Like anything else in life, trust has to be earned. And as a business owner, you probably know this better than most.
When it comes to earning trust for your business, people are not always so quick to jump onboard. You might have even found that, despite your best efforts, some clients or prospects were never willing to trust you completely—a fact that could have a long-term effect on your bottom line.
So how can you begin to build up confidence in your business and earn the respect of your network? Think locally, and start small.
Become a friendly face.
Think of the first time you met your neighbors, your colleagues, your best friends. Hopefully, you were friendly and personable—engaging in small talk and putting your best foot forward. The first impression matters so much in business and, ultimately, can make or break the way people feel about you and your services forever. If you want folks in your local community to support your business, you need to become the friendly face behind the action. Once people start to recognize you, they can start to identify you with what you do and how well you do it.
Get involved with the right people.
There can be a lot of pressure in a local community to have your hand in a number of different organizations and events. In reality, this can drag down your ability to give your all to the areas you’re really passionate about. Instead, turn your focus to one or two key areas of the community where you can offer your expertise and showcase your dedication. This is a great way to get to know the needs and wants of locals and make yourself and your business a true cornerstone of the community.
Host your own events.
Organized events are taken seriously in communities, especially small ones. Anything people can mark on their calendars to look forward to and that can bring neighbors together is always appreciated. Whether it be a workshop that relates to your business and services or something as simple as a potluck dinner, having your name associated with these engagements makes you likeable, trustworthy, and shows that you really are as much a part of the community as anyone else.
Use the power of social media.
If you notice that a stronghold in the community—say a beloved pizza shop, bookstore, or park—has an active social media page for people to interact on, you need to be making your presence known there. Facebook groups can be like the new community bulletin board, and if you’re able to communicate effectively with residents through them, it can be an easy, cost-effective, and non-invasive marketing tool for your business.
Align your values.
No two communities are alike, and over time, many small towns develop their own set of values and beliefs that help shape the people and businesses that make them up. Whether your business is new in town or you’ve been well-established for many years, it’s important for the look and feel of your business to match that of your local community. You wouldn’t expect a nightclub to do well in an area with older residents and families, would you? The same idea can be applied to your business. Tailor your marketing and interactions with the community to your audience, and you’re guaranteed to see a positive response.