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Salespeople often beg business strategist David Horsager to teach them the newest technique for closing a deal. “If you know how to become trusted, you will not need any technique. You won’t need a quickie little elevator speech,” Horsager says. “Some people use little trite things to manipulate [clients]. The bottom line is it does not work today, and it really never has.”
A student of businesses, organizations and leaders for a decade, Horsager’s clients have included Wells Fargo, FedEx and ING. He lays out the following eight pillars for building or rebuilding trust in The Trust Edge, published by Simon & Schuster.
1. Clarity. People trust what is clear, not ambiguous.
2. Compassion. It’s one reason everyone loves Mom; she cares about others. Keep eye contact, empathize and hold one conversation at a time for effective listening.
3. Character. Do what’s right, not easy. Think George Washington.
4. Competency. Example: You don’t want just anyone to do your root canal. You want someone who will do it well.
5. Contribution. People trust your contribution, your results. Someone full of compassion and character who doesn’t bring results will suffer in the trust department. Ditto for a sales guy who brings results but in a sleazy way.
6. Commitment. The only way to build trust is to make and keep a commitment.
7. Connection. People like to buy from and be around friends.
8. Consistency. It’s why we trust McDonald’s. We get the same burger in Frankfurt as in Cleveland.
As trust within an organization increases, so do output, morale, productivity and loyalty; meanwhile, costs, problems, stress and skepticism decrease. For the trusted brand, customers will pay more, come back and tell others, resulting in incredible benefits. He calls the trust edge the “greatest competitive advantage of all time.”