I have said over and over again that trust is the glue that binds business relationships. The overarching goal of any business activity whether it be sales, marketing or networking is to develop a level of trust with your client base and prospects. Stephen Rhodes wrote an excellent piece on trust earlier this year and reinforces the link between trust and business growth.
I read an article this weekend that really drove home the message. It appeared in the Costco magazine and was entitled Holmes is where the hearth is. The article talks about the empire Mike Holmes has built on one simple premise, trust. His blunt forthright attitude and his blue-collar approach to business development through understanding customer needs and delivering top-notch quality has made him the second most trusted person in Canada according to a 2010 poll. Yes, he is more trusted than Peter Mansbridge, and sits behind only David Suzuki. Not bad for a guy who comes from an industry (contracting) which was ranked in the same poll as the 4th least trusted profession. Holmes himself is quoted as saying “This is the easiest business I know of where people can get screwed legally.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Holmes a few years back when we where keynote speakers at the Construction Safety Association’s Annual Conference in Toronto. He is extremely passionate about the construction trade and gets visibly angry (I wouldn’t want to get this guy upset) when recounting stories about families who have lost thousands to crooked or inept contractors. He has spent many years correcting mistakes and building an aura of trust. Although you may know him from television, he also has 4 books, a complete line of merchandise, and a charitable foundation that works to raise the profile of trades and encourage kids to enter the profession.
Holmes has 5 simple rules for any person looking to hire a professional contractor and these rules can easily be applied to any business model, whether it be B2B or B2C.
They are as follows:
- Slow Down
- Educate yourself
- Hire the right contractor
- Get a permit
- Stay involved in the project.
Applied to businesses, they could be interpreted:
- Take the time to understand the client’s real needs
- Know what the your limitations are in responding to clients needs
- Align yourself with the right business associates and contacts in the industry
- Provide written documents outlining the services you sell, do what you say you will do.
- Ensure that the client has input at various milestones in the work you do.
When you follow the Holmes guidelines, you will most certainly develop trust and build long-lasting relationships. This guy doesn’t just know how to build homes, he has clearly demonstrated his ability to build a business, a model that we could all follow!