Trust in Business: Simple Strategies for Building Trust

”The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” –Brian Tracy

Trust in BusinessWhether you are an employee or entrepreneur, building trust in business relationships is one of the most critical factors for success.  Nothing undermines a relationship more completely than lack of trust, and it cannot be taken for granted. You’ve heard that it takes time and effort to build trust, and only a few seconds to break it.  Success in business is all about relationships, and with the proper focus you can build relationships based on trust.

Trust must be earned.  When you first meet someone, they don’t really know you and so they cannot really trust you.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming someone trusts you early in a relationship.  Whether we admit it or not, we all tend to stereotype until we get more information about a person that either prov

es or disproves the stereotype.  Next time you meet someone for the first time, pay attention to your thoughts about that person.  You will likely be comparing him to someone else you already know and making some assumptions about this person based on those past experiences.  Likewise, you do not know how you measure up because you do not know how you are being stereotyped.  It is up to you to build the relationship so that your character shines and trust can be built based on you, not a ghost from the other person’s past.

Trust is built when people can rely on your word and it is only built through integrity and consistency in relationships.  People only do business with other people that they know, like and trust.  Customers do not buy from just anybody.  The popularity of the franchise restaurants is because the customer knows what kind of experience to expect, from the physical building, atmosphere and décor down to the quality and consistence of the food being served.  You need to earn the trust of your customers by letting them get to know you, your credibility, reliability and focus on serving others.

  • Do you do what you say you will do?  They key is to under-promise and over-deliver, not the other way around.  Make sure you keep your promises and do not offer proposals you know you can’t meet.
  • Share your expertise.  Give it away, freely.  Let others see that you know your subject and have the expertise to help them as well.
  • Identify the customer’s needs and focus on how you can meet them.  It is not about you, it is about serving them.  This starts with listening to them, and making sure you understand where the gaps are that you can solve.

MicromanagerIn the corporate environment, my theory is that you have to earn your freedom.  If you need to be told what to do and then consistently asked for status until the task is finally done, your boss has no alternative but to micromanage you.  On the other hand, if you are the kind of person that is proactive, looks at what needs to be done and then tackles it, your boss will have less need to watch over you.  Results count.  If you want more latitude in your job, be the kind of person your boss can trust to get the work done.  Early in my career, I had a supervisor who understood this and rewarded it.  I was a computer programmer who showed up for work later than most of the team because I was usually up late the night before.  One day, my boss called me into a conference room, and I was sure I was about to get “the talk” about my working hours.  Instead, he gave me an award!  His comments to me were that he recognized that every time there was a tough problem that needed to be solved, regardless of whether it was during working hours, late night or on the weekend, I was the one he could count on to fix it.  He did not care that I strolled into work at 10am, he cared about the results I was getting.  Since then,  I’ve seen time and time again where employees who get results, who can be trusted to get the work done, have much more freedom from the bureaucracy imposed by management and more success in their careers.

If you manage employees, you must also earn their trust and respect.  Office politics, back-stabbing, negativity and lack of productivity are all symptoms of a lack of trust.  Only if your team believes you have their best interests at heart will they put in the effort to achieve your business goals.  Mutual trust is based on the belief you can depend on each other to achieve a common purpose.  How do you earn this trust?  Here are 4 simple steps to get started:

  • Keep your promises.
  • Never ask someone to do something that you would not do yourself.
  • Be transparent.  Share feedback, discuss priorities & goals, and communicate often.
  • Support them.  Give them the resources they need, and back them up when they need you.

Trust in business relationships is critical to achieving real success.  Building trust should be the focus of all your interactions, regardless of whether you are an employee, business owner or solopreneur.  Become the kind of person others can count on and your reputation will grow and your success will follow. What are you doing to build trust?


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