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How to Build Trust with Customers, Clients and Staff

Have you noticed that with all the division that exists in our country right now it has felt harder and harder to trust people? How are you doing with trusting people?

More importantly, how trustworthy are you? Most of us conclude pretty quickly how we feel about someone we’ve just met, and people we know or do business with regularly. We typically decide early on if this is the employee, business partner, or business associate we want to do business with.

How is trust formed? Do we just go by our hunches? Do you have an elaborate system or test that you put each person through to see if they hit the mark?

We often fail to remember that trust takes time to build. It is built over time by how we show up, how we speak, how we keep our word, and how we hold others accountable.

Trust is something our gut can give us clues about… and we ought to listen. However, that ought not be our only source of trustworthy information.

Since the only person you can control is you, here are suggestions for making sure you are consistently earning other people’s trust - imperative if you are going to be a sustainable and profitable business.

1. Practice Listening. While you might not ordinarily think of listening as a way to build trust, it is essential. When people feel heard, they believe you care. It is the only way to attempt to meet people’s needs- whether personally or professionally. The art of listening is under rated. It is essential. How will you know what your employees need to do their job well if you are not listening? How will you know what your customers really need if you are not listening? Practice being present, asking questions and listen well.

2. Be sure to practice saying what you mean and meaning what you say. People subconsciously look for congruence in others. They watch to see if a person’s words match their actions. You want to build high trust? Ensure that you are a man or woman of your word. Every time.

3. Admit when you’ve blown it and offer a real apology. A real apology means one without explanation. Trust is built when we can show up and say we are sorry; that we see (or hear) that we have caused harm or distress to another. Be sure to course correct whatever you did that caused grief. That builds trust.

While it is easy to focus on other people when it comes to trust and trustworthiness, the reality is all we can do is ensure that we are showing up as a trustworthy person.

Additionally, remember that building trust takes time and many experiences with someone (assuming they have not done something egregious right out of the gate) so give your relationships time to see and notice your gut as well as your real experiences with another person. Tune in to your gut- it has a lot to say if only you will listen.

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