Profitable Relationships Are Built On A Foundation of Trust

A big challenge for business leaders is understanding and embracing the difference between developing relationships and selling.

You sell a product or service.  This is done by identifying the customer’s need and then demonstrating how the features of your product will benefit the customer and ultimately meet the customer’s need.  This is called NBF selling (Needs, Benefits, Features).

In most cases, trust is not a big component of the NBF selling model.

Think about it.  If you are buying a product and it breaks, you bring it back and they fix it or give you a new one.  If you are buying a service and the delivery of the service is less than satisfactory, the provider will refund your money or allow you to use the service again at no additional charge.  The only trust necessary is trust that the proprietor will stand behind the product or service.  That’s not a huge emotional commitment.

It is different with a relationship.

Relationships are built on a foundation of trust.

Before someone can invest money in you, he must invest his trust you.

A relationship is two people coming together for a common purpose or because of common circumstances.  Trust is the difference between a good relationship and a bad relationship.

When you start a relationship, you must connect on two primary levels before expecting the client to trust you.  You must help the client know you (who you are, what skills you have).  And the client must like you.  People do business more frequently with people they like.

Trust comes after you emotionally invest in the client.  You do this by demonstrating empathy.  You do this by listening intently.  You do this by reflecting back to the client your understanding of the issue and the emotