Building Relationships with Trust
Have you ever wanted to help someone who is in a predicament, but whatever you tried did not work? Did they even get mad at you? Have you had a prospect who has a serious problem not want to talk with you?
Have you ever seen a person or organization try to help the downtrodden, but get rejected by those they are trying to help?
Do you wonder why a person will keep receiving bad advice when that advice never works? Do you ever wonder why people vote for a certain candidate over another?
It all comes down to trust.
In building relationships, you must first establish trust with the other party before you can give them truth. They must trust you that you have their best interest at heart before they can listen to you. You fail at selling if you don’t first establish trust!
Too many people try to fix problems by providing the truth (“This product will work for you, or This is what you should do”) before they ever have established trust in a relationship. Today’s buyer is so tired of being “sold” something and thus they are very wary.
Here’s an example in my personal life. I work with inner city kids. In general, many in the African-American community don’t trust white people and now with the Black Lives Matter movement, skepticism is heightened. Many of the students have been taught (or have experienced) that white people are racist. So, no matter what I tell those kids about how to better themselves through education, proper speech, etc., they will view me as trying to manipulate them or at minimum just ignore what I am saying.
One summer, my family worked on the Yakima Indian reservation in Washington state. The Yakima Indians have the same feelings about whites, for in the past, all their experiences were of whites taking advantage of them. So, when someone comes on the reservation to help, the Yakima’s first response is to reject what they have to offer.
Trying to fix a problem by presenting truth without first establishing trust leads a person(s) to feel manipulated and they become angry or ignore you.
But, if you spend your time first working to establish trust, then the person(s) you are trying to help, know that you care for them and are willing to listen to what you have to say.
With the inner-city kids, I spend time with them from going on field trips to working on goal setting and character building. I have invested my time throughout the school year with these kids. I built trust so that they are willing to hear the truth in how they can better themselves growing out of poverty. For the Yakima, we established trust by first serving them by painting houses and playing with the kids. The Granberry family (www.sacredroadministry.org) moved to the reservation over 10 years ago to build trust and demonstrate their love for the Yakima nation. They established relationships and trust before they can begin to help those in poverty.
One political party spends more time on presenting truth “Here’s how I can fix this…”, while the other party spends time saying “Trust me. I will take care of you.” Who has the momentum right now?
Once trust is established, a person can hear the truth. The natural progression of a relationship built upon this principle is for the relationship to grow deeper in understanding and commitment, even to a point of love. But if you try to persuade with truth before establishing trust, you will make the other party feel manipulated and they might become angry at you, no matter how right you are.
Too many times people assume trust exists where it does not. They proceed (in arrogance, lack of consideration or just in ignorance) to present truth. All they do is just offend the other person. (I now realize many times I took this position assuming trust existed when I was totally ignorant of the other person’s perspective. No wonder they were offended.)
The first principle in establishing trust is to love or show care or respect for someone regardless of their position or circumstances. Loving, respecting, or caring first establishes trust which leads to the opportunity to present truth. Truth’s natural progression is to receive love back. Spending time with a person and listening to understand and build relationship shows love.
How does this apply in your daily life outside of helping the downtrodden?
In marriage does your spouse truly trust you when you confront him or her about a marital problem? What is their response? That response will generally give you the answer. Do you truly listen and acknowledge what your spouse has said, or do you just argue back? Listening builds relationship. Seeking to understand before defending yourself builds trust.
How does your teenager respond with you talking to them about a problem they have? Do they listen or argue? Do you listen and establish trust? How much time do you spend with them? A known key issue with teenage “rebellion” is that they do not feel loved or respected, therefore they don’t trust their parents.
If you are a boss, do your people listen to you out of trust or fear? Your actions speak louder than what you say. Do you build trust through relationship or are you just focused on the next goal?
When you share your faith, it is out of a pure love for another person or because you feel you are right and they are wrong?
Trust leads to the opportunity to share truth. Truth given in a trusting relationship leads to love.
A book I just read called A Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore is a perfect example of the trust to truth to love dynamic. Ron is an international art dealer in Houston and Denver was a modern day slave who grew up in Louisiana on a plantation, was in prison, and then homeless. It is how they built a relationship, first on trust, then truth, and now they love each other. Incredible true story published in 2006.
How to build trust on a sales call.
- Ask them why they are interested in meeting with you? Ask as you begin the meeting, what do they want to accomplish from this interaction? How will they define success for the meeting?
- When you are discussing your product or service features, pause and ask how they see these features being used in their business. Ask them what benefits or and negative aspects do they see?
- Ask them about what value they see your offering delivering. The key here is ASKING versus telling. Getting people into a conversation where you are seeking their opinion builds trust.
- Being on time builds trust.
- Being organized builds trust
- Following up with a detailed meeting summary builds trust.
- Be the good stuff in the middle of problems
A great book on building trust through the words you use. The Language of Trust