the Websternian* definition, that trust involves two main areas; character and competence. And, to buy from someone trying to sell you something of any type of substantial nature or price, you most likely will need to trust them both aspects.

Would you agree?

I mean, if you believe they have good character but are lacking in competence in terms of product design, quality, service or anything else you hold to be of value, you probably won’t purchase from them. At least, that would be my guess. On the other hand, if they are competent in the aforementioned areas but you believe them to lack in the character department, you’re more than likely also not going to choose to buy.

How does all of this “trust” we’re talking about actually play out in the success of one’s business? One very big part concerns customer loyalty, which greatly affects growth.

In his article entitled, “What The Heck Is A ‘Chief Honesty Officer?”, Darryl Rosen, former President of Sam’s Wines & Spirits, a family-owned business he took from small store to a multi-unit retailer with nearly $70 million in sales, and author of Surviving the Middle Miles 26.2 Ways to Cross the Finish Line with Your Customers quotes Fred Reichheld, author of The Ultimate Question:

“Without trust, there can be no loyalty, and without loyalty, there can be no growth. The simple truth is that trust means confidence. When your customers trust you, it means that they have confidence in you. It means that when you make claims during the selling process, they are inclined to believe you and that, my friends, is what it is all about.”

How true that is! As Darryl concludes his article, “And  we don’t need a Chief Honesty Officer to tell us that.”

I also love what my friend, Gill Wagner, Founder of the organization, Honest Selling says, “Sell with manipulation and the world is your battlefield. Sell with honesty and the world is your playground.”

It certainly builds trust, which results in loyalty, which results in company growth.


*That’s right; I said Websternian. And, no, I don’t believe it’s an actual word. 🙂

13 Responses to “Trust And Its Effect On Loyalty And Company Growth”
  1. What perfect timing for me to read this blog post! Just yesterday I was at Half Price Books and I chanced upon a 4 year old audio book by a famous hypnotist. I bought it out of curiosity. After reading your article my thoughts are – when we have something to sell or to offer – it would be good to trust that our audience and / or target market is intelligent enough to see the benefits of our ‘goods.’ Trust that they are smart and that there is no need to manipulate them into buying. It puts us in a disposition of confidence that they are already sold on our idea, and them in the disposition that you and I are trustworthy.

    When we trust them it helps us give more of ourselves, and when we do that, they will demonstrate their trust us by buying, subscribing, being engaged, converting, etc. Nurture this relationship to loyalty. And – loyalty is a two way street.

    Thank you for this great post Bob, you just turned a lightbulb on in my head.


  2. P.S. …. what i’m trying to say is that we assume the best about our audience. We still do our job by communicating our service or product – but this time it is more powerful because we trust them. And when we trust them and exude that confidence, by nature it will only come back to us.

  3. Danny Bledsoe said at 8:44 am on

    It’s OK, Bob. It’s a word now. If the national chain taco restaurant can get “melty” into Webster’s, then you may have Websternian!

  4. Debbi Stumpf said at 10:31 am on

    Trust is the cornerstone in the foundation of business (and personal) relationships. Everything else- all communication and interaction, is based upon one’s ability to trust in a given situation.

    Thanks once again for just the right message at just the right time. I appreciate you, Bob.

  5. Sean Woodruff said at 11:21 am on

    Excellent post, my brother.

    ReallyJeannie… you make an excellent point. On the flip side of the trust that customers show in us, we need to trust the customer has the intelligence to see it. Unfortunately, most marketing/selling is done from an arrogant mindset that believes the customer is an idiot.

  6. At the end of the day, people buy from people. Outstanding products, service, selling tools and resources are helpful, but it really comes down to if I trust the other person, or not.


  7. Geneva said at 12:53 pm on

    This is totally in line with something I am contemplating. I am switching energy providers & want to become not only merely a consumer, but a consultant. Not to add more to my plate (as I have been warned not to do 🙂 ), but b/c of the benefits of doing so. Texas is a de-regulated energy state and there are plenty of choices. But are there? My example: Company “I” has been around, is #16 on Direct Selling News list while Company “A” is #38.

    Because I follow men of genius that provide worthwhile information, I read something about this a couple weeks ago. Art Jonak posted a link to the Inc. 500 fastest growing company. Eureka…it was Company “A.” Wouldn’t you know it? They just happened to be having a huge convention in Dallas & I checked it out. In their banner were the words, Know, Like & Trust! Several speakers, including the family member of Home Interiors,Inc, eluded to this statement several times. Did I feel comforted? Absolutely!

    You could say that I am easily swayed by media or am just an emotional creature, but…it goes deeper. Personal experience & lack of trust issues with field leaders in Company “I” is seriously what caused to me to look in other places. This is not to gossip, place blame, or slam company integrity, but to confirm it doesn’t matter what media projects. As Alex mentioned…”people buy from people.” Orrin Woodward states, “people move products / services not vice versa!”

    As always, I appreciate your views and yes….they are timely!

  8. Bob. I was thinking of your main point: character and competence – you are absolutely right. It is our responsibility to provide the best possible product and service and without competence that’s just not gonna happen. On character, it’s a little hard to demonstrate that if you are in front of an audience who know nothing about you. With the brief period one has in giving his audience a background of himself without losing his or her audience’s attention, i think one can show his or her character just by being natural and sincere. That takes care of the rapport / engagement / connection.

  9. Bob Burg said at 9:47 pm on

    Hi All, just back in town and wanted you to know that while I didn’t respond to your comments individually, I appreciate them (and you) greatly and read every one of them, as I always do. Thank you so much for being a part of this community.

  10. Lois Geller said at 11:41 am on

    It is so refreshing to read your blog post this morning, Bob! We had a visitor at our offices yesterday and he asked me how we keep our clients for so many years.

    Mostly. i think because we are straight with them. If I don’t think a program will work, Il tell them. c

    Last week I told a client that I thought a program they were proposing was too close to Thanksgiving. They canceled it. I lost the revenue, but they’ll be around for many more programs.

  11. Bob Burg said at 4:43 pm on

    They sure will, Lois. And they’ll most likely share that experience with many others!

  12. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for novice blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  13. Bob Burg said at 4:46 pm on

    I’m so sorry your original comment got “eaten.” Thank you for your kind words about my blog. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. Regarding your question, I have just a couple of very quick initial thoughts. First is to just be yourself and with a focus on adding value to your reader. Second, continue to read lots of blogs that you enjoy. See what they are doing right and that is in alignment with how you work. Third, when posting a comment on another’s blog (which is a great thing to do so, way to go!) use your name and get an avatar so people can see you. All things being equal, people do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust. So they need to know your name and see your face. These three should be a good start. Best wishes for great success to you!

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