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Cultivating trust with your B2B prospects

“Our prospects know who we are. We just need them to buy from us.”

If we’ve heard this once, we’ve heard it a hundred times.

The problem with this thinking is the difference between knowing of you and really knowing you.

To know of is not to know. And our B2B prospects need to know us more, right? Not necessarily. The answer is they need to trust us.

Of course, you have to earn it, not say it. So, how does your B2B company earn it through your brand marketing? Many marketers answer that question with responses like these:

  • Show my product to be reliable. 
  • Communicate my core competencies.

But neither of those is really the answer. Because trust is not built on the rational. It’s built on the emotional.

The Values Institute defined five components they call “The Science of Trust.” The five components are:

  • Competency 
  • Care
  • Connection 
  • Concern 
  • Candor

Competence is important. But why do B2Bbrands spend 90 to 100 percent of their marketing efforts trying to convince prospects they are competent?

Look at your brand website, marketing activities, content and PR indicatives. What percentage of these efforts fall into proving your competency? Now, what percentage are about care, connection, concern and candor?

One way to bring this to life is to be intentional about each element of trust. Ask yourself these questions.

  • Which marketing strategies and tactics have we built intentionally around gaining trust in ways that are about our B2B prospects, not our products? 
  • How do our products, policies and marketing communications show care and concern for our customers? 
  • Which of our strategies and tactics have been designed specifically for connection in real and meaningful ways? (Facebook likes are not the connection we’re talking about here.)
  • Do you invite—yes, invite—candor from B2B customers?

Think again with comparisons in our personal lives. Competence is important, but it’s shallow without deeper elements of a relationship.

Have you ever counseled a friend in the first year of a relationship? During that time when they’re wondering if that someone is “the one”? Did your friend ever say, “He’s so competent, I think he’s the one.”? Of course not.

Developing trust for a brand is strikingly similar to building trust in our personal lives. It’s the care and concern. It’s the connection. So what’s your B2B brand talking about?


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