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How to gain trust and why it matters

Sep 24, 2020

A guest blog by team performance coach and mentor Mhairi Richardson, Tomrom 

We trust people in all areas of our life: parents, friends, teachers, leaders, politicians (?) and public figures. In our working lives we have colleagues, bosses, suppliers, investors and customers and our relationships with each of them requires an element of trust too. 

We all know who we trust and it can influence our choices in a positive or negative way.  But how many people work to improve how much other people trust them, how many of us actively seek opportunities to build trust?  

In reality the majority of us rely on instinct and the hope that as we know we are trustworthy, it must be clear and so surely other people will trust us! 

This may work for some of us and they may be natural trust builders, but for a vast majority of us it is something we should work at. 

So why do we trust? 

Ultimately we as humans are hard-wired to want social interaction (honestly!) and it has an impact on both our physical and mental health. It lowers the occurrence of stress, depression, anxiety and also highly affects our endocrine-immune system. We look to find people we feel we can trust, those who make us feel that we are safe to express ourselves and who are invested in us and our future and plans. 

When we meet new people we have to make the decision to trust or distrust them and generally what we do is take time to develop that relationship in the hope that we can trust them and gain their trust. 

Within the networking and business world much is said about the importance of building relationships and spending time getting to know people and their business and their values. This is absolutely the right thing to do but sometimes we don’t have that much time or we want to give people as much help to trust us as we can, as quickly as we can. 

How do we do that? 

The short answer is to be trustworthy but that is easier said than done so I have broken it down into a few areas where you might make a real difference in initial meetings. 

Integrity - Intent - Capability - Results 

Integrity - The dictionary definition of integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” and there is a range of ways you can show that you are a person of integrity.

Firstly talk straight, use simple language and make sure you are clear in how you communicate. Don’t manipulate facts, figures or people and find ways that you can share information that they know to be true. 

Be respectful and show that you are genuine and genuinely interested in others. You may not think you need to know about how the business owners great grandparents started the business but it is important to them so you should take the time to hear what they have to say. 

Be consistent in your message, your behaviour and your approach. That doesn’t mean stick to a script it means listening to the other person so you can see how you may be able to help or relate to them. 

Intent - Be clear on your intentions; people want to know you don’t have a hidden agenda so you have to be as open as you can, giving more than taking. If you want their business then tell them that! See positive outcomes even if it means you don’t get the business if it is the right thing for them. 

Capability - Show you can do what you say you do, people are looking to see if you have the talent, attitude, skills, knowledge and style to deliver what they want. This doesn’t mean bragging or telling people how many qualifications you have but if you are asked or you can refer to something which demonstrates a skill or knowledge, then go for it. Style will very much be about you matching their style and in many cases adapting your style to improve your communication with them. Use techniques like mirroring and listen for words like I see, I hear and I feel as they will give you clues to how this person learns and takes in information.

Results - We all want to know we are backing a winner so being able to demonstrate your brilliant track record is always good. And if you hit an objection or problem then own it. If your prospective client knows someone who had a bad experience with you, own the mistake and take responsibility for it. And whatever you do always finish strong, remember they might not be buying today but they may someday so always leave them with a smile. Also there is a fine balance between arrogance and confidence so try and be a little humble. 

In summary and taking my own advice to keep it simple I would say;

  • Be open
  • Be clear
  • Be capable
  • Deliver results 

Thanks and good luck.


Mhairi Richardson, Tomrom Team CoachingMhairi specialises in coaching teams to help them achieve more and improve their wellbeing. She focuses on building trust within the team with a combination of coaching, mentoring and facilitation and can tailor the program to the needs of your business. She enjoys working with newly formed teams, established team or teams who just feel they should be achieving more.

She is also a coach with a strong SME background, a focus on the detail, a high level of emotional intelligence and a strong desire to develop talent and grow high performing teams.

If you have teams that are underperforming, then you should get in touch with Mhairi to see how she can help - tomrom.co.uk

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