The question: What are some good ways to build trust? on the Quora site/forum caught my attention as I waited at the airport for the flight to New York for the Google meet-up. The question — and answers — weren’t framed as marketing/branding questions, yet they relate to marketing’s core. After all, marketers seek to cause or influence action, namely decisions to purchase or use your products or services. You achieve these results largely by building your brand — and your brand, essentially, reflects the perceived trust/reputation in your business. (And when you want to sell anything directly, trust carries even greater weight — no one likes/trusts the pushy salesperson, but if you are effective at sales, your potential clients don’t see you as pushy, but as having their interests truly at heart.
(Con artists of course abuse the trust-building ability to create the trust to achieve their ill-conceived aims; then dash it.)
Conner O’Neil, quoting Charles Green, describes the “Trust equation” which I think can be revised here to refer to the branding or business development equation as:
T = ( C + R + I ) / SO
T = Trust
C = Perception of Credibility
R = Perception of Reliability
I = Intimacy
SO = Perception of Self-Orientation
You can increase credibility, reliability and intimacy, but the most important challenge: reducing the perception of self-orientation. You need to tame your ego and self-centerdness to achieve trust, and the more you do, the more you achieve.
Conclusion: Reducing perception of Self-Orientation is the greatest lever to increase trust in relationships. Ask more questions. Listen. Don’t fill silences. Let the other person feel that their point of view, their feelings, their presence here are as important than your own.
Consider the self-orientation aspect in all of your marketing materials. Is the story about your business, or about how the client can truly benefit and feel the value of working with you?