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01 November 2014

Do customers view you as the Real Deal? Are you Authentic?

Have you ever had a chat with someone and you walked away with your “Spidey Sense” screaming that the conversation and/or the person was completely full of it? Or did you have the feeling that what they “said” was not in alignment with their intentions or actions?

I call that “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” – or, more adult like, we’d say that person was not being Authentic.

As one of the 4 Tenets of Modern Consumers, we demand authenticity in our partnerships and relationships as “inauthentic” experiences slice through our Trust and heighten our perception of Risk in doing business or building a relationship with someone.

Compared to its counterparts – Transparency, Responsiveness and Collaboration – the other Tenets of Modern Consumers –

We can sniff out and smell inauthentic, fake people in our first impressions and you only get one shot at a first impression, right!?!

Being an authentic person and an authentic business should seem effortless. Be more YOU, right? It’s actually not so easy when you start to wear a lot of hats in your business or try to be all things to all people to grow sales.

Customers not only demand that your actions align with your ideals but also that your Value aligns with their values.

Most people operate authentically and with integrity but once you build a business; it can be difficult to maintain that same level of authenticity throughout your entire organization.

Check the “Authenticity” gauge of your organization. Does your brand, your culture and your talent force help you live your values?

Here’s your 4 point Authenticity checklist:

Do You Show Up As You?

Professional does not mean Impersonal. YOU are not a product. You are not a company or a service. You are YOU. A human being promoting a service, product or business. People build relationships with other people, not companies, not cars or technology. The “things” and the “what you do” are bi-products of a relationship with you. Build relationships and trust around YOU and THEM and solve their problems with the “Things” and “What”.

Do You Do What You Say You Will Do?

The most angst and frustration in consumer feedback posts on Social Media comes from Broken Trust. Want to really hack someone off? Don’t do what you say you are going to do, how and when you say you’ll do it and you will cut off trust at the knees. This theory sounds simple too but is often flubbed because of missing one very important thing: Communication. Much of our frustration is due to lack of clear and transparent processes or explanations of how a product or business will meet our expectations. If we’re crystal clear about what to expect on the front of things, the chance of missed expectations and thus, broken trust is reduced greatly.

Do you Engage and Share with your Customers?

Communication matters GREATLY to us, as modern consumers. There are probably no less than 20 methods {apps, emails, messengers, carrier pigeon} that you can communicate with someone at any given time. As customers that are interested in you, we’re open to communication. We want to be engaged, talk with, instead of talked at. Are you sharing relevant stories of your customers with your customers? Do you ask them for feedback? Input? Engaged and communicative customers become your best advocates. Don’t just talk “at” them, talk “with” them.

Do you “Own” Your Point of View?

There is too much competition for time, attention, resources, to try to play it safe and be “plain vanilla” to appeal to everyone. Authentic people, authentic companies have passion, have purpose; have goals and causes that they champion. When you are talking about WHY you do business, build products or choose a cause, you’re demonstrating a Point of View that can not please or placate every one. The more passionate and developed your POV is, the more strongly people can align their values with yours. Your Authenticity meter goes up when you commit, live and share your unique Point of View. Your expertise and knowledge helps build trust which makes it easier for people to buy you and buy from you.

Don’t let the smell of inauthenticity create a stink that keeps clients away. Be more You – credible, trustworthy, flawed, human with opinions and all – and help your organization be more authentic to build trust and loyalty with your customers.

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!

-sks