All posts tagged ethics

4 Ways DSA’S Code Of Ethics Protects You And Your Customers

4 Ways DSA’S Code Of Ethics Protects You And Your Customers

4 Ways DSA's Code Of Ethics Protects You And Your Customers

Ethical conduct is at the heart of good business decisions and these videos demonstrate this premise to consumers, entrepreneurs, direct selling executives, educators and public policy officials. Abiding by DSA’s Code of Ethics protects both the interest of consumers and sellers.

To learn more about direct selling ethics, please visit Direct Selling 411.

Ethics Initiative Videos

What Is Direct Selling?

What is direct selling? Let us show you what an ethical opportunity is all about!

What Is Direct Selling? (en Español)

What is direct selling? (en Español)

Intro to DSA Code

Learn more about what the code is, and why ethical companies comply.

Product Claims

Any claims a direct seller makes about a product must be truthful.

Ethics Initiative Videos

Meet a Direct Seller

Meet a direct seller who is learning to navigate the DSA’s Code of Ethics.

Product Buybacks

Learn about the buy-back policy that all DSA member companies adhere to.

Cooling Off

Learn how the “cooling off period” protects consumers from buyer’s remorse.

Earnings Claims

When recruiting someone into a direct selling opportunity, be honest.

Share Your Unique Story! Come Sign the DSA’s Direct Selling Proclamation

Share Your Unique Story! Come Sign the DSA’s Direct Selling Proclamation

Come Sign the Direct Selling Proclamation from http://dsef.orgAre you a direct seller? Let the world know how direct selling has positively impacted your life!

The Direct Selling Association has created the Direct Selling Proclamation and Compact, and it’s a way for all of us who have been positively impacted by the direct sales industry to show legislators, regulators and many others the significant positive impact that direct sales has had on our lives, and the lives of those around us.

Come join the 11,000 people who have already signed the Proclamation. This is our industry’s firm commitment to business ethics, product innovation and empowerment. All who sign the Proclamation make known their support for the direct selling business opportunity, DSA’s Code of Ethics and DSA’s mission “to protect, serve and promote the effectiveness of member companies and the business people they represent.”

Come sign the Proclamation and add your story to stories like these:

Erika H.
Harker Heights, TX – Texas

My husband and I were struggling in our finances and our marriage. He was working full-time as a solider and part-time in the Mall. I lost my job after having our third child. We were able to improve our marriage and our finances. We are so grateful for the support we received from the company. Our live have been greatly enriched. You can’t buy that. This Industry is amazing. It takes work, dedication and commitment. This is not a get rich quick business. My husband will retire from the Military in 6 months and now we get to continue what we’ve been doing. Changing lives.

Jennifer P.
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Direct selling has allowed me to stay home with my children while still providing for my family. It has giving me my family life back in a way no other job has or could.

Kathy N.
Gainesville, FL

When I was widowed with three young children my direct selling job allowed me the flexibility to determine my own income and work around my family. My children learned the values of honesty with customers, a good work ethic, and watched as I set and achieved goals. They have all grown up with good self-esteem and independence because of my example.

Jennifer E.
Dallas, Texas

I started my business in 1999 as a way to pay off school loans. I fell in love with the strong supportive atmosphere and all of the free business education I would have not been exposed to at such an early age at my corporate position. It has taught me how to be a successful business woman in my community and has given me so many more opportunities to support my family and church than I would have had otherwise. I love taking care of my customers and positively impacting the lives of the women I train.


Share your story now:

Make no mistake: this is a significant document. A vocal minority is trying to convince lawmakers and regulators that direct selling is bad for consumers. We know direct selling is a driving force in the economy, but without the voices of those who have been positively impacted, the assertions of those who would misrepresent us gain traction in the marketplace. While that vocal minority is slinging mud, we will take the high road and simply point out all that is good about direct selling—but we need hundreds of thousands of voices to provide the overwhelming evidence that direct selling is right for consumers.

Come share your unique story among other voices of direct selling entrepreneurs, and pass this along to your direct selling friends and colleagues using the share links below. Sign the Direct Selling Proclamation right now:


Getting Your Best Customers to Promote Your Business

Getting Your Best Customers to Promote Your Business

Getting Your Best Customers to Promote Your BusinessPromoting your business is a continuous job that often requires a great deal of creative energy, time, and money. However, it is important to keep in mind that you have a wonderful resource in your clientele; your clients can not only promote your business for free, but their stories are often more meaningful and effective than any marketing strategy or sales incentive. The following is a list of ways to get your best customers to promote your business.

