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Overcome Mistrust of Your Motives and Performance to Gain Many More Customers

Jan 23, 2008
Mistrust of your organization is a learned behavior that costs you most of your potential profits. Some scientists claim that we are born with few fears. Fear of heights is one, but our families, friends, and acquaintances help us appreciate the benefits of caution in many other circumstances.

In some cases, we learn to avoid certain things on a general basis, such as fire. These learned aversions can be based on misleading over generalizations.

Fire can certainly burn us, but you can pass your hand quickly through a candle's flame and not be harmed. You can also walk barefoot over 30 feet of glowing coals and not be burned either (but I don't recommend you try it without proper instruction, preparation, and supervision).

Experience can be the source of other avoidances. If someone once said "Trust me" while selling you some shoddy merchandise that later failed, you may be wary of those who ask for your trust in other buying situations.

A lot of mistrust is based on large reactions to subtle clues . . . many of which clues may not really mean what we take them to mean. For instance, you go into a store that is decorated in horribly clashing colors. You are immediately repelled and want to get away. In addition to the colors making your visit unpleasant, you wonder about the competence of any business that would make such an obvious mistake.

But are they actually incompetent or merely so frugal that they only buy paint that's on deep discount because no one else will buy it? The correct answer can be quite different from either assumption. Some people are color blind and such a person may simply have hired a designer who has the same limitation.

It takes a long time for an organization to overcome such misleading sources of mistrust. A man who had not been trained as a plumber was often called on to do simple plumbing tasks for lawn sprinkling systems. There were two convenient stores where he could buy his supplies.

Both stores offered free advice. One store was modern and fresh looking. The other store was a shambles and it was hard to find things in the store.

In the messy store you always had to ask someone to find what you needed. Because the employees spent a lot of time helping each customer, the wait could be an extra 20 minutes. Staffers would always recommend the most expensive product or solution. Pretty soon, the man didn't go to the messy store any more.

The differences between plumbing supplies that last and plumbing supplies that don't last are often very subtle. As time passes, the differences eventually become obvious as certain products fail more often and sooner than others.

After about 10 years, the man learned that the solutions the modern, fresh-looking store proposed and its merchandise were not good enough.

The messy store, however, always gave good advice for lasting solutions and their stock held up. After being asked to redo many plumbing projects for no extra pay, the man learned to only buy from the messy store. The modern store later went out of business.

We are often misled as potential customers. It's good to see where that is happening to you so you can better understand how your potential customers are being misled. Here are some sources of mistrust that you need to be skeptical about as a buyer:

-Appearances (they can be misleading)
-Wait times (some things are worth waiting for)
-Danger (it may all be in your head)
-Difficult communications (they may be for your benefit)
-Unfriendliness (people may just be having a bad day)
-Secrecy (Coca-Cola isn't going to tell you their formula for a good reason)
-Rigid payment terms (they may have had a lot of deadbeats)
-Unprofessional behavior (they may have great integrity and poor manners)
-Over eagerness (they may just love helping people)
-Not many customers (FedEx had a hard time attracting customers at first)
-Being pushy (they may just be busy and have lots of demand for the offering)
-Lack of a guaranteed offer (some people just assume you know you can get your money back)

Here are questions designed to help you understand more about the trust people have in your organization and its offerings:

-Who do beneficiaries, customers, and potential customers trust the most in your industry?

-How far do they trust the most trusted?

-If beneficiaries, customers, and potential customers trust some other organization and its offerings more than your organization and its offerings, how do your actions, inactions, and appearances help create mistrust?

-How could you become more trustworthy in the view of beneficiaries, customers, and potential customers?

-What are the least expensive ways for you to gain trust?
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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