The Role of Trust in Horse Business Success
We've all heard they business axiom - "People do business with people they know, like and trust." But I can't recall anyone specifically identifying how this is accomplished in a proactive way. Have you?
So today, I want to tackle the trust end of this statement. I'm not going to just focus on what the elements of trust are, but how they affect your business and how once you understand them, you can improve your marketing and business growth.
In Stephen Covey Jr.'s book, "The Speed of Trust" - he discusses the vital role trust plays in business and identifies four critical areas of trust. Two are based on character and two are based on competency.
- Integrity - Are you truthful and are your core values compatible with those of your customers'? This type of trust is typically the first thing that comes to mind when we ask ourselves if a person is trustworthy. But, as you will see in the next three areas, there is more to trust than just honesty.
- Caring - Do you care about your customer? Most people are unable to trust another person unless they feel the other person cares about them and their well being. In the horse world, this would also include whether or not the client feels you care about their horse.
- Expertise - Do you have the technical skills and experience to accomplish the work the client is hiring you to do? If you don't have the expertise the client deems necessary, they may decide not to do business with you. If you have the skills but are unable to articulate them in a way that the client understands, this can also erode trust and affect the growth of your business.
- Results - At the end of the day, if you cannot deliver the results the client is expecting, there will be a loss of trust. Sometimes this trust can be regained through communication and a better understanding of the expectations around your role in helping the client achieve their goals. Other times, it will result in a potential client deciding you're not the right choice.
The results part of trust can be especially complicated in the equestrian world. We are working with live animals that have their own opinions and personalities, who can sustain injuries or lose confidence even under the best of care. As well as dealing with a client who has goals that may or may not be commensurate with their ability. (We'll talk about how to define roles, set goals and facilitate clear expectations with your customers during our next webinar with Tonya Johnston - Communication, Leadership and Teambuilding - Your Role as a Coach and Leader at the Barn.)
The value of trust is most telling when we look at the cost of a lack of trust. Even if you find the "perfect horse" for a client, if there is not enough trust in the seller, chances are the client won't buy it. Not only will there be an unnecessary loss of income, but if this angers you and you lose respect and/or caring for the customer, trust will likely be further eroded, causing further damage to yourself and your business over the long haul.
Or, let's say, you decide one of your student's or client's horses is ready to move up into a more advanced level of competition, but the client doesn't trust you and refuses - You may find yourself in the difficult position of acquiescing to something you disagree with and compromising your own integrity. Again, additional trust is lost.
The good news is, that by identifying and understanding the four areas of trust and the role they play in your business (and life) we can take proactive steps to build trust. It is also important to recognize that different people place different values on each of these four areas of trust. Because of this, there are different roles trust plays in different horse business models. By understanding these values, you will increase your ability to attract and maintain the best clientele for your unique business.
If you find this topic interesting, stay tuned! We'll share some interesting examples in future newsletters and during our next free horse business webinar Communication, Leadership and Teambuilding - Your Role as a Coach and Leader at the Barn
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