  • Create excellent products/services your customers need. Without this basic tenet of sound business practice, any of your efforts to promote your business via customers will be meaningless. You should strive for the utmost quality in your products and services, as well as in your customers’ experience patronizing your business. This will lay the foundation for satisfied clients who want to spread the word about your business to anyone who will listen. Would you recommend to a friend a restaurant whose food and service was not up to par? Of course not! But if you had eaten one of the most delicious meals imaginable and your server was attentive, you’d be telling everyone you know to eat there as soon as possible.
  • Give clients what they want so they get excited about sharing their experiences with others. Once you’ve made sure you have quality products and excellent customer service, the next step is to find out what clients want that you may be lacking. When you can deliver on a customer demand, your chances of customer promotion are even greater. For example, listen carefully and take to heart when a customer asks you a question such as, “Do you carry a cleaning kit made specifically for this camera?” or “Where can I buy the conditioner you used on my hair? I love the way it smells!” When customers can get all their needs met while having a great experience, they will want to share that with others.
  • Seek out a loyal customer with a good story to tell who is eager to share it with his or her network of friends. As happy as many customers may be with your products and how you conduct your business, most of the time, they won’t exactly volunteer to become informal spokespeople. Take the initiative to find a customer you know has a good story to share about his or her experience with your business. Ask the person to share the story with friends and family. If you’ve picked the right person, he or she will be happy to do so.
  • Look for genuine stories that customers want to share; do not pay for testimonials. Paid testimonials are less meaningful to potential clients than authentic ones. Think about how many times you’ve read customer reviews on sites like Amazon or Yelp that have influenced your decision to buy a certain product or use a certain company. If you knew some of these reviews were paid for instead of written genuinely and voluntarily, it would most likely change your decision. Besides, if you are doing all the right things to satisfy your clients’ needs, you won’t need to pay for customer promotion anyway.

Don’t let your customer base remain an untapped resource. Authentic stories from satisfied and eager customers are more valuable than any paid advertisement. Strive for excellence so your customers will want to share these stories.

How do you get your customers to promote your business? Please share your comments below!

Ways to Establish Trust

Ways to Establish Trust

followyouIn the highly competitive small business world, it is of utmost importance to develop a level of trust between you and your clients. A strong professional relationship built on trust will bring you long term success through repeat business, loyal customers, and referrals. Here are some ways that you can improve your ability to establish trust in your professional relationships.

  • Be real. Most people will likely be able to sense if you are being insincere. Tap into your true desire to help people find what they need, solve a problem they have, and provide excellent service. It will be clear to others that you are a genuine person, and they will begin to trust you. Nurture that trust over time.
  • Be truly curious about everything. What are your clients looking for? How can you best serve them? Is there a more efficient way to conduct business that you haven’t thought of before? Become more inquisitive, and observe how other successful people operate. When your clients and colleagues see that you are always striving to improve, they will trust you as a person and as a professional. For example, a potential customer has just moved into the area and comes into your flower shop looking for an affordable option for his daughter’s wedding. He raves about the florist in his hometown and how he wishes he could still use him. Ask the prospect questions about why he loved this other florist so much and express your desire to fulfill that need. He will trust that you have his best interests in mind.
  • Keep personal conversations private. Separating your personal life from your professional life is a crucial part of owning your own business. Even if you have customers who are also friends, make sure that any personal conversations you have had with them stay between you. An easy way to break someone’s trust in you is to spread their personal life around town. Even if they haven’t specifically mentioned that discretion is needed, it is a good idea to err on the side of caution.
  • Become an expert. As the owner, you should be an expert in all things involved in your business. This includes products, industry trends, customer demands, marketing strategies, etc. Clients will trust someone they feel is knowledgeable about relevant topics and can educate them accordingly. If you owned a camera shop, and a customer came to you wanting something to get started as a beginning photographer but admits to knowing nothing about cameras, it would be your job to demonstrate your expertise. You would narrow down their choices, help them compare options, and ultimately guide them to making a wise selection. Your specialized knowledge will allow customers to trust your judgment.
  • Help others and always be respectful. This applies to almost every part of life, not just business. However, it often goes overlooked when people are under pressure and stressed out. Maintain a pleasant demeanor and practice appropriate social skills. Even if you come up short in other areas, it is unlikely that you’ll make a bad impression by being a genuinely nice person. Always treat others the way you would want to be treated; this includes everyone from VIP clients to mail room interns.

