How to earn trust and manage your reputation
What types of reputation do you know?
Lots of answers may come into your head now: reputation of a business person, reputation of a famous restaurateur, reputation of a brag etc. In fact, there are only two types of reputation: positive or negative.
You are either liked or not. You are either trusted or not. Specialists – political consultants and PR-managers – are sometimes hired to establish and keep good reputation. But the main person in charge for your reputation management is you.
Trust = good reputation
Trust to you as a person, as a brand, trust to your business is what creates your positive reputation. Remember what you look up online when you want to purchase, let’s say, an expensive smartphone? Right, reviews and comments. It reflects brand confidence and serves as a mirror to its reputation.
It is in our hands to make people fully trust us and have only positive feedback on us and our business. Here are a few tips for this.
1. Be open
You sincerity and openness are what makes people trust you at the very first step, when you first meet a person. Be welcoming and honest in your dialogue. Try to avoid such phrases as “I wouldn’t like to talk about this”, “Sorry, it is confidential” etc.
The point is not about leaking all your personal and business secrets to a stranger. Personal and unpleasant questions can be always laughed off or expertly avoided in another way. But when you openly don’t want to share useful information because you consider it to be only for yourself – believe me, people feel it. They notice it and wonder whether you deserve to be trusted.
2. Be a person of your word
If you promised to do something to a certain date – you need to keep your word. Otherwise notify a person that you are late, explain the reasons and apologize. Usually people treat force majeure with understanding. But try not to make a habit of breaking promises, or the trust in you will be significantly faltered.
An opinion of you as a committed, responsible person is a huge step to building trust-based relationships.
3. Don’t hesitate to apologize
Even in the everyday life many people regard apology as a sign of weakness. By no means. Admitting one’s mistakes and apologizing is an attribute of a strong person. Don’t make excuses, let alone shift the blame to others. Tell a person that you really regret about what happened, promise him or her to change the situation for the better and by all means do it.
When you do so, people consider you a trustworthy person, capable of admitting his or her mistakes and taking responsibility for them.
4. Adequately react to negative feedback
There is a well-known saying “I am not a hundred dollar bill to please all”. Sometimes you may happen to find online some negative feedback on you or your company. Don’t instantly get defensive or start to explain yourself.
The first thing to do is to contact the person that has provided a negative comment. Thank him for his feedback and ask what you can do to change his opinion on you or your company. It happens often that such meaningful talk turned a hater of a company to its friend and follower.
If your opponent doesn’t want to interact, tell your side of the story in an open source and explain what you are doing to fix the problem.
5. Assess your mishaps, draw conclusions and search for right ways to solve the problem
Let’s say you expected a long-term partnership but were refused. You hoped for an advantageous deal but it failed the last moment. Analyze the reasons. Maybe you promised to send relevant documents to your partner but couldn’t find them and lost his trust? Or lacked necessary knowledge, connections, resources? Draw conclusions from each situation, work them through and think how to avoid them in future.
6. Maintain your credibility and positive reputation
If you are already trusted don’t take it for granted. Maintain your credibility. Always do more for people than they expect from you. You may offer extra services to your clients, pamper them with nice discounts or presents – to sum up, care about each person you want to keep trust-based relationships with.
Remember that establishing trust and positive reputation takes time. They are built through open communication, sincere relations and mutually beneficial cooperation.