TRUST—lack of trust is a big issue it today’s society, especially when it comes to business. Because of this, many businesses make building trust a priority.
RISK—it’s a four letter word in the business world. And most companies spend a lot of time and effort determining how much they can get with as little risk as possible.
The problem is, as much as companies want trusting relationships with their customers, most of them have policies and procedures in place that actually dissolves trust instead of builds it.
The key to building trust is the one thing that businesses try to avoid–RISK. But risk is a necessary component of trust and trust is a necessary component of relationships. The most successful businesses have a true relationship with their customers.
Building relationships always requires some sort of risk. You go to a conference and see someone who is an expert in your field. You want to meet them so you walk up to them and extend your hand in greeting. “Hi, my name is…”
You are making a risk. You are putting your trust in the fact that this person will want to make your acquaintance. Chances are they will receive your greeting and reciprocate, but in reality you have no control over their reaction. They might spurn you. Not likely, but they could.
Trust consists of two entities–The Truster and The Trustee. The truster takes a small risk by placing their trust in the hands of another. The trustee accepts the truster’s offering. If the exchange is positive, trust is born.
It’s like listening to a new song. You take the risk to try it out and the first time you hear it, you might think it’s interesting or catchy. You have a positive experience. So you listen to it again, and again. Soon it becomes your favorite song. It’s the same thing with trust. The more positive, trusting experiences you have, the stronger your trust will be.
Failure to take these small risks will guarantee an absence of trust.
Recently I went to a job interview and they asked me to tell them two positive things about me and one weakness. No one likes to discuss their weaknesses and often it’s considered risky. I made the choice to be candid about a weakness that could affect my performance as an employee. Yes, I was uncomfortable. But because I discussed this weakness, I could visibly see that I had gained trust with my perspective employer. Does it mean I’ll get the job? Maybe, maybe not. That’s the risk I took. I did, however, gain trust.
Trust takes time. We’re looking for long term, trusting relationships, not short term fix-its. If you are having difficulty building trust…become the truster. Take the first step. Trust your clients, your employees, your shareholders and stakeholders, your suppliers…it might be risky, but by taking the small-risks in the beginning you can avoid larger risks in the future.
Now it’s your turn to share, make a comment and let us know what risks you have taken to build trust.