Establishing trust is a necessary investment to make in your business. Treat others well and always conduct yourself professionally.

How do you establish trust with your clients and colleagues? Please share your ideas below!

Ways to Change a Failing Business

Ways to Change a Failing Business

When you started your business, you were planning to be successful. However, it takes more than a good attitude to maintain a successful small business. If you find yourself facing adversity and your business is beginning to take a downturn, here are some things you can do to turn your business around, and help it thrive.

  • Truly care and cater to customers’ wants and needs. Most people who choose to patronize small businesses are deliberately doing so because of the level of customer service they experience. Make sure you are delivering on this expectation. Demonstrate to your customers that you sincerely care about meeting their needs and satisfying their wants. For example, a local spa owner has been slowly but surely losing clients to the nearby franchise that constantly runs promotions for new and existing customers. Although she can’t compete with their rates, she can offer each customer a more individualized experience. When a customer makes an appointment for a service, such as an upper body massage, she asks specific questions about their preferences (what type of music to play if any, if they’d like the masseuse to converse with them, any desired fragrances, etc.) and tailors the experience to that person. Customers will recognize and appreciate your extra effort and attention and spread the good word about your business.
  • Listen to your existing customer base about ways to improve. There are various ways you can reach out to your customers and ask for their feedback. Face-to-face conversations, email surveys, and incentivized reviews can all give you a good idea of what their impressions are of your business. Really listen to the feedback and make any necessary changes. If your customers are consistently telling you that they find it difficult to make the time to call you when they need something, perhaps you should consider adding online ordering or a Facebook Page for your business, or create an auto-ship program. It’s not always pleasant to hear what you may be doing wrong, but it is a valuable tool that can help you maintain your existing customer base, and build a new one.
  • Personalize and improve your relationships with customers. The small business model is all about building relationships. Your customers are the backbone of the business, so make an effort to get to know a little bit about them. When a woman comes in with her baby, ask her how old he is, mention that your son is around the same age, and share a funny story about your child. Encourage her to do the same, and make sure you introduce yourself. The next time she stops in, you can greet her by name and ask about her family. Don’t hesitate to make notes on your customers as well to help you remember details they might share; the act of recording such particulars can improve your memory. The bottom line is that you should always make your customers feel welcome, special, appreciated and known.
  • Try something new. Perhaps your competitors have begun to offer a new service and have therefore lured away some of your customers. Breathe some new life into your business by trying something new. For example, the owner of a camera shop might offer monthly workshops on various topics such as getting started in photography and how to choose the right camera for your needs. He gets to share his love of photography and the equipment with others while bringing in new traffic each month.  Tapping into your passions is a great way to start when searching for something new to implement into your business.

You can save a failing business by committing to make a few changes. What else should be added to our list? Share your ideas below!

DSEF & CBBB: Facebook Wants To Hear About Phishing Scams

DSEF & CBBB: Facebook Wants To Hear About Phishing Scams

By Amy Fowler

Facebook Security just announced a new way to report phishing attempts to the company. Phishing is a way for scammers to steal your personal information, including username, password, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and more.

If you see or receive a phishing email or message, then forward the information Facebook Security encouraged consumers to report these malicious messages:

By providing Facebook with reports, we can investigate and request for browser blacklisting and site takedowns where appropriate. We will then work with our eCrime team to ensure we hold bad actors accountable. Additionally, in some cases, we’ll be able to identify victims, and secure their accounts.

BBB has identified several common phishing scams related to Facebook, including:

Friend in Distress Scam
Facebook users may receive a message in their inbox from a friend saying that they are in a dire situation — such as stranded in a foreign country — and need money wired to them. The recipient of the message doesn’t realize that their friend’s account has been hacked and that the message was actually sent by scammers. If the Facebook user does wire money to the scammers, they have no way of recovering the money after they learn that their friend is actually safe and sound.
Phishing Friends
You see a provacative post on a friend’s wall or receive a personal message from a friend enticing you to click a link to watch a shocking video or read an unbelievable story. You click on the link and are asked whether you are 18 or are told you must agree to certain conditions. When you agree, you are actually allowing scammers access to your account or computer. Sometimes the link includes a computer virus or other malware.
Viral Wall Post
This also involves provocative messages enticing readers to click a link. However, the end result is that the post you fell victim to is posted to your wall for your friends to see and proliferate.

