The Trust Advantage

Your secret sauce has one massively important ingredient: trust.

As Stephen M. R. Covey says: “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

Why is trust so important in business? One of our foundational principles at Third Level is that people do more – and better – business with you if they know, like and trust you. That applies both in the market and within your organization. Trust is a major consideration with skeptical millennials who want to have a sense of purpose about where they work and who they do business with.

Through developing trusting relationships:

You will attract and retain better people to work with and for you.

You will spend less time and money acquiring clients.

You will gain a larger share of your clients” business.

You can charge a premium for your services.

You will sleep better at night.

Forbes and Deutsche Bank each have produced the “Most Trustworthy Companies” list for the past six years. They examine over 8,000 firms traded on U.S. stock exchanges using forensic accounting measures. The research shows: The cost of capital of the most trustworthy companies is lower; these companies outperform their peers over the long run; and their risk of negative events is minimized.

So, how do we build trust? In my 30 years in coaching and consulting, I have learned that there are three important things that build trust: reliability, consistency and authenticity.

Some behavioral guidelines that our own anecdotal research has revealed:

Make your deeds as powerful as your words. Keep your commitments. Say what you will do, and do what you say you will. People will trust you when you follow through. Watch for the “good intention” mindset trap! What we see as our own good intentions when we fail to deliver, we usually see as untrustworthy behavior in others. Remember that “we” are the “others” in those situations.

Own your mistakes without excuse or blame. People are generally forgiving when you apologize, explain and offer a new plan and/or compensation for the problem. Counterintuitively, being vulnerable and taking responsibility for your mistakes or failures builds trust.

Listen more than you speak. Tell people what you’ve heard from them. People love to be regarded, respected and heard. It is also amazing what you learn when you repeat back to people what they’ve said. They might correct you – and you will thus learn more. Or, they will tell you more. They might simply affirm that you heard them well. Regardless of which of these outcomes you experience, you will learn more and deepen rapport. Less noise = more connection. More connection = more trust.

Building trust builds teams, betters businesses and improves profits. It also brings deeper satisfaction. That is the trust advantage. ?

Steve Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or sgarber@thirdlevel.com.

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