Trust is a big part of small business, maybe even more so in a small town. Part of your role as a small business person is to be the trusted source, whether you are the source of a product, a service, or information.
But have you given any thought to it? How do you improve yourself in this role?
Our friends Chris Brogan and Julien Smith have thought about it. The result is a new book, Trust Agents, launching today.
They suggest six things that contribute to your success in this role. Here are my notes from their presentations at SOBCon and 140Conf, plus some of how I think it applies to small business.
1. Make your own game.
If you are the same as everyone else, there is little reason to trust you. This is about standing out, creating something new. Put yourself at an intersection (like, say, rural and small business?), and start building there.
2. Be one of us.
Intimacy seems to trump everything in a trust relationship. All things being equal or not equal, you want to do business with people you like. So understand your customers, act in their best interests.
In a big company, that means being the person who humanizes the company. In the small business world, it means building personal connections, using your small size to be easier to connect with.
3. Use the web for leverage.
The web offers leverage in a couple of ways. First you’re leveraging the chance to have your ideas repeated in multiple forms and multiple places. Ideas can spread from your blog, to Twitter, to Facebook, to email, and on. Second, you’re leveraging your group of interested followers from one network to another, as you connect and reconnect with people in all those different places.
4. Be Agent Zero.
Agent Zero is the connector, at the center of a network, and bringing different networks together. Introduce your customers to the online world. Bring together people from different online networks, different industries, different communities.
Brogan and Smith offer this mantra for connecting others, “Be helpful. Be humble. Share.”
5. Be a Human Artist.
Trust is about people, interacting. That means how you interact matters. Don’t be “that guy.” Make it all about them, your customers.
Reputation is built by being amazing on behalf of others.
And that’s easier than bragging, anyway.
6. Build an army.
This is the skill of building up others. It’s the ultimate expression of trust, isn’t it?
As you educate your customers, you’re creating an army that can multiply your efforts on their behalf. Together, you go out and change the world.
That’s a high level overview. If you like the ideas, you’ll like the book. Chris is doing a big push for Trust Agents today. Stop by there and check it out.
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Chris Brogan just made a nice comment about you in his weekly newsletter…
I agree. You were very helpful to a couple of guys with a cement mixer at BlogWorld.
Thanks for all you do…
Becky McCray says
Bruce! Great to see you here. Chris is generous like that, sharing his spotlight with others.
Will we see you at BlogWorld again this year? Because it just won’t be the same without some friendly guys with a cement mixer, and a cool pickup, I might add.
Chris Brogan says
Can’t love you more than I already do, not without someone taking out a shotgun. : )
You’re good people to me.
Richard Posey says
Love the Agent Zero concept. I think that’s who I’ve been trying to be all my life. I’m gonna buy Chris’s book this week!
Becky McCray says
Chris, you’re wonderful.
Richard, being Agent Zero is a good thing. The connector is at the center of it all. :)
Cart-Away will not be at BlogWorld this year with our mixer… Sorry, but we have it out touring the country, attempting to shake some business out of the trees!
Between touring with the mixer and the launch of our family game on Facebook, I am swamped.
I will miss seeing you in Vegas.
Becky McCray says
Bruce, we’ll miss you, too.