In addition to reporting any such scams to Facebook Security’s new email address, BBB offers the following tips to stay safe on social media sites:

    • Be extremely wary of messages from friends or strangers that direct the user to another website via a hyperlink.
    • Before wiring money to a friend in a jam, users should attempt to contact their friend outside of the social networking site, such as over the phone or via e-mail to confirm the situation. If that’s not possible, BBB recommends asking them a question that only they would know the answer to.
    • Users should always make sure their computer’s operating system and antivirus and firewall software are up to date.
    • Social networking sites are about sharing information, but BBB recommends that users take steps to keep important information private, espeically details like contact information, vacation dates and other information scammers can use to trick you, your family or friends.
    • Be selective when choosing friends. While a user might not want to be rude, BBB recommends that it’s best to decline a request for friendship if the user doesn’t actually know the person.

For more tips and information, visit Watch Your Buck, the local blog for BBB Serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin.

DSEF and Council on Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) fosters honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. for more information.

DSEF & CBBB: “Truth in Advertising FAQs: Did You Know…?”

DSEF & CBBB: “Truth in Advertising FAQs: Did You Know…?”

By Marjorie Stephens

The BBB’s Code of Advertising was created to be a helpful guide for advertisers but also is very useful to consumers.  It
can help in understanding whether an advertisement is misleading and what stipulations should be met.  Should you see or hear an advertisement that you might question, please bring it to a local BBB’s attention so we can check into it further.  Here are some questions below to test your knowledge of advertising Do’s and Don’ts:

  1. If an advertised product is marked as “free”, is it or isn’t it acceptable to use an asterisk(*) to refer to conditions in the fine print below that must be met, to receive the “free” product?  According to the BBB Code, an “advertiser must disclose this condition clearly and conspicuously together with the “free” offer (not by placing an asterisk or symbol next to “free” and referring to the condition(s) in a footnote”.
  2. True or false?  When ordering products online, do sellers need to include the cost of postage, tax, shipping and handling, installation, and other fees?  “Whenever a price is mentioned in advertising, any extra charges should also be disclosed in immediate conjunction with the price, (e.g. delivery, installation, assembly, excise tax, postage and handling).”
  3.  Is it an advertising offense to place an ad in the paper, where a computer or other product is marked way down and to not have the product available?  If the product is intentionally unavailable by the seller, is it a good business practice to promote another more expensive product?  Obviously, there are certain, very popular products that are impossible to keep on the shelves, and it is next to impossible to keep up with the demand.  However, a business may promote a product because they know it is a draw for consumers and not have it in stock, with the intention of up selling a different product.  Since the consumer is already in the store, time is of essence and rather than taking the time to look for this product at another store at the marked down price, a consumer may opt to just buy the higher-priced product. This tactic is known as “bait and switch” and is a big no-no.
  4. “An advertiser should have on hand a sufficient quantity of advertised merchandise to meet reasonably anticipated demands, unless the ad discloses the number of items available or state ‘while supplies last.’ If items are available only at certain branches, their specific locations should be disclosed.  The use of ‘rain checks’ is no justification for inadequate estimates of reasonably anticipated demand.”
  5. If “easy credit” is offered at a used car business for those, who have bad credit or no credit, is it acceptable to charge higher interest fees?  No, it is not acceptable to charge higher fees.  The fee schedule and down payment should be the same as for someone with good credit.  Phrasing such as “no credit rejected” should be avoided, unless absolutely true.  There are definitely consumers, who cannot and will not honor a credit agreement, no matter how good their intentions.
  6.  If a warranty is offered on a product or service, must a business disclose the terms of the offer in writing?  “When the term ‘warranty’ (or ‘guarantee’) is used in product advertising, the following disclosure should be made clearly and prominently: a statement that the complete details of the warranty can be seen at the advertiser’s store prior to sale or in the case of mail or telephone order sales are available free on written request.” 
  7. Is it okay for a company to say, “We’re the best!” or “Our product is the best!” in their advertising?  Claims of superiority should be objective, measurable against an accepted, industry standard or “performance values of a product or service”.  Substantiation should be provided for the claim and should disclose negative as well as positive details.  Subjective claims, personal opinions, etc. should be avoided. 
  8. What credentials are required for a person to endorse a product or service in an ad?  Can anyone do it?  It is recommended that an endorsement is genuine and is quoted in its entirety so misleading information is not given.  An endorser should be qualified in a certain area of expertise.  For instance, it doesn’t make sense for a world champion boxer to give an expert medical opinion on a new medication, just released for use by the FDA.
  9. An ad for a new diet product says that you can lose hundreds of pounds and that it is doctor recommended.  Does this meet the BBB’s Advertising Code?  Ad claims with results such as this should be “based on recent and competent scientific, engineering or other objective data”. 
  10. A retailer has been selling laptop notebooks like crazy and decides to increase the “sale” price of it in an ad?  Is this an acceptable practice?  Sale may only be used in advertising, if there is a significant reduction from the advertiser’s usual and customary price of the merchandise offered and the sale is for a limited period of time.  If the sale exceeds thirty days, advertisers should be prepared to substantiate that the offering is indeed a valid reduction and has not become their regular price.”
  11. If a car dealer sells a car “As Is”, is he or she responsible for telling the consumer about any problems with the car?  The car dealer does not have to disclose any problems with the car.  It is up to the consumer to have the car physically inspected by a reputable car mechanic, prior to agreeing to purchase the vehicle.  Should any problems arise, once the vehicle is purchased, it is the consumer’s responsibility to have them fixed. 

