When you look in the mirror, do you see someone that is trustworthy?
Would your clients, friends, family, competition, and connections on social media say the same thing?
Besides that feeling in your gut, how do you know?
Have you ever asked someone if they thought you were trustworthy?
Have you ever told someone “trust me” and gotten a look that said, “hmmm, I am not sure?”
If you are completely honest, the answer is most likely no to the first question and yes to the second. Most of us think that we are trustworthy, but we have never truly gone out, and asked those whom we wish to influence, whether or not we are worthy of their trust or not.
The reason is, most of us are afraid to know the real answer. We are afraid that how we perceive ourselves is not exactly how others perceive us. That the brand that we have worked so hard to cultivate does not resonate with those we wish to influence.
That is a hard thing to accept, so we end up not seeking the truth and living in denial.
The problem is, when you deny reality, reality does not change.
People will still feel the same way about you whether you are willing to admit it or not and only by being truthful to yourself can you change this. It is up to every one of us, personally and as corporations, to take a good look in the mirror and ask ourselves the question Am I Trustworthy? And then take another look in the mirror and say to yourself Now Prove It!
We need to be willing to ask those whom we wish to influence what they believe our brand to be. What value we give them and whether or not we solve the problems that they have? We need to ask them whether they believe we will do what we say and that we will fix problems that occur and make things right. We need to ask them whether or not they would refer us to others they know, and if the answer comes back NO, we need to ask WHY and be prepared for the answer.
None of us are perfect, present company included. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we say one thing and do another. Those things can either be the way to lose trust if you sweep them under the rug. However, if you step up, admit your mistake and work with a client to rectify the situation, it can be a way to take trust to a whole new level.
So what can you do to gain trust?
First and foremost, admit that you are not perfect and that you do not know everything. It is very freeing to admit. It puts you into a state of mind where you verify a lot more and ask far more questions to make sure that you can achieve the goals you and your clients desire.
Admit when you are wrong. We all make mistakes, that is life. Those who try to blame others, or minimize consequences for others, are bound to lose the trust they so desperately want. However, those who admit their mistakes and work, with clients or friends, to make things right, in a way that benefits those impacted, are forgiven and seen as people worth trust and respect.
Ask for help when you need it. There is no shame in asking for help. It is a sign of strength to see that others have skills that you do not and utilizing those skills to make sure you accomplish tasks to the best of your ability.
Do not take credit for the work of others. No person can do everything, and with that, you need to acknowledge those who helped you make a good task great. By spreading the praise and giving the team the credit it deserves, people will see you as someone worth trust and admiration.
Live up to deadlines. If you promise something by a certain time, make it happen. Do whatever it takes to live up to the promises that you make to others. The deadline imposed may not only impact your client but their clients as well. Missing those deadlines could make this person look bad to their client, their co-workers, or their boss. No one wants to continue to do business with people who continue to miss deadlines and makes them look bad to others.
Communicate effectively. Tell people what is happening and where challenges are BEFORE they become a problem. If people are aware that there could be issues, and have a way to solve the problem BEFORE it affects others, they are more likely to work with you to fix it. Coming to someone at the last minute with a problem and no solution is a sure fire way to lose trust.
In conclusion, building trust is about thinking about the other person first and foremost and taking the time to understand how your actions affects them and their lives. Doing what it takes to help them achieve their goals and build on their success enables people to perceive you as valuable. If you can do that, then you become a trusted partner and someone who is of value no matter if the relationship is personal, internal within a company or with clients and suppliers. When trust and value are combined, long-term and profitable relationships are bound to be the result.