Business gurus tell us that one of the golden rules of building a successful business is to ‘earn the trust of our potential customers and clients by helping them to get to know and like us’. But how do you do it?
The concept of KNOW, LIKE & TRUST using one of favourite models. The Equation states that trustworthiness equals the sum of credibility, reliability and intimacy divided by a person’s self-orientation (ego).
Reliability: This is all about your actions and how dependable you seem to others. Can they rely on you? Do you do what you say you will do? As humans we tend to like consistent and reliable people because it creates psychological safety.
Credibility: This is all about your words and how believable you seem to others. In simple terms, do you know your industry? Positioned in the right way, your knowledge and ability can help others to grow. Intimacy: This is all about your ability to be honest and vulnerable and how safe people feel sharing things with you? Broadly speaking, the more of YOU you reveal, the more likeable and trustworthy you become – which is a big wake up call for those entrepreneurs who want to remain invisible and in the background because that makes it much harder to build trust.
Self-orientation: This is all about your motives and the extent to which you focus on others as opposed to yourself. WHY you so what you do is also a big element here. Is it all about you, or are you genuinely interested in others?
Psychologist Robert Caldinwe states that to be successful means to like your customers as much or even more than they like you. It’s a two-way street, folks. Because the equation is a total, it’s not enough to work on one aspect.
So demonstrating your value by establishing yourself as a credible expert, sharing knowledge and showing your skills is, broadly speaking, a good thing BUT it’s not enough, on its own, to earn you the trust required in 2022.
If your customers don’t get to know anything about YOU, the human behind the knowledge, the trust will be shallow. When you are 100% focussed on building your credibility, remember to keep your ego in check and ensure you don’t make your prospect feel dumb or small in your attempt to show them how much you know. It sounds obvious, but we see this happen a lot, particularly at networking events. People are so keen to show what they know and how clever they are that they metaphorically trample over the person that doesn’t. It’s not a good look. Once you realise that intimacy and vulnerability is a vital part of trustworthiness, you might be tempted to dial up the sharing. But be careful to keep the ego crushed when you do. It’s not simply about sharing how your success has provided a gorgeous home or the car of your dreams. The person also needs to hear about your ‘face palm’ moments, the things that have gone wrong, and the less than shiny days you’ve endured on the way to your success!
Revealing your vulnerability earns trust.
Finally, you have to be able to do what you say you are going to do. It’s fundamental to trustworthiness. You know, there are MANY people out there who subconsciously believe that they don’t matter. That means that when you don’t do what you say you will do, their internal programme can be triggered like a land mine. Their belief, coupled with your action, immediately erodes trust for these people, and you will be fighting a losing battle to win them back. So, the equation tells us that you should share knowledge AND talk about yourself; indeed, it’s essential. Leading with your heart is a good thing!
Quick win: When you first meet somebody, resist the urge to talk about yourself and instead get curious about them. This is the ultimate way of pushing down self-orientation, and it earns you the right to build the know, like and trust next time.