Tag Archives: trust

Building Business The Mike Holmes Way

By Jeff Bowman

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:

  1. Slow Down
  2. Educate yourself
  3. Hire the right contractor
  4. Get a permit
  5. Stay involved in the project.

Applied to businesses, they could be interpreted:

  1. Take the time to understand the client’s real needs
  2. Know what the your limitations are in responding to clients needs
  3. Align yourself with the right business associates and contacts in the industry
  4. Provide written documents outlining the services you sell, do what you say you will do.
  5. 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!

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Filed under B2B, Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Networking, Sales, Stephen Rhodes

Who do you trust?

By Stephen Rhodes

Do you trust your neighbour, your doctor, minister and mechanic?

Would you take advice from your mechanic on a new doctor, or your doctor on a new church?

Throughout our lives we build relationships with people. We not only trust them for what they promise, we often trust their opinions about things that they might not know much about.

How often have you heard a neighbour or a friend say I have a really good lawyer, accountant, butcher, baker or candlestick maker. Most of my neighbours don’t know much about any of these people. They do know that they trust the relationship they have developed and are happy to pass that along to me. A referral.

In networking parlance, a referral is the golden goose as in  I know and trust my new networking buddy well enough to refer him to one of my trusted business associates. The door opener.

Some organized networking groups force referrals and insist that participants swap names every week, providing new referrals for other participants. So either they have been holding out, like last week, or they have developed this deeply trusting relationship in the last seven days and they are about to share it with me.

Trust is at the center of all business relationships. But trust has to be earned.

Who do you trust?

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Filed under Stephen Rhodes

Trust in charitable brands

Rhodes croppedBy Stephen Rhodes

The big not- for- profit brands in our country have built a trust among their followers and supporters. The biggest brands, YMCA, Salvation Army and United Way have strong social capital.

I have manned a Salvation Army kettle at Christmas time and watched people fill it with money, and many without knowing precisely what the Sally Anne does in our community. Trust is powerful stuff. Trust is something most commercial brands would kill for. Of course, you have to earn it.

I was thinking about the challenges these organizations face in a slow economy and I had a chance recently to chat with fellow Rotarian David Fitzpatrick, chair of board of the Kitchener Waterloo United Way.

rainbow_logo_horizontalDave happened to mention that his board had adopted a more strategic approach to meeting its community obligations.  United Way is shifting from being an organization that waits for fundraising results to determine what needs can be met, to becoming an organization that first identifies the most pressing issues in the community, and then mobilizes the necessary resources to meet these needs.

Chief among the Kitchener-Waterloo  priorities:

  • Children and Youth reach their Potential
  • Families are Stronger
  • Neighbourhoods are Inclusive and Thriving
  • Newcomers are Welcomed and Supported
  • People are Economically Secure

It’s not surprising that community needs have grown beyond what the annual  campaign can raise. With the focus on building long-term change that meets local priorities, and investing where United Way can  have the greatest results in their community, the emphasis is placed on strategic goals and not annual fundraising results. Fundraising in fact becomes a longer term campaign over 3 years or even 5 years.

From a marketing perspective, it provides a set of priorities around which the community can rally, less reliant on one year’s campaign goal, particularly important in tough times.


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Filed under Branding, not-for-profit, social capital, Stephen Rhodes

The more things change…..

Rhodes croppedBy Stephen Rhodes

Re-posted from our newsletter

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In communities, or as Wikipedia says, groups of ” interacting organisms sharing an environment,” we recognize the need for people to come together, where intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common.

Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote a book about these collectives called Tribes. He defines them as any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.

He says, “for millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It’s our nature.”

communitiesGodin’s point is that the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. Blogs and social networking tools are building new communities of common interest where thousands, even millions of people, join forces around ideas, causes, sports team and product lines.  In Facebook alone, 250 million people are interacting.

People in small towns understand community. They get together at the local hockey game on a Friday night, or the market on a Saturday morning or church on Sunday. These communities within the community grow out of a common interest.  And within these communities an inherent trust develops between the participants.

Have you ever asked your neighbour how he likes his new Cadillac, a movie or who he uses for insurance. Are you likely to trust his opinion?

In business, formal networking provides significant opportunity for growth on the strength of the trust developed within the group. If you have personal experience with a lawyer in your networking group and a friend or associate needs a lawyer, you are likely to connect the two. But let’s say you don’t know a lawyer, but someone you trust in your group does.  The trust developed within the group provides the comfort you need to make a referral.

The Internet and community builders like Twitter, Facebook and You Tube allows you to build bigger communities faster.

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Filed under social media, Stephen Rhodes

The courting ritual

By Stephen Rhodes

In our last  newsletter my partner Jeff Bowman talked about the value of building trust when including Social Media in your marketing portfolio.

It’s really no different than the time and effort required to build trust in a networking group. Your new friends need to know something about you before they are likely to stake their reputation by referring you to one of their customers.

Little Boy With BouquetNetworking online or in person is not about the hard sell. If you are hoping to establish long-term relationships your need to do little courting first. A kiss on the first date is out of the question.

So, as Jeff says, limit how much you talk about yourself – or your products and services –and provide ways to help others instead. Be an expert, a resource for others and you will be surprised how that will build a following.

Look for micro communities –social communities that are relevant to your business. Get involved. Leave comments, so people will see you as an expert. If you submit content, make sure it’s useful and unique.

Social media takes work. And initially, it will seem a little daunting, but the results will come with diligence. Like face-to-face networking, the return on investment will take some time to materialize. But, it’s well worth the effort.

Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, have written an excellent book Trust Agents on how to build trust. These two fellows are well ahead of the curve on what undoubtedly is the new frontier of marketing. I see the Canadian Amazon link shows it’s temporarily out of stock. Be patient or check this link.

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Filed under Marketing, social media, Stephen Rhodes