Some of you may or may not know that I perform magic. Not real magic. When I was a kid I did birthday party magic shows, and in high-school and college worked in comedy clubs doing comedy and magic. I still practice card tricks.
There was a magic shop in Washington, DC owned by Al Cohen. I met Al when I was a teenager. As I started to perform more and more for money, I could afford to be a regular customer of Al’s. Whether I bought tricks from his newsletter or came to the shop in person whenever I was in town, Al would consider me one of his “regulars.” One day Al said, “Shep, I know what you like. I get new magic books and props in here every week. If you want, I can take your credit card number and send you whatever I know you’ll want. If I’m wrong, send it back.”
Without hesitating, I handed over my credit card info. Every so often I would receive a package from Al’s shop. He was never wrong. Not once did I return an item. He knew me so well – and treated me so well – that I trusted him.
About ten years ago I had a little convertible. I bought it on eBay for a few thousand dollars. I referred to it as my “hunk of junk.” It was fun to drive, and it was mechanically sound. The car was 35 years old, and most regular car dealers wouldn’t work on it because of its age and the difficulty to source parts. I found a mechanic who had one bay in an industrial area and knew how to work on these older cars. I remember taking my car in for service and asking him, “What’s this going to cost me?” He replied with a smile, “Half of what the dealer charges. You’ll have to trust me.” Well, I did, and he never disappointed me. Whenever he worked on my car, it was always less than I thought it would be, and I’m sure at least half of what a typical dealer would charge. I’m glad I trusted him.
Not long ago I had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. The owner asked if I trusted him to surprise me with a meal that he knew I would enjoy. I reminded him I didn’t like mushrooms. He prepared an amazing meal. It wasn’t on the menu. I had to trust him, and he didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait to go back and trust him again.
These are simple examples just to make the point. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in, trust creates loyalty. Earning your customers’ trust typically takes time. It comes from a predictable and consistent set of experiences. Your customers know what to expect, and you deliver every time. They also know you won’t take advantage of them. So, how much do your customers trust you?