What a crazy, timorous, and wonderful time to be a leader of a small business in the counter culture industry! Never has there been so much to gain monetarily despite regulatory uncertainty in our industry. The Deeming rule and the shifting marijuana laws state by state are creating an environment ripe for instability yet bursting with opportunity to capitalize on new technologies, products, and services. This cultural dynamic combined with the quite large, emerging customer base of millennials raised on social media, the internet, and in a constant search of the next cool thing have laid the groundwork for the next industrial gold rush. But to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity, one must not only have courage, knowledge, and the right products, but also—and perhaps more importantly—the trust of her or his employees and customers.

Trust, admittedly, is a tricky subject in business. Its unlike analyzing the return on investment costs of products or advertising where one only needs to see how much they spent versus how much they made in return. Trust is more akin to the wind that fills the sails of a sail boat. What I mean by that is even though wind is unseen—much like trust is unseen—it is the energy with which the boat needs to move forward. Trust in business, I argue is not only the unseen force that moves the boat, but the unseen force that moves your customers to buy and your employees to sell.

In fact, gaining the trust of customers, clients, suppliers, and employees is perhaps the most important thing one can do for their business. Trust is the essence of sales; If you get others to trust you, it’s easier to grow and nurture your business and offer unparalleled buying experiences for your customers. So, what can we do to build lasting trust and nurture our businesses to unparalleled success?

1. Be Honest in Your Communication.
Tell the truth. Don’t think that certain people can’t handle the truth. In fact, one should hold themselves to the same standard of honesty that they expect from their employees and customers. It’s a simple idea yet massive in its results.

2. Be Honest in Your Promises.
Keeping a promise is closely related to communicating honestly and integral to building trust. Don’t commit to things you can’t deliver on and never promise something that you know to be out of your control. Think about what is and is not realistic, and do everything in your power to live up to your word.

3. Give Your Trust to Others.
I don’t care if you must “fake it till you make it” or if you’re the most untrusting person alive. Building trust with others is a two-way street, a give and a take. It’s often said that other people need to “earn,” trust but at a certain cynical level you need to ask why would they want to? Instead, I propose being honest in word and action, and giving others the benefit of the doubt.

No one wakes up in the morning meaning to be stupid or careless or mean, so extend the benefit of the doubt until you have reasons enough to prove you wrong. This will allow you to feel better and in turn they will trust you for your generosity.

4. Directly Address Issues.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you cannot get ahold of someone when you need something and you know that they’re dodging you. Chelsea Berler in her article, Trust-Building Tips To Use In Your Business, spoke about this exactly when she said, “Customer trust develops from the first contact and extends through service delivery, implementation, care and support. At each step, you can either damage or enhance this experience for your customers. That’s why it’s so important to deliver on promises if you want to be trusted. If you want people to trust you, you have to care. Address complaints fast. Share information. Gain their confidence. Exude pride and passion about your business. Resolve conflicts quickly.” By being direct you will stand out from others, while building and maintaining trust.

5. Respect the Time of Other People.
Be thoughtful in your interactions with others. People will notice. Promptly return phone calls, reply to emails—and answer every question in it—and be on time to meetings. Trust is often built through thoughtful awareness of other people’s time, schedules, and needs.

6. Create Mutually Beneficial Relationships.
Customers nor coworkers nor employees want to deal with egotistical tyrants. In fact, it is almost universally understood that everybody no matter where they lay on the value chain want to believe that they are making the right decision to work with you or buy from you. Create an environment where customers clearly understand the value you provide and where your employees feel empowered about taking ownership in what they do. This will increase the accountability your employees feel while at the same time demonstrates a level of trust you have in them. The fallout of mutually beneficial relationships in business is having happy customers.

7. Always Over Deliver.
Delight and surprise customers by not just giving them what they ask for but going beyond. Give them more: more service, more time, more convenience, and more understanding. By over delivering you add value to what you do and build trust. You become the one who can get things done, and customers will notice.

In essence, I’m arguing that being honest, working hard, being respectful, and going above and beyond for your customers, employees, and suppliers will make you more money and build trust. Remember, people buy from those they trust. The fact is, that once people trust you, you’re half way there. SVBS

James Deighan is Acting Operations Manager with JJuice LLC.  Mr. Deighan has over 6 years of experience directly involved in the vape industry and 3 as acting director of marketing for JJuice LLC.  Prior to that, he had 5 years of business experience in Sales, Marketing and Strategy at Qivana LLC. Please contact James Deighan, office: 801-331-8919 ect. 105 or at vapejjuice.com.