Whether you are a group leader, or a storeowner, or even an ordinary man walking down the street, one thing is for certain: people don’t trust you. Why should they? They don’t even know who you are. Life experience (not to mention ghastly news coverage) has warned them not to be naïve about life or about strangers that they meet. Can you blame them for not trusting you? Just because you smile, just because you start a company or an organization, doesn’t mean that you are trustworthy. When people first see you (and you’re correct in thinking that first impressions count) they observe your message and quickly assign a role to your persona. If you open up a store people will assume you want their money, and that is true. If you open up a law firm, people assume the same: you are after money in return for legal expertise. If you are a new manager then workers assume you are the new person in charge—and that you’re probably out to get them. (Which may or may not be true) The point is that all of these people have valid reasons to distrust you. You have given them no reason to trust you as of yet, and trust must be earned.

How to Build Trust

How can you build trust, even with people who have already assigned you a negative role? The best advice is, in a few words, to be straightforward. Be honest, which should be prerequisite to any business, and be upfront about what you want and what you’re prepared to give. If people catch you in a lie then they will probably never fully trust you again. If people sense that you are too shy or desperate to come out and say what you mean, then that awkward energy could give them reason to doubt your intentions. Now just because you want something doesn’t mean that you should shamelessly go about asking for it. If you want to sell a used car, you don’t have to admit that your entire inventory is garbage and that you just want to feed your family. Try telling the truth to your clients, but in a positive and respectful way. Admit that while some cars don’t look so pretty, you did personally drive every one of them and they all worked fine. There’s no reason to lie here, nor is there a reason to scare off a client with too much unwelcome honesty.

You might consider the act of being honest like a hard slap on a friend’s back or maybe a firm handshake. Honesty is a great way to start a new relationship – all relationships. However, it’s not always called for, just like a friendly gesture is not always appropriate. Case in point: a discouraged friend calls you up and asks if you think she is a burden. You may feel that way at times, but do you really want to end the relationship on such a negative note? The best scenario would be to withhold your feelings and talk over the problem at hand. A similar logic could be used in business. Though you may be ultimately motivated by money, you are actually following goals that you set according to the primary directive. The directive you ask, to please the client and to offer high quality services. It’s certainly not a lie, and in saying that, you are earning people’s trust.

The best method I have ever seen for building a high-trust client relationship is the Values-Based Financial Planning™ approach. However, if you aren’t a trustworthy person, this method probably won’t work for you.

How to Destroy Trust

Trust is typically earned over time, so the more consistent you are in your behavior the more friends you will make and the more people will want to do business with you. That is, unless you make some flagrantly stupid mistakes. Here are a few bad but unfortunately common errors that people make, which immediately destroy established trust.

Withholding Information: Sometimes withholding information is the best thing to do. However, when you withhold useful information and always wait for the “opportune” time to use it, you are probably coming off as very scheming and thus untrustworthy.

Being a Braggart: It’s okay to brag about your company’s prices and great services. However, if a person is so ego-driven that he can’t even share credit with those who help him, then he will never earn anyone’s trust.

Being Too Vague: When you want something done, you don’t necessarily have to do it yourself, but you should always make sure to communicate with your audience clearly. If you are not clear about what you expect, or assume that everyone perfectly understands, then you either be mistrusted because of your shadiness or your incompetence. Take your pick.

Gossiping About Others: People do love to talk and if there is negativity in the air, then it helps to let it out. If you must, talk to a therapist. Avoid confiding in friends close to the situation or work acquaintances. Gossip travels quickly and always gets people into trouble. Consider your current process for building trust with clients and prospects. How can you be even more effective at building trust and in a shorter amount of time so you can achieve your goals for the reasons that are important to you? It’s good to review the way we currently do things and enhance them to be even more effective. Tweak your processes for even better results. Enjoy your relationships even more so you can enjoy your life even more.

Author's Bio: 

Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach™. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. The objective is to work less, make more money, and have a more balanced life. Anne is the author of the book, Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule!, and Live Life with No Regrets; How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives. Go to http://www.accountabilitycoach.com/landing/ and get 3 FREE gifts including a special report on 10 Power Tips for Getting Focused, Organized, and Achieving Your Goals Now. Join the FREE Silver Inner Circle Membership today and receive 10% off on all products and services, in addition to having access to assessments and resources to help you achieve your goals so you can experience a more balanced and successful life (http://www.accountabilitycoach.com/coaching-store/inner-circle-store/).