Experienced buyers can see through some of life’s biggest tricks: UFOs, oceanfront property in Arizona, sugar-coated marketing tactics. Oftentimes the most sought-after clientele are also the most skeptical—they are the most courted, most desired segment, so why wouldn’t they be the most savvy to the tricks of the trade? B2B marketers who think they can just tell this group what they want to hear and get ahead are sorely mistaken. Being Transparent wins in this market. Be trustworthy; live up to your reputation; and engage in an open and honest dialogue.
McKinsey’s 2012 branding survey of 1,408 global executives found that the greatest factor influencing customers’ perception of a provider’s brand strength is whether or not the brand “cares about honest, open dialogue with its customers and society.”
Translation: You not only have to provide best-in-class products and services, you have to do it in an open and honest way.
Being transparent in business creates trust economies
Should you be the one to inform your potential customer how your solution compares to others in the marketplace? The short answer is yes. Your competitors will happily outline why you’re not the right provider, and potential clients are looking for this information. They will read reviews online and talk with industry peers, so take advantage of the opportunity to build trust and clearly differentiate your offering.
Unfortunately, unsavory business practices still exist and poison the well, making customers more cynical and in need of more reassurances. By being truthful, honest, authentic, and transparent, you create a trust bond that allows your message to break through. At the same time, you can provide value and educate buyers, becoming their trusted source for important information in the industry. How can you start applying this principle to your business?
Play the long game.
If you’re not the right fit for a customer’s current project and you help them understand who is, you can bet your name will come up again in the future. Showing that you are a trusted, helpful partner will bring you business — both from that customer and those they share their experience with.
Make it easy for customers to share feedback.
Millennials, who are making up an increasing portion of the workforce, especially value transparency. Millennials responsible for B2B purchasing decisions also are likely to leave positive feedback when they’ve had a good experience (69% say they will post a compliment on a vendor’s website or positive comments, photos, or video on social media), according to IBM Institute for Business Value. Giving customers a simple way to share their experiences will help others when they’re researching your services and show that you’re not sweeping anything under the rug.
Use social media strategically.
Social media is not only a great place to interact with customers; it’s the perfect outlet to pull back the curtain on your operation. Showing real employees and projects gives your audience a more personal, authentic view. Social media can also be an opportunity to provide education and showcase your offerings. How do you show customers that honesty is your policy? Let us know here, here, or here.