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I have blogged on the subject of trust previously ... in August 2007 I suggested that trust was fragile.

Today I want to talk about building trust ... or perhaps more precisely EARNING trust.

Obviously trust applies in all aspects of our lives, but today I will focus on the business aspects of trust.

1. People will "do business" with people they trust.
2. It is not very hard to establish that trust.
3. It is also not very hard to lose that trust.

The easiest way to build trust is to make a promise ... and to deliver on that promise. The more times that you demonstrate you are trustworthy, by delivering as promised the stronger the trust becomes ... and incidentally, the stronger the relationship becomes.

So ... if you are a sales person you start VERY simple.

I will call you next Thursday morning.
I will get you an answer by Noon tomorrow.
I will send you a sample this week ... you will have it in your hands by Friday.

All very easy statements, and each time you deliver you are building trust. Each time you miss you are shooting yourself in the foot!

Building trust can be as simple as giving honest answers ...

I don't know ... but let me find someone who does!
I can't promise to meet your date ... but I will promise to update you weekly on progress.

The reputation of a business is built and lost on the people that represent that business. How many times has one person turned you off a company? In the same way that good people can win you business, if you find someone you don't trust, then you will not want to work with that business.

Colleen Francis has just released her book about Honesty Sells which is very closely related to this subject of Trust. You can't build trust if you are dishonest and in the long run people will work with people that they trust.

In today's economy the financial services sector has a huge "trust hill" to climb ... they let us down. The car makers have a huge trust issue to solve ... they have let their workforce down and we are all paying the price of their failures. CEOs have lost the trust of the general public by their over generous treatment of themselves in recent years. Politicians in the UK are currently being pilloried for their mistreatment of their expense accounts and the resultant loss of trust.

TRUST is a huge issue and it appears that as a society we are going to find it harder to find! Maybe it just solidifies the need to work with reputable and trustworthy companies ... and individuals.

AND (my English teach would kill me for starting a sentence that way) that means companies need to work at this ... hire the right people, have the right ethical standards and enforce them!