Getting to Know You: Building the Trust Advantage

By Stephen Garber

Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning researcher, proved that people will pay more for an inferior product or service from those they know, like and trust.

Never would we suggest that you provide an inferior product or service to your clients. And, pricing integrity is essential to long-term success. Yet Kahneman’s research leads to some powerful insights for sustainable business success:

• The more known we are in the business world, the more people will reach out to us.

• The more liked we are by our customers and clients, the more they will talk about us in positive ways. They will do our marketing for us.

• The more trusted we are, the more leeway we have for service and pricing challenges.

Of course, if we don’t deliver for a fair price, if we give bad service and we are unresponsive over time, then we will not be well known, liked or trusted—and our business will suffer badly, if not fail.

Some of this is simple common sense. And, if you are leading a successful business, you probably practice many things aligned with this through your policies and procedures, your marketing and your sales, your pricing and customer service.

Here’s some advice: The best way to take advantage of this insight is to get to know your people—your staff, your team—and let them get to know you.

Ask yourself, how well do you know your team? Their personal situations, their goals and aspirations, their fears and doubts? How well do you know their stories—the essence of who they are? And how well do they know all these things about you?

Building trust into the fabric of your business is a huge advantage. When you and your people know, like and trust each other, it emanates from you to your people, to their people, and throughout your business to your clients. You build that trust advantage from the inside out.

There are many ways to deepen the ‘know, like and trust,’ phenomenon:

• Start by learning about their families and personal situations. One of the Navy’s greatest stories of performance turnaround started with the new commander of the worst-performing ship learning every sailor’s name and family situation.

• Start the conversations. We often find that doing a light profile assessment, and discussing style preferences, leads to insights, understanding and trust. We use one that takes five minutes and gives instant results to the individual, written in plain English.

• Accelerate the process. Our team programs include a speed-bonding process, asking participants to share three things on their bucket list (a lot of exotic travel), what upsets them (Florida drivers), and what they love (time with family, mostly).

You will find once you set the tone of “getting to know you,” the trust advantage will cascade through your organization—and into the marketplace.

Go on, then. Let them get to know you and each other. It will bring huge rewards inside and out. ♦

Steve Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or

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