By Vernalee
Building trust is a hard task. Of course, we know how difficult it is to trust someone in our personal relationships. Elevating that same trust factor to business associations takes us to another level. Without question, the average person likes dealing with someone that they like and can trust. When in your business relationships, trustworthiness affect your bottom line, it becomes a more serious matter. When it determines how much money we make and how much is directed elsewhere, it takes on a whole different meaning. When money is involved, so is seriousness. It becomes a different ball game; totally.
There are seven concrete actions that build trust in a business environment. “These actions build trust primarily through sincerity, reliability, communication, commitment, consistency, and competence. Let’s take a look.

1. Demonstrate that you trust others.
One way to do this is to be generous and forgiving when someone else makes a mistake or disappoints you in some way. People who always jump to the worst conclusion about a person’s competence or motivation inspire wariness, not trust.
Most people don’t set out to be mean or stupid, so give them the benefit of the doubt until you have contrary information that proves you wrong. You’ll feel better about them, and they’ll trust you for your generosity.

2. Create relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Customers, coworkers and employees all want to believe that they are making the right decision to work with you. This takes a lot more than clichés and platitudes. Customers should clearly understand the value of your products and services to them. Likewise, employees should feel good about taking ownership, which introduces an added measure of accountability and demonstrates the level of trust you have in them.
In other words, trust is about showing people that you care about them. In turn, they will care about and trust you.

3. Directly address issues.
Ruffled feathers are inevitable in any relationship. How you deal with concerns and problems is what instills trust and loyalty. In the course of a busy business day, it’s easy to get distracted and become disconnected with what’s happening on the front lines.
Customer trust develops from the first contact and extends through service delivery, implementation, care and support. At each step, you can either damage or enhance this experience for your customers. That’s why it’s so important to deliver on promises if you want to be trusted.
If you want people to trust you, you have to care. Address complaints fast. Share information. Gain their confidence. Exude pride and passion about your business. Resolve conflicts quickly. These actions separate you from the pack, while also building and maintaining trust.

4. Tell the truth.
Let’s say that one more time for good measure — tell the truth.
Never assume that certain people can’t handle the truth. Be as honest with your employees and customers as you expect them to be with you. If you get caught in a lie, no one will trust you. You don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression, so don’t count on it.
Keeping your promises is also a part of telling the truth. Don’t commit to a promise you can’t deliver. Think about what’s realistic, and do your best to live up to your word.

5. Be flexible and patient.
Be tolerant of mistakes, and don’t be an inflexible judge. Meet the other person in the middle. Be considerate of events and negative experiences that may have affected one’s ability to trust. Make exceptions to the rules when common sense dictates. Consider unusual alternatives for problems that can’t be resolved by typical methods.
Remember, trust is built over time, especially when you deal with someone who isn’t fortunate enough to have experienced trust in his or her own life.

6. Respect their time.
I believe that people in our society are losing their sense of civility, courtesy and respect. To get people to trust you, you will be well-served to raise your awareness of other people’s time, personal schedule and needs. This means you should:
Promptly return phone calls
Promptly reply to emails and thoroughly address all points raised
Be on time for meetings, and log on to a scheduled call two minutes in advance of start time
Hold fast to estimated call end times, and inquire if attendees are free to keep going.

7. Deliver the unexpected.
The best way to deliver trust is to surprise and delight clients and customers. Give them what they asked for, but on top of that, deliver more — more service, more time, more convenience and more sensitivity. Delivering more than they expect goes a long way and adds real value and trust. As a bonus, customers will tell others about how you delivered more. This should net you more business.
George MacDonald, the nineteenth century Scottish author and poet, said “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” In business, that’s the kind of compliment you can take to the bank.”
Now if you can master these business trust factors professionally, you can exercise many of the same forms of engagement in your personal life. I’m sorry. That may be more challenging since you find it hard to trust anyone! So I close with this question. Where is the balance when you expect others to trust you when you will not allow yourself to trust anyone? Just asking!
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