Trust is everything.
You don’t have to be in business for yourself to know that trust in your personal and professional relationships makes, well, life easier.
Trust satisfies the basic need to feel security in your relationships. In business, it allows you to relax knowing that you aren’t being taken for granted or, for the business owner, that your clients will sing your praises.
Sales come easier because you’re not hard-selling; trust supports your recommendations.
Heard all this before?
Think I’m going to simply theorize about how to be trustworthy here? Nah, let me take you on my own personal journey of building trust and its mutual advantages in a professional relationship.
The story starts with my mechanic.
Ed (my mechanic)
So, I have a great mechanic. He’s been the only mechanic I’ve used for the past three-and-a-half years. I started bringing my car to him when I became disenchanted with a former mechanic. I trust Ed so much to take good care of me that when my car broke down I had it towed to Ed.
There were two other garages between where my car broke down and Ed’s garage.
These days, he goes the extra mile for me. Sometimes he even moves the free line and performs minor maintenance for me free of charge.
He pushes me to the front of the line when I make my service call.
When the service is pricey, he offers to let me make installments.
I don’t ask or expect him to do any of this.
So how did we arrive here? Was it just that I’ve been going there so long that it just happened? Not quite.
Build Trust By…
1. Making connections early
I had just started a new job at the time I met Ed and it was a new chapter for me. It was a time of new friendships, a new network, and a new outlook on life. I had my 5-year plan in full effect and was eager to make valuable, long-standing professional relationships.
If you’re venturing online now to grow your business then start making friends early. You can’t bring that “if you build it they will come” mentality. Reach out to people through social media, comment on their blogs, show up on competitor’s websites or offer value in relevant forums.
The sooner you begin establishing solid peer relationships, the faster you’re promoted and the sooner you begin making worthwhile connections. Oh, and be open minded. I could have let Ed just be “the guy that fixes my car” but instead we have a rewarding relationship.
You never know in advance the good that may come from a new connection.
2. Not waiting until you need something
The time to make friends with a professional (or anyone) isn’t when you need to ask for something.
For me, the time my car needed an absurd amount of repair wasn’t the time to sweet-talk my mechanic on the phone. After all, he has bills to pay, tools to buy, and needs to put food on his plate.
Why should he do me any favors?
I’ve hung out with Ed at the garage on slow days. We’ve just shot the breeze about life and business. He knows I help people build websites and grow their businesses online. I know when business is heavy or slow for him. Ed knows I speak highly of him and his service to people I know.
We have a trusting relationship established.
Do you reach out to people (offline) and online bloggers or business owners only when you need something? Have you reached out just to say hello and answer a question? Do you share advice freely?
Have you wished someone well if they tweeted they felt sick or had a grumpy Facebook update?
Do it. People remember those types of gestures. Nurture your relationships during the off season so that when it’s game time you’ll be playing for the same team.
3. Showing gratitude
When the service bill comes from Ed I don’t grumble and make quips about pricey parts and labor (he doesn’t gouge me anyway). It’s part of the professional relationship: my car breaks, he fixes it, I hand him green paper.
I thank him. I actually say the words, “Ed, I appreciate you, man. Thanks a lot for helping me out.” I look him in the eye and I don’t shy away from shaking his hands (when they aren’t completely covered in oil).
Be timely in expressing your gratitude for people. And not just when they’ve done something for you. Online you can be grateful to people by sharing their content. By commenting and expanding on their articles and ideas. You can thank them for sharing your content or stopping by your website.
I’ll pause to heed my own advice and thank Marlee Ward who writes about entrepreneurship and helps people (with focus on females) find their passion and purpose at Metamorphoself. She’s publishing great content over there so check her out. Marlee, I appreciate the mention of me in your recent article!
Also to Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing, thanks so much for including me in your Best of the Web round-up. I am honored by your mention. To my readers, the FPM team knows what they’re doing and leads by example. They can help you supercharge your marketing strategy.
Be thankful, my friends, and always be making deposits into the trust bank.
Go! Fight! Win!
Get out there today and:
- Make a new friend by reaching out on a website, forum, via comments or on Facebook (start with me here)
- Send out a thoughtful tweet to one particular person offering them encouragement or a reminder of how awesome they are
- Remember to say, “thank you,” and mean it.
This is how to build trust, value other people, and be valuable in the people business. Are you building trust online? How do you do it and what else would you recommend?