Mary Kay Learns "What Women Want" - The Final Chapter

06-17-2009 2:42 PM

We've reached the final piece of the puzzle in "10 Things Women Want Now", and it is the ONE THING that everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE!) needs to pay attention to right now.  That thing is TRUST.  Whether you're an individual, a small business, a multi-billion-dollar global corporation, a service provider, a charity, a government organization, you name it, if you're not focusing on BUILDING TRUST with the women who interact with you, you will not be successful in these times. 

Women value the intimacy and trust they have with their closest friends, their husbands and boyfriends and their family members.  They are somewhat skeptical, however, when it comes to trusting the companies and people they do business with.  Their trust must be earned.  The best way to gain that trust is by being open and honest with her in everything you do.  If you're not, you can bet she can "smell" it a mile away.  That 'women's intuition' kicks in and once your intentions appear questionable, it can be really difficult to regain her attention, let alone earn her trust.  And with so many choices today of where to take her business, you can bet she will take it somewhere that does provide her with the level of confidence and trust that she's seeking.

I think this is one of those areas that's not "new" as far as women seeking out people and companies they trust, it's just a matter of the degree of importance.  There have been so many instances of things in society over the past 10 years that have really shaken women's trust in institutions and the people behind them.  That's what has brought us to this place we are today, where women just will not do business with people and companies that they don't trust.

Mary Kay Ash knew in 1963 when she began our company that the success of our business would be built around the relationships of the people.  That is evident in her decision to use The Golden Rule as the founding principle of our business, and she was passionate in instilling that belief within each of us.  "Treat everyone you meet as if they are wearing a sign around their neck that says 'Make me feel important'" is the approach she taught. She also was very aware of the fact that a woman who has a bad experience with a company will tell many other people about it.  Likewise, a woman who has a good relationship with a brand and trusts the people that represent the brand will also tell many others about it.  (And of importance to note is that "the people" are one of the most important parts of developing and keeping that trust.)

This reminded me of a conversation I had with my husband just last night on this topic.  He was telling me about his day, and that he had gone to lunch with one of his horse-trainer buddies at the sub shop (the brand shall remain nameless, although several of my friends will know of whom I speak because I did share my experience with them).  I reminded him that I have not stepped foot into one of their shops for almost one year now, and I used to visit at least once a week, because of the last experience I had with one of "their people".  I no longer trust the brand because of the actions of one of the employees who was serving me, so I have taken my business elsewhere.  (I might have given them a second chance, except that after my experience I wrote a personal letter to the Chief Marketing Officer of the company, as I thought he'd want to know -- I certainly would have wanted to know if a Mary Kay customer had an experience like I had.  Well, let's just say that the company business philosophy must be radically different from the Mary Kay philosophy that I'm accustomed to, because he never even responded to my letter.  That action, or inaction, definitely said to me that they did not value my business, so I chose to not give it to them.  I have changed doctors, switched grocery stores, and found new hairstylists all for similar reasons.

There are also many companies that I LOVE doing business with, primarily because of the people involved.  They are genuine and seem to really care about my satisfaction and want to keep my business.  I TRUST THEM, BECAUSE THEY HAVE EARNED IT.