Guest post by Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link
Successful organizations lead out in extending Smart Trust to their customers. In addition to the companies we’ve already highlighted, you can see this manifested in businesses such as Zane’s Cycles of Connecticut, one of the three largest bike shops in the United States.
Zane’s allows customers to go out the door for test drives on their bikes without asking for any identification or collateral. When customers offer to leave their driver’s licenses, they are politely refused. The message Zane’s communicates to its customers is: Just have a great ride. We trust you.
As its founder, Chris Zane, put it, “Why start out that relationship by questioning their integrity? We choose to believe our customers.”
The company’s high-trust message also communicates clearly to its employees that Zane’s is in the business of building customer relationships, not merely selling products. The result is $13 million in annual sales, with a 23 percent average annual growth rate since opening in 1981 and a loss of only five of the 5,000 bikes sold each year to theft.
Zane states: “Most customers are blown away by how much we trust them, and that goes far in building their confidence in us. As soon as we begin distrusting our customers and treating them like potential thieves, we’ll automatically be putting our relationship in jeopardy. Sure, we may lose those five bikes a year, but the other 4,995 that are test ridden do return.”
Zane firmly believes that the customers appreciate being trusted and that they reciprocate that trust by becoming lifelong customers, returning again and again and referring family and friends. So although there’s a risk, with the company losing five bikes a year, Zane is convinced that it’s Smart Trust because it’s selling significantly more bikes than it would without such a high-trust, referral-generating approach.
About the Authors
Stephen M.R. Covey is the New York Times bestselling author of The Speed of Trust. Greg Link is co-founder of The Covey Leadership Center. The two orchestrated the strategy that led Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to be one of the bestselling business books of the 20th Century.
The above story is excerpted from their new book, Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World. Great book!
arranged access to Covey’s upcoming private 60-minute broadcast for
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"John Kremer's 1001 Ways to Market Your Books was instrumental to our success in making The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the two most influential business books of the 20th century." - Stephen M. R. Covey and Greg Link, authors of Smart Trust
"Thanks to you, Smart Trust is #1 in all books on Amazon & B&N. What can we say?? Thanks seems so insufficient. How's this: You rocked the free world, you extraordinary enlightened earthling you. Well, you rocked our world anyway!
"Please, please keep advocating trust. Together we can trigger a global renaissance of trust and shift the trajectory of life and leadership for generations to come." - In gratitude, Greg Link and Stephen M. R. Covey, co-authors of Smart Trust