Trust Fall: How to Give and Earn Trust

Trust Fall: How to Give and Earn Trust

Do you remember when trust falls were a craze?

You’d turn your back to someone, cross your arms, and lean toward them. Maybe you’d shout to give them a heads-up — it depended on how much you actually trusted them to catch you.

There’s an erosion of trust among people lately, and it’s not because we’ve stopped ambushing each other with our falling bodies.

Whether it’s being skeptical of new neighbors, not believing the airline’s gate attendant is really “doing all they can,” or squaring off with someone about political differences, we just don’t expect other people to do the right thing.

Institutions we’ve all historically relied upon, like newspapers and police departments, are increasingly called into question.

It’s not just you who feels this way. That sentiment is on the rise.

Giving Trust

Society can’t function if people don’t trust each other.

Seeing so much distrust in our culture has me searching for the places where people do put faith in one another. It has me thinking about how trust is earned.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been staying at my parents’ house to help my mom recover from surgery. That means I have to hop offline a little more. It also means the Wi-Fi isn’t as reliable as I’m used to. And in the days leading up to the surgery, it meant my family and I were dealing with a lot.

Still, I haven’t had to worry whether my being here for my family has conflicted with work.

My team has had my back. They’ve trusted me to get everything done, and I’ve trusted them to help me out if any emergencies come up.

The same goes for whenever one of us needs to leave the office early or jump offline for something. Even on a normal day, when tasks get away from someone, a teammate steps in to get the work done. We’re here to pick up the slack when someone needs it.

Every day at work, I know I can trust my teammates to answer questions, brainstorm solutions, and tackle the tasks that extend beyond my expertise.

Every day at 9 Clouds, I trust my coworkers to push me toward my best work and help me out if I fall short.

You need to be able to trust the people you work with.

Overcoming obstacles with trust and teamwork

A salesman at one of the dealerships we work with talked to me about this today.

In the month of July, he sold 29 vehicles (which, first off, wow). But he said he would have sold only about 18 if his teammates hadn’t stepped up to help get deals to the finish line on days he wasn’t at the store.

You can’t be a team if you can’t rely on the people around you to do the right thing.

Earning Trust

Now, how do you win back trust? Or earn it in the first place?

Those are questions auto dealerships have been asking for a long time.

A lot of people have stigmas about the “sleazy” car salesman looking for a commission or about the used dealership peddling lemons. And unfortunately, having worked in the industry for a while now, I’m convinced a lot of dealers are making it easy to keep those stigmas going.

So if you’re actually a good one, how do you cut through the crap?

You have to be helpful, be authentic, and make good on what you say. You have to establish your store as a place folks can count on.

First, you have to be helpful because a dealer that rips people off — even if you’re doing it legally — isn’t useful. Trusting you is pointless for a customer if there’s no benefit to them.

Second, you have to be authentic and honest so that people know what you mean. Clear communication is key to any relationship, whether it’s a husband and wife, employee and boss, or customer and dealership.

If someone gets confused by your incentive rhetoric or lost in the fine print of your disclaimer, you might be doing right by them technically but still end up with a negative review because they felt like they were misled.

So from the first ad or webpage, the customer sees all the way to the paperwork they sign, your store needs to be telling the truth. That means straightforward pricing and clear information — every step of the way.

Finally, you have to be true to your word, because saying one thing and delivering another is how the whole “sleazy car salesman” stigma got started.

If you think the only way to make money in the auto industry is by tricking the people of your community, then good luck with that. The game is changing, and your well will run dry in the next five years.

Deserving Trust

A final piece of advice on trust?

If you do screw up, whatever it is . . . own up to it. You have to live up to someone’s expectations of your relationship when it’s hard — just like when it’s easy.

At 9 Clouds, we’ve set out on a mission to make the car buying experience better for customers. We help dealerships put out the best information they can by giving shoppers a clear path to connect with the stores that can solve their vehicle problems.

Our clients count on us to push them to act as a dealership worthy of a customer’s trust.

And if we can just figure out how to give, earn, and (most importantly) deserve a little more trust like that in our everyday lives, our societies will be better off.

Just . . . trust me.

Trust Us

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