How To Cultivate The Trust Factor In Business
By Robert  L. Moment

In today’s highly competitive economy,
it is difficult to maintain a significant
market advantage based on your
professional skills alone.

Developing trusting relationships with
your clients is vital to your business
success as well. No matter what
business you are in, the most powerful value-added contribution you can make to
any business relationship
is the trust factor.

The trust factor is even more critical in today’s business climate with the level of trust
in Corporate America continuing to be at an all-time low, and suspicion of “all things
corporate” remaining on the rise. To make matters worse, large corporations and
small businesses alike continue to use antiquated techniques, such as gizmos and
gadgets, to try to win over new clients. When instead, they should be trying to
address the heart of the matter by utilizing trust-building techniques that will most
effectively resonate with consumers and new prospects.

Clients and prospects are in search of trust in their business relationships, but
building trust and credibility does not happen overnight. To cultivate trust, it takes
the risk of being open with clients and prospects. This enables them to perceive you
as a real person—one with strengths and weaknesses that come into play as the
relationship develops. When trust is reciprocal, you will find that your confidence in
others is rewarded by their support and reinforcement of what you also stand for as a
business entity.

What is Trust?

Trust can be defined as a firm belief in the honesty of another and the absence of
suspicion regarding his motives or practices. The concept of trust in business
dealings is simple: Build on an individual’s confidence in you and eliminate fear as
an operating principle.

Letting Go of Fear

Let go of fear, which restricts your ability to relate to others. Letting go frees you of
behavioral constraints that can immobilize your emotional and professional
development. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being hurt, fear
of the unknown—all these are roadblocks to developing and growing a trusting
relationship with clients. Let go of your fear of losing an account or not having the
right answers. Leave all your fears at the client or prospect’s doorstep.

Other critical steps in cultivating trust are knowing who you are and knowing your
potential value to your clients. The relationship that forms because of this can have a
tremendous impact on your sales. People don’t just buy from anyone. They buy from
people they can trust. The rapport and credibility you can establish with the trust
factor go a long way toward building a client’s confidence in your ability to meet his
business needs.

Trust has both an active and a passive component in a business relationship. The
active feeling of trust is confidence in the leadership, veracity, and reliability of the
other party, based on a track record of performance.

The passive feeling of trust is the absence of worry or suspicion. This absence is
sometimes unrecognized and frequently taken for granted in our most productive

Building Trust With Care

So how do you build trust with clients? First, you need to care about them.
Obviously your clients care about your knowledge, expertise, and accomplishments.
However, they care even more about the level of concern you have for them.
Successful trust building hinges on four actions: engaging, listening, framing, and
committing. The trust factor can be realized once we understand these components of
trust and incorporate them in our daily lives.

Engaging clients and prospects occurs when you show genuine concern and interest
in their business and its problems. Maintain good eye contact and body posture.
Good eye contact signifies openness and honesty. And your body language and other
forms of nonverbal communication speak volumes about your attitude toward them.
By the same token, you want to be cognizant of your client’s or prospect’s eye contact
and body language.

Listening with understanding and empathy is possible if you think client focus first.

Let the client tell his story. Put yourself in his shoes when you listen to his business
concerns, purpose, vision, and desires. Show approval or understanding by nodding
your head and smiling during the conversation. Separate the process of taking in
information from the process of judging it. Just suspend your judgment and focus on
the client.

Framing what the client or prospect has said is the third action in trust building.
Make sure you have formed an accurate understanding of his problems and
concerns. Confirm what you think you heard by asking open-ended questions such
as “What do you mean by that?” or “Help me to understood the major production
problems you are experiencing.” After you have clarified the problems, start to frame
them in order of importance. By identifying the areas in which you can help the
client, you offer him clarity in his own mind and continue to build his trust.

Committing is the final action for developing the trust factor. Communicate
enthusiastically your plan of action for solving the client’s problems. Help the client
see what it will take to achieve the end result. Presumably, what you have said up to
this point has been important, but what you do now—how you commit—is even
more important. Remember the old adage “Action speaks louder than words.” Show
you want this client’s business long term. Complete assignments and projects on
budget and on time. Then follow up with clients periodically to see how your
partnership is faring.

In the final analysis, trust stems from keeping our word. If we say we will be there for
our clients, then we should honor that commitment by being there. Trust results from
putting the client’s best interest before our own, from being dependable, from being
open and forthcoming with relevant information. It is impossible to overestimate the
power of the trust factor in our professional lives. Truly, trust is the basis of all
enduring, long-term business relationships.

Meet the author: Robert Moment is an innovative business strategist and author of ,
"It Only Takes a Moment to Score". Robert show entrepreneurs how to successfully
build and grow profitable service-based small businesses. Visit his Web sit at
How to Start Your Small Business and download the FREE Special Report
"17 Profitable Ways to Turn Your Ideas into Wealth"
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