For further questions regarding the BBB Code of Advertising, visit us online For any concerns with advertisements that you may see on the internet, TV, billboard or hear on the radio, please contact your localBetter Business Bureau.

Why Are Customers Attracted to You?

Why Are Customers Attracted to You?

It’s no secret that consumers have many choices when it comes to where they purchase a product or service.  In most cases, the same product can be found at a local retail store, a big box chain, and at several online marketplaces.  With all this competition, it’s important for small business owners to recognize and appeal to customers’ attraction to your particular business.  Giving them a reason to choose you is not as difficult as you may think. Read on to find out why you possess an edge over your competitors.

  • They trust you.  You consistently provide an exceptional customer service experience.  You’re attentive, pleasant, knowledgeable of your products’ features and benefits, and you’re always willing to go the extra mile.  Not only that, but because customers are always dealing with you, a relationship can grow.  Wouldn’t you rather shop with someone who knows you by name, asks about your family, is familiar with your product needs, and can even anticipate them?  Most people are even willing to pay a bit more to have a shopping experience like this; if they know they aren’t being “sold to,” they will want to return as loyal customers because they trust that you have their best interests in mind.
  • They have a need for your product/service.  This is where it becomes imperative that you know how to demonstrate to your customers why they need your product.  Perhaps it offers little known but substantial health benefits, provides a solution to an everyday problem, or just makes life a little bit easier.  Knowing how to educate potential customers is a major asset to your business because you will be able to attract new people all the time.  Become an expert in what you’re selling and share your enthusiasm about the product with others.
  • It’s a great value.  Value isn’t always about the price.  Value is about the overall package.  As stated above, customers are usually willing to pay a little more for certain things, and a product’s value will determine how much more that is.  For example, your window treatments, although competitively priced, may not be the cheapest available.  What you can offer, however, is a guarantee that the work isn’t completed until the customer is satisfied with the result.  You also offer free lifetime consultations on any room in the house after the purchase of just one other window treatment.  A service like that can tip the scales in your favor when a customer is deciding who to shop with.  Find ways to increase the value of your products and services, and your customers will be more attracted to your business than some of your lower-priced competitors.
  • You help them through the buying process.  Making the choice to buy something can be stressful for many people.  All the choices of where to go and what to buy can be overwhelming to say the least.  Do everything possible to help your customers make their way through the process from start to finish.  Yes, there is a chance that they decide not to buy from you in the end; however, your personalized service will make a positive impression that likely bring that customer back to you in the future and even recommend you to others.  Remember to listen, be patient, and offer your expert advice through every step of the process.

Why do you think customers are attracted to you?  Please add your ideas to our list in the comments section below!


