4 Ways to build trust with your affiliates.

trustAny parent out there can really relate to this photo.  I love it.  I think of any one of my children (now 4) and yes, I get a little teary eyed.  Ask my staff, at our anniversary party last year my lovely wife had to finish my thank you speech.  You can almost see the smile on the child’s face, a little bit of fear in his eyes, but in the end he trusts daddy to catch him before he hits the ground.

It takes a little while to coax him off the ledge, to get him to jump into dad’s arms, but eventually he does.  I remember my daughter, the fiery little redhead, wanting to jump off of the coach, or coffee table, or even kitchen counter, into my arms.  But first, she really didn’t know that I could or would catch her and make sure she didn’t get hurt.  So she started by jumping on me from the floor.  Then she moved to the coffee table, then the coach and now she’ll jump on me when I’m not looking, off of any furniture, chair or whatever she can find (let’s hope not the roof of the garage lol).  It took her time to know that I would be there and catch her, every time.  But like I said, now she knows, and she counts on it every time, even when I’m not aware of what she is doing or ready for her to leap.  It’s pretty cute and it’s all about trust.  I have a million stories like this.  Trust, it’s so important.

My last blog was about follow-up and it’s importance in affiliate management.  This topic and the topic of trust has been top of mind for me this past week, not only because our MyAffiliateCoach members are going through our Building Strong Relationships module, but we hired this week and are training our new staff on affiliate management.  It’s the most important topic. Trust.

Building trust with your partners takes time, consistency and commitment.  It doesn’t happen overnight and isn’t the result of one huge decision or action you did or made completely right.  It comes down to small decisions and choices, made consistently well over time (I believe I had that conversation with my 14 year old this morning as I dropped him off at high school).  That track record that you build, increases the trust in you from your partners and will help you be successful in growing your program and your career.

Here are four things you can do to help build that trust.

  • Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Not a complex idea, but it’s not always easy.  You have to speak the truth and mean it.  If you say you are going to do X, do it.  Every.  Single. Time.
  • Care.  People can spot a phony in a heartbeat.  Do you actually care for your affiliates?  Do you want them to be successful?  Get to know them, they are great people.  Show a level of interest and caring that a person is worthy of.
  • Be helpful.  I see many managers make the mistake of focusing on “what’s in it for me”.  Can you imagine talking to 10 people a day who only care about what you can do for them?  Today is a great time to devote a part of your day to doing something that will help your affiliates, not only with your program (and maybe not with your program at all), but overall in their business.  This ties in very well with point 2.
  • Be authentic.  I teach our employees never to misrepresent themselves.  I’m sure affiliates here could list story after story about affiliate managers and merchant contacts who said they could do this, or done this, or their program converts at X and it simply doesn’t.  Don’t oversell yourself, your program, it’s stats or your expertise, experience or ability.  The affiliate industry is a pretty friendly, familiar and educational group.  If you don’t understand something, there is bound to be a few people in the community that would love to help, and that authenticity is greatly appreciated and refreshing.

    Were you hoping for a list of 4 actions you could take right now?  A step by step guide to building trust?  It’s just not that easy.  It takes time and a commitment to doing better and being better.  Wait a minute, those four things would work at home, church, within my family, on ball field….

    Talk to me.

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