My business partner is one of those remarkable people who seems to be able to naturally build trust. He meets someone and they seem to want to do business with him. And when those deals happen, he manages to build long term relationships that evolve quite naturally in to referrals. So good is he at building trust that he has a 100% payment rate from his clients.

So what is this magical quality? What does he seem to naturally do that enables these relationships to form and then deepen in to partnerships?

Asking this question is quite important. After all without trust to some degree you’re unlikely to reliably make high value sales. You’re also likely to spending an unusual amount on lead generation. Churn- gaining & then losing clients only to have to chase and then win clients all over again- is expensive.

Thankfully some really smart McKinsey Consultant felt that this was important too. She spent some time on it & quite honestly seems to have cracked the code on it. and of course she wrote a book to tell us all about it.  I remember the moment when I learnt this formula. It’s been so powerful that I’ve been able to apply it in everything from how a baby formula brand can build trust with new mothers, to how a wobbly bookkeeping service could win over clients.

 So what is it?

RELIABLITY is simply put doing what you say you will do. If you promise it, then you need to deliver on that promise unfailingly. “On time and in full” needs to become your guiding principle if you’re going to be  anywhere near good enough at this.  Of course mistakes can happen.  But you’re going to need to have earned some serious trust points first for that to be okay.

CREDIBLITY is of course being believable. It means having the skills to deliver against that promise. Of course people being people need to sometimes be helped along with this, having experience, qualifications and yes client references can help lots to build credibility, even looking the part can help. You’ll need to do whatever it takes to convey a sense that you not only know what you’re talking about, but that you also have a right to believe that you know what you’re talking about.

INTIMACY is all about demonstrating that you KNOW what your client, or potential customer, is going  through. You get their issues & what they want to achieve. Of course without coming off as a know it all. In fact demonstrating that you’re engaged and curious about their issues is very helpful.

Finally SELF ORIENTATION. This is the most important of them all. If you’re any good at maths you’ll see that self orientation affects trust more than any other factor. But what is it? Simply put that you’re not an a**hole. You see even if you’re working with a genius it takes a lot to choose to work with them if they are more interested in their genius than you and your needs. Who’d choose that if they really have a choice? So remember that to build trust the clients needs should come before your own and that means you’ll need to pack your ego away whenever it rears it’s evil head.

It’s an equation. And as always this simplicity of it belies the difficulty of what needs to be achieved. Building trust – the deep lasting kind anyway- isn’t going to be a 1 minute thing. You’re going to need to bring your A game over & over again. But having a simple equation surely does help to keep you clear about what it is that you’re trying to do on your way to that very important goal.