Let me start off by asking you a question. Do you want to improve your business? Well if you do, I’m going to ask you to start thinking differently about know, like, and trust. Now, know, like and trust has been around for years. It’s been attributed to people like Mark Twain, Stephen Covey, and even past Bacon Podcast guests Bob Burg and Chris Brogan. But know, like, and trust is something that is used without context. It’s a lot. But what I hope to accomplish is to help you reframe it in a way that helps you grow your B2B business.
Trust goes to our emotional core. Our brains have something called the limbic system, and this is responsible for our behavioral and emotional responses. Another part, the frontal lobe, is responsible for planning, organization, logical thinking, reasoning, and managing emotions. Those two things work in concert. Imagine somebody invites you to lunch. Your emotions say, am I hungry? How hungry am I? Your brain logic’s out, I’m not that hungry let’s go to Panera and get some soup, or I’m starving let’s go to a buffet. Your emotions are tied into your entire body, but your frontal cortex helps you to logic out what to do with that.
Now, know, like and trust are emotional terms, but trust is where transactions happen and that has to be earned. A lot of people try to focus on prospects, but here’s the key, prospects are not in your tribe. Cold calling gets a 1 to 3% success rate while direct mail may get a 0.5 to 2% success rate. You don’t need to prospect to get to know, like, and trust you already have what you need. That’s called your tribe of 150.
You May Have It All Wrong
Many of us think of know, like, and trust in the wrong way. They say, “Hey, I’ve got this guy’s business card. So he knows me and I know him, Hey, we’re having a conversation, this person must like me. Hey, they’ve actually shut up and they’re starting to listen to me, they must trust me.” Well, that could not be further from the truth.
I have found that in B2b business, it could take anywhere from two to four years to build enough trust for somebody to purchase from you. This goes to the basics of consumerism versus business-to-business. Let’s take the example of buying toilet paper. As a consumer, if I buy the wrong toilet paper, I might sleep on the couch. But as part of a business, if I buy the wrong toilet paper because I have to buy a lot of it, I might end up sleeping on the street because I got fired. So trust takes a lot longer to earn.
I’ve created a system that I work with to help me determine where people rank in that know, like, and trust. Let me guide you through that process. A traditional sales funnel says that you get as many people in the top and drill them down to the bottom. I want to flip that over and turn it into a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are the 150 people you know, like, and trust. Below that are 1500 people who maybe know and like you. And then below that the base is built around 1500 connections that may know you, but haven’t gotten to like and trust you yet. How can we define know, like, and trust in a way that makes sense to B2B businesses? Follow me on this.
I define the know as level one, the like as level two, and trust as a level three. And you can’t go from level one to level three, it’s impossible. Just like in a video game, you have to climb up that ladder.
Let’s start with KNOW. Here are three questions you can ask and if you can check all these boxes, you really know somebody. Number one, have you met this person in a meeting? It could be live or it could be on Zoom. Secondly, have you had a conversation with them? And third, do you have a desire to connect with them again? It’s what I call are they CRM-worthy? If they’re CRM-worthy, you should be willing to invest the time to collect as much data about that person as possible and enter it into your CRM. You should know, at minimum, their email address, their phone number, maybe their address, whatever it is that you need to stay in touch with them. Because from there you can build the like.
Level two or like is based on these three questions. Can you check one or all of the boxes? Number one, have they connected with you online? Number two, did you have a one-on-one conversation with them since that initial meeting? And number three, is there some sort of engagement happening online or in-person? The key question is, are they liking and commenting on your posts? Do you feel comfortable liking and commenting on their posts? Are you starting to build that like between each other?
Then the third level, trust, is where business happens. In the trust phase, you have to determine, is this somebody who would refer you to your perfect customer? Are they somebody you could refer to your customer? And is there a possibility of doing business together? Again, if any one of those three boxes is checked then they’re in your tribe. And that’s the group that you want to pay the most attention to. It doesn’t necessarily mean you want to ignore people who know and like you or people who just know you, but you should be putting the vast majority of your energy into people who know, like, and trust you and vice versa, versus spending your time trying to prospect.
Your goal here is to try to get people to swim up to the top of the pyramid, that very thin point. People may get to know you, but do you want to keep knowing them. People who know and like you, people that are engaged, that you’re having conversations with all the way to that trust where business happens.
Let me leave you with a handful of final thoughts. Number one, you cannot outsource relationships, which also means you cannot outsource trust-building. Sure you can get an assistant or a personal assistant to come in and post on social media for you. They could even go in and see if anybody responded, but ultimately the end-user wants to know that it’s authentically you who’s creating the response back to them. You, as a person, need to be engaged with this process. You can’t outsource relationships.
Next, trust, within that inner circle of 150 will help expand out to get more people to know and like you. People who may know you will start to do some of the other things like engage on your social media, connect with you, maybe send you an email, or have a coffee. But one of the defining factors I have here is are those people CRM-worthy? Is there a chance that they could excel to the top?
That’s how I do it. I build know, like, and trust, but if you really want to grow your business, you need to focus on people that trust you first and people who don’t know you last.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about how to build know, like, and trust. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?