You’re at home one weekend and receive a call from a family member. It’s an emergency, and you need to be there, but you cannot take your one- and three-year-old, nor can you leave them alone. You have two options: your new neighbor, a very experienced babysitter whom you’ve only known for three weeks or the fifteen-year-old who lives down the street, not quite as experienced but someone you have known for years. Given those options, who is the best choice for looking after your precious little ones? Would it surprise you that about 95 percent of people would choose the teenager, simply because she is known and trusted?

The simple truth is that trust is often viewed as more important than experience. Thus, you need to develop a strong branding plan to build up that trust, even before a customer chooses you over the competition. Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.


There are three ways to build a trustworthy brand:
  1. Provide consistency. Trust is based largely on consistency. Your customers must know that you care about their satisfaction and that you will do whatever it takes every time you serve them, even beyond the initial interaction, when you’re trying to make the sale. Consistent customer satisfaction goes a long way toward earning trust. You must walk the talk in every transaction, from the first ads they see, to the first phone call, to the timely arrival and satisfactory completion of the very first job. Be consistent, and there will be more jobs coming your way! 
  2. Be transparent about making mistakes. People naturally prefer to hide mistakes, but trust will be earned when you are as direct, honest, and open as possible. ″Any sense of secrecy, concealment, or dishonesty will undermine the public’s trust. The challenge many companies have is called the fragility of trust," says Roderick Kramer, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University. Never forget that “Trust is hard-won and easily lost.” You are only human, and mistakes will be made. When they are, own up to them and do whatever you can to make them right. 
  3. Display confidence. Trust requires the belief that a company will be there when the customer needs them, whether that’s five weeks from now or ten years from now. How can a customer rely on your company if there is a sense that the company will be out of business anytime soon? Especially in these uneasy economic times, no one knows the future, but if you handle your finances well, keep your debt low, and grow at a good pace, the odds are that you’ll be around for a long time. Make sure your customers know that you believe that, and they will believe it too!
Experience is seldom a bad thing, but trust is far more important. In fact, when it comes to gaining new customers and retaining old ones, what really matters is that you’ve proven yourself as trustworthy as that fifteen-year-old down the street! Create a brand with a foundation of trust, and people will be far more likely to trust their precious business to you.

Carry On!

Greg McAfee
Greg McAfee
HVAC Business Consultant