How to Build Trust in the Business World

7 Behaviors You Must Know

Last month’s post touch a raw nerve and set off a series of conversations. What did this? We talked about selling, in particular how to become more confident in our skin while selling.

It’s great to get feedback and have the post’s life extend beyond the pages of the blog. But, what I don’t want to be overshadowed is an assumed foundation point – when given a choice we deal with people that we know, like, and trust. Without these three working in your favor you’ll be in for a very long voyage.

It’s that simple.

So, it stands to reason that if we would like to make the sales process easier we should focus on strengthening our know/like/trust quotient.

Seems straight forward enough. We understand that to be ‘known’ we have to present, or be presented, to our target market. There’s tens of thousands of blog posts, articles, and books on business networking. ‘Like’ as well is also a fully covered topic. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we’ve been honing our like skill our entire lives. Just think back to all the times your mom decided that it would be nice if you spent more time with [fill-in relative of choice], encouraged you to go meet your new classmates, and the all time classic “play nice”. This leaves us with ‘trust’. This one’s not so straightforward.

Trust needs to be earned…
We’re all familiar with the first half of this mantra (see section title), but it’s the second half “and should come only after the passage of time” that we never hear. So, exactly what should we be doing to shorten this incubation period? Here are seven simple, everyday behaviors we can follow.

  1. Don’t waste others time. Be on time; show that you have a high level of respect for and commitment to other people. Prepare, failing to do so not only wastes their time, but is also a very loud signal that you don’t feel they are worth your time. Question for you. If you waste someone’s time how likely is it that they will trust you with something else that matters?
  2. Be present; listen with complete attention. Focused listening provides you with enough information to carry on a robust conversation. You’ll be able to ask pertinent questions, deepen the engagement, and possibly provide insight that helps them with a need or want.
  3. Share your knowledge. There’s no better way to earn trust than to help others succeed. An added bonus is that it makes you look like an expert.
  4. Honor your promises. Try your best to keep your promise, but if you realize that you can’t let them know early and have a Plan B teed-up. I the end, you might not be able to ultimately come through but you did honor the commitment and more importantly the relationship.
  5. Be big enough to admit when you don’t know. We would all love to be perceived as the ‘go to’ source. In reality admitting what we don’t know is a sign of strength. Why is this? It allows us to focus deeply on an area of knowledge, thus when we do speak people stop and listen. Doubt this, think about Warren Buffett and how it works for him when he talks about how to identify a strong business.
  6. Own your mistakes. In fact, do it one better own your mistakes and take responsibility for the consequences.
  7. Extend trust to others. All the above is great and you should certainly engrain them into your behavior. The most powerful behavior to earn trust, however, to is to extend it to others.

What do you do to ensure that you’ve done everything you can to establish trust?


Donald McMichacel teaches BE 261 – Starting a Small Business.
Follow him on Twitter at @DonaldMcMichael or Google+ at +Donald McMichael

One thought on “How to Build Trust in the Business World

Comments are closed.