The third stage in the buying process is trust.  I attended a meeting recently on sales and marketing for the future.  The most important message to come from the meeting was simple.  Everything we have done for the last 30 years in marketing is no longer applicable.  Today’s “social revolution,” the role of social media is all that we do, is really a “trust revolution.”

The collective populous has always had an opinion about almost every subject.  They just never had a platform in which to share it.  Today, they do.  Take for a moment life before Google.  Who did you ask so many questions to and get so many answers bore you had the world literally in your lap?

Any thought you have, any interest you want to explore is just a few key strokes away.  Some of that information is credible and accurate.  Some is not.  Trust is earned in the new buying process often by what is gathered and found on searches from a laptop, with little or no context or sense of authorship.  And sadly, trust is often deferred and earned by those who have little fact or information, but a really big voice on the internet.

So how do we impact trust with our prospects and “surfers?”  The first thing we need to do is participate in the conversation.   Sitting on the sideline and hoping it goes away or will take care of itself is a bit naive. My best analogy of the social revolution is that of a fast paced river.  It will always flow and it is filled with facts, opinion, information and reactions to all of the above.

You have a choice to either stand on the shore and watch it all pass before you, or hop into a canoe and join the conversation.  Trust is about participating in the conversation and guiding the information about you, your company and your industry.  You will continue to earn trust by commenting and responding to questions, adding new information to the conversation, and providing expert advise to those who seek it.

The second part of impacting trust for others lies in how you conduct business.  The world today is transparent.  Everyone can see everything, and there is little control over what is said.  The best way to ward that off is be the best business leader you can be- always.

Guest Post by: Mike Karlsrud is an optical professional who “makes brands come alive” for optical practices nationwide.  He is owner of and

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