Build Trust, Build Value

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Trust. What is trust? Can we build trust? Can we break trust? Can we rebuild it once it is broken?

In life, we have friendships we believe amount to something. We build trust equaling the value of these relationships. The same goes with our customers. Build trust and build value. If you hold on to what is valuable, you will hold on to your customer. Build a friendship with your customer. Don’t have them be the next person who walks through the door or who calls the store. “Hey, it’s the black sedan needing an oil change.” Stop! Make sure you know your customers. “Good Morning, Miss Smith. It is great to see you.” Build a relationship and enjoy their conversation. As they say, talk about the weather. Over time, you will hold onto this customer and many more for life. Your friendship will matter.

Motivation – What motivates your employees? Are they positive or negative? Do you promote a happy environment, angry environment, tense environment? Think about it. Whatever you are passing down to them, they are passing on to your customers. I once read, “You cannot change the fruit without changing the root.” Think about it. If you want to grow your customer base, what is your foundation? If you want to make better managers, what is your foundation?

When making a decision, long or short term, remember there will always be something attached, or what you would call the ripple effect. A decision affects you and others around you. In the past, I have mentioned Stephen R. Covey and how I love his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Please reference page 123 where it says, “We are free to choose our actions, based on our knowledge of principles, but we are not free to choose the consequences.” Remember, “If you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other.” I feel this is very fitting in business and life. When dealing with customers, you need to plan ahead, prepare your team and educate them. If we do not focus on building trust and added value, the consequences may not work out the way you planned.

View every problem as an opportunity.

 When you have an issue with a customer, do you see it as an opportunity or a crisis? No matter how small the problem may be, your employees should view this as an opportunity to build a relationship with the customer. They now have the opportunity to respond quickly, positively, and be happy to solve the problem at hand. How they are trained to handle these situations makes a difference. Situations will happen in life, but it is how we handle them that will make the difference!

In business, it is unheard of to do anything but a win/win. You are making fair money and the customer gets a good deal, too. However, there are people out there who believe they can get away with a win/lose, where they make all the money. Eventually the customer catches on they are getting ripped off. Over time, this scenario does not work, and the customers eventually leave. A win/win for both parties is a perfect world. When dealing with your customer, make them feel at home, be positive, build trust, invest your time and they will invest in you. A win/win is a frame of mind shown by your actions not only in your everyday life, but also in your business relationships.  

Trust? My father says, “You can’t put trust in a basket or hold it in your hands. Trust is the residue left from the promises you keep.”

AMBER KOSSAK is president and CEO of Solid Start, manufacturer of True Brand Products. She has been in the automotive industry for almost 20 years and is serving on the AOCA board of directors. She can be contacted at: For more information please visit:

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