Would I lie to you? The business of trust

Dog with apple on headJust as trust has a huge impact on my personal life and relationships, it has a huge impact on my business. But this should come as no surprise – business after all is made up of transactions between individuals. Customers vote with their dollars when they give you a ‘vote of trust’. So trust translates to dollars spent with your business.


What is trust?  Trust is not a concrete object, it’s intangible – it’s a complex mix connected with feelings and judgements on many levels.

Trust is built up, reinforced, undermined or destroyed by our words and actions or inactions on a daily basis.

William Tell had never shot an arrow at an apple placed on his son’s head when he was forced to do that.  But the boy was able to stand still and calm because of a trust in his father fostered over many years.

My partners know I will be loyal to our business agreements because of my actions over many years.

Trust can cause businesses or relationships to fail or breakdown.

How do we build up trust?

Trust is built up through our actions and the intent we bring to the action, through the way we interact with an individual, through demonstrating the degree to which we can be relied upon.

It’s the clarity of communication, the empathy we display, our character and being genuinely ourselves, being present, open and honest.

For example

  • If we give an undertaking to be somewhere – do we make sure we get there?
  • If we promise we will do something, do we do it?
  • If we are unable to fulfil a promise, do we take the initiative to clearly communicate this beforehand? Or do we let it slide and leave the other party wondering what is happening and questioning why is going on?
  • Do we present ourselves as genuine? Or do we come across as fake?
  • Are we present? Does the person we are with at the time, feel we are giving them the attention and respect they deserve, given the nature of the relationship they have with us?
  • Do we communicate clearly, with clarity and intent?
  • Sometimes things go awry – but do we acknowledge and explain? Do we take steps to follow through and prevent a re-occurrence of the problems?
  • Do we show empathy – an understanding of how things can happen, and how people feel about it because we have put ourselves in their shoes? Empathy allows you to get your head around the perception of others; how they story plays out for them. The other person can relate to you because they recognise your understanding and they feel heard. By empathising with your customers, putting yourself in their shoes, you will be able to find ways to provide solutions to their problems and they will trust you to give them genuine advice and service.

How do we destroy trust?

Simply do the opposite to the above – anything that does not build trust destroys trust.

  •  Be unreliable – consistently cancel or change plans and agreements
  • Put other events or people first
  • Be unfair in our dealings – take but not give
  • Be dishonest in our communications

Why is trust so important from a business point of view?

Your profits and the value of your business is based on interactions that occur.

People trust us, or our product, to deliver a service or action.

If they don’t trust us, will they believe and value our advice? And as we commented at the start of this blog – people vote with their dollar when it comes to trusting a business.

The key here is two words – People and Trust.

Business success is built upon People and Relationships.  Relationships are built upon Trust. The success of your business therefore relies upon trust.


The real secret behind nurturing trust, as I have blogged in the past*, is that it is all about perception. But it’s not your perception that matters; it’s the perception of your customer, your client or your team member.


Always look at things through the other person’s eyes.

* (Perception is reality from a different angle. Coming to terms with your customer’s world and “But you said ‘later’!” Understanding your customer’s language).

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