Not really a strange question. You buy from certain businesses for a variety of reasons; location near you, selection, price, service or any combination of the reasons.
In a recent conversation with an automobile dealer he told me the number one reason people buy cars from the dealers they do is they like the “person they do business with.”
Really underlying all of those reasons is one other fundamental in buying behavior that you rarely think about, but it is always there. If you did not have this one factor satisfied, none of the other reasons would make a difference…that reason is TRUST.
You have to trust the one you do business with. Trust is a key element in major transactions for business to business relationships. Trust is also a factor when it comes to the smallest of purchases. If you do not trust the company (really the people that make up the company) you will not do business with that company.
Up until a couple of months ago, I had my wife’s car serviced at the local Mazda dealership. I trusted the work they performs and the recommendations they made. Nothing fancy, they basically gave me the realistic service requirements. Since I have worked on cars in the past, I was knowledgeable in the work recommended and they were not trying to take advantage of my wife’s gender. I do have a “News Flash” for any auto service center, “she knows cars too and cannot be duped into buying something not required.”
A local company called Walker Tire also knows this and has a special program just for women auto owners. It is a nice niche they are leveraging, although I have no personal experience with them and only bring them up as a company that recognizes this concern.
We all know the type of dealer that takes advantage of women and will sell them a “left-handed smoke shifter tail pipe” if they could.
Well last year the “trust” factor we had with the Mazda dealer (Woodhouse Mazda) evaporated after the last oil change with them. That is why I am doing the oil changes now. They tried to sell her a $350 front brake job that was not needed; I did replace the pads and had the rotors turned for under $100. Then a few weeks later as we were cruising on the interstate to Wisconsin, the lower engine shield (held on by seven bolts) which is removed to do an oil change, broke away and I had to get under the car to find that only three of the 7 bolts were holding it to the car. We stopped at a dealer in Minnesota and after $210, a new shield was installed. That was the “last straw.” I am no longer doing business with them and not only placed several reviews about them online, I tell all my friends about my experience.
“Trust the one you’re with”
I know it is a twist on an old Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song lyric, and the relationship you build with your customers is a lot like love. Still we as consumers BUY from companies we TRUST. We stick with those types of businesses we trust and buy from them for a long time. We even recommend them to our friends and networks..
You as a business person need to cultivate and earn that trust. Once earned, continue to foster that trust. Personal communication is always the best. In today’s world you can still cultivate and foster trust through communications via social networks and channels. One of the best ways I know how to build and maintain trust is through personal contact; face-to-face, phone calls, emails, LinkedIn-Facebook-Twitter-Google+ updates & posts, group “conversations”. Your customers need to feel like you know them on a first name basis and feel right at home when they do business with you.
It is easy to break that trust as the auto dealership did in my example. I will never do business with them again. I tell people that I won’t and why.
Trust does not and should not have to be a rare commodity. Trust should always be a factor in everything you do.
Next post will be about how you can build trust via online tools.