I subscribe to Psychology Today (the magazine), it’s an annual gift from an uncle of mine, and I find the insight into human behavior fascinating! The December 2015 issue showed up at my door and I proceeded to flip through the magazine skimming articles. That’s where I saw the ‘Trust Me’ insights which, as a marketer, drew my attention. After all, it’s not a big leap from personal to business.

Trust plays a major role in all of our relationships from personal (like the image above) to professional. And building trust in your brand is a crucial part of growing your business. When prospects trust your brand they are more likely to purchase, repeat their purchase, and refer others to you. So how do you build trust? These five points are a great start for any brand:

Deliver good and useful content.

Creating and sharing content that is good quality, relevant and free helps elicit initial feelings of trust for competence. Good quality shows your professionalism. Relevance shows your fit with this prospect. And Free shows that what you’re sharing is just the tip of the iceberg. Al three combined help build initial trust.

Keep to a schedule.

Whatever schedule you have established is one you need to keep. It’s like a promise to those prospects that you respect their time and are honoured with the time they spend on your content – whether it’s a blog post, podcast, workshop or anything else. Make it a priority to keep that content schedule.

Combine competence and warmth.

Yes, everyone wants to work with organizations that are competent in what they do, but warmth goes a long way and in some situations can outrank feelings of competence. According to researchers Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer in their book Friend and Foe, it’s ideal to have both; however, it’s more common for people to be stronger in one or the other.

Deliver on promises.

More often, trust comes before you actually do business. The prospect trusts that what you say you can deliver will be delivered. And when you deliver on promises their trust grows and they feel good about themselves and their opinions.

Be honest and true.

A bit of a no-brainer, but being real with people can encourage positive assumptions. As a business, this is what you want. You will never have time to tell them all the wonderful things about you and your company, but if prospects assume good things then you will get more time at a later date because the relationship continues.

A lot of this gets conveyed through your website, events, collateral, office décor, and more – essentially marketing. It’s important that you have an accurate and unbiased look at how your brand is being presented and perceived. Is it building trust with prospects and clients?

Carolyn Bergshoef is the founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business b2b marketing firm headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Carolyn helps her clients make branding decisions and plan out their b2b marketing.