Executive Spotlight: Angela Loehr Chrysler, Team National

Executive Spotlight: Angela Loehr Chrysler, Team National

From the DSEF: We’re excited to continue our blog series featuring top executives in DSEF-supporter direct selling companies today! Every few weeks we’ll introduce you to another top executive, and they’ll share their thoughts on Direct Sales, Ethics, Social Good, and why they support the DSEF. 

Today we’re thrilled to continue this series with Angela Loehr Chrysler, the President and CEO of Team National, a company that provides membership savings with a wide variety of products and services in over 20 different industries. Team National has been a big supporter of the DSEF for many years, and Angela Loehr Chrysler is a member of the DSEF board. We’re thrilled to have her share her thoughts with you today. Enjoy!

Executive Spotlight: Angela Loehr Chrysler, Team National

Angela Loehr Chrysler

What is the name of your company, and how did you become involved with this company? 

My company is Team National. My dad is the founder of the company. I started in 2000, helping him with some research.

What did you do before you got involved with your company? 

I was in Medical Sales and was briefly involved with a direct selling company…right industry, bad company. They are no longer in business due to improper activities. It was a great learning experience.

What do you love about your company?

I love the people and the opportunity for us to help them change their lives, along with the lives of others around them.

What makes your salesforce amazing?

Great attitudes, fun people, entrepreneur spirit and the desire to help others grow and live their dreams.

Ethics is an integral part of DSA membership. How do you ensure your company maintains the highest level of ethics?

Ethics and integrity are important to us, therefore it begins with us. We believe we need to lead by example.  We need to communicate and model ethical behavior.  One of our leaders often says, “Our actions must speak so loud people don’t need to hear what we are saying.”

Social good is another essential element of direct sales. What kind of social good campaigns does your company participate in or run?

We feel we need to share the blessings we have been given. We support local and national charities. We donate product and marketing tools to regional events to raise money for our Charities of Choice.  We encourage giving back amongst our staff.  We also get involved in local events such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, where we collected toys for kids. We walk with our staff in the Broward Humane Society walk for animals.  We attend and sponsor a variety of charity events throughout the year.

Your company has been a Direct Selling Education Foundation supporter. Why do you think the DSEF is important?

DSEF helps us share the positive information about our industry.  There are so many good things DSA companies are part of that we are thrilled to help DSEF tell the good stories and educate others about DSA as a whole. We are passionate about DSA and the opportunities with so many great companies and products.  Therefore DSEF is a natural choice to help educate and communicate information about our industry that allows us the opportunity to help so many.

Thank you, Angela, for sharing your thoughts with us. We are grateful for the support of companies like Team National, that help us to spread the message of ethics, entrepreneurship and integrity around the world. We appreciate you!

Free resource for you

Download our free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

DSEF & CBBB – Go On, Trust Me: Why We Trust Some People But Not Others

DSEF & CBBB – Go On, Trust Me: Why We Trust Some People But Not Others

By Holly Doering

Ever think about why you trust some folks and not others? Author and psychologist Michael Lovas once conducted an experiment using body language. He stood at one end of the airport and walked toward someone at the other end, copying their gait, head position, and hand gestures. Almost always, the other person nodded, smiled, or otherwise acknowledged — even kids who looked like gangbangers.

I can remember a customer review on that mentioned the author was initially inclined to trust a certain business because of the store cat, a well-fed, rescued animal. But the customer ended up unhappy. I don’t know who is wrong, right or misunderstood in that situation, but I do know this: If you want to “start with trust” when you research a company, it’s great if they’re kind to animals, a family-owned, multigenerational minority business, donate to charity, or in some other way seem similar to you. But!

The real substance is their track record. When you check out a company at, you’re starting to build a picture of its past actions in the marketplace. Are they properly licensed? Do they generate a pattern or volume of complaints? How do they handle complaints? Remember that scam artists love to prey on your sympathies by telling you they, too, are Christian, policemen, disabled, teachers or something else that seems trustworthy.

A recent study at the Kellogg School of Management found that using subliminal clues, like the name of a good friend, could stimulate feelings of trust for a stranger without people realizing it. Con men, the professor says, commonly drop names to stimulate trust. So investigate before you invest: A gut feeling is fine, but trust ideally is earned.

Previously published in the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

DSEF and Council on Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) fosters honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. for more information.