No one every buys anything that is important to them or about which they have a choice until they trust you. Not a product. Not a service. Not an idea.
So … unless your business is built on one-time sales to customers with no choice or you are selling something that exists below the threshold where trust is even a consideration, the need to build a reputation for trust is critical to your success.
Here are five principles that you must master to earn and maintain the trust of others. They apply if you are a manager, parent, co-worker, colleague, sales professional, or … an elected official.
• Character: Every discussion of trust begins here. Character defines an individual’s approach for dealing with themselves and others. The nagging question of motive lingers when character is in question.
• Competence: How good are you at your job? How much do you know about your product? Can you answer my questions with confidence and authority? Professionals who earn my trust are competent.
• Communication: Communication that builds trust is about listening. Unfortunately, too much emphasis has been placed on the importance of the pitch. We tend to trust those who appreciate our goals, struggles, joys and situation.
• Consistency: Confidence that your performance will be in line with past experience frees others from worry about protecting themselves from an unpredictable response.
• Courage: True courage requires commitment and the willingness to accept personal risk. It fosters admiration and sets in motion a series of events that influence long-term success.
Do This Now
• Be very clear about the values for which you stand. What are the principles that are so important that you would never compromise them … even if it meant losing the sale, the relationship, or the vote?
• Be consistent with the messages you send. Communication is everything and everything communicates when building trust. A reputation for listening and caring that is communicated through action over time is the stuff of legends.
• Get better at your job. Customers have always had a choice. It didn’t matter as much when there were more than enough buyers to go around. Today, you have to be better tomorrow than you are today. Learn more, grow more, and invest more in education.
• Never sacrifice trust for short-term gain. Consistency and courage build relationships that last a life time. Yes, you have to make your numbers today. But, legendary leaders and companies are still delivering results today for the precise reason that they are unwilling to sacrifice trust for short-term gain.