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Transparency in business: Why honesty is the ticket

posted November 21st 2014, 2:00 pm by Nicole Nelson

[caption id="attachment_1872" align="alignright" width="300"]transparency in business Photo Credit: marcomagrini via Compfight cc[/caption]

Total honesty can be a little scary in business. I mean, do you really want your customers to know about the problems you've been having? The downsides of choosing your business? The cons along with the pros?

The answer: Yes. Yes, you do want them to know.

Why Honesty Is The Ticket

Transparency in business is a long-term strategy, one that your company must commit to from the top to the bottom. Like I said, it's scary. But honesty is always the ticket in business for long-term success, and here's why: When you're transparent in business, you attract customers who sincerely need, want and value what your business offers. Do you really want clients who are a poor fit for your company? That's who you'll get when you are generic, vague and insincere. You might make a little revenue for a short time, but you won't be growing your business that way.

Now that we've laid out some tough love, we'll help you on our "Journey to Transparency in Business," as we like to call it. There's a number of ways to be transparent in business, but these are the biggies.

Transparency in Business: Action Items

1. Cost/Price Information

Do you talk about cost and price openly? When you're a consumer, price is the #1 decision-making factor for any purchase you make, isn't it? Remember that the same holds true for your own clients.

Tip: You can talk about price without bringing up dollar amounts. Talk about the value and provide value to your prospective clients without ever talking hard numbers. Most times, simply explaining how you arrive at your cost is more than they were expecting in the first place.

2. Problems

What issues are you still ironing out? Where do you need improvement? Whether it's surviving a crisis or managing poor feedback, tell your customers what's going on. By showing clients what you're working on, you prove that you're willing to improve. Don't leave your marketing up to third-party brands...address the issues yourself.

Another tip: Counter your negatives with a positive - don't just leave them with a downside; give the upside right after.

3. Comparisons

Why not compare yourself to the competition (being painfully honest, of course)? You know that your leads are doing it anyway, so why not make it easier on them? They'll appreciate that you're willing to look at your industry without blinders on.

4. Reviews

Talk about your competition - again, being honest. What are they really quite good at? What's their forte? Your leads are going to find out, so telling them straight out makes it easier for them to come a buying decision.

One last tip: Leave your own company out when conducting reviews. There will be no way to entirely get rid of bias in your evaluation, and it might discredit your review as a whole.

When we're marketing, we think that we're creating information based on our potential clients. Really, though, most of what we create is determined by our competition - what we do or don't want them to know. It's not common practice in business to bare-all for your would-be customers, but that's what makes transparency in business so effective. Want to stand out from your competition? Well then, honesty is the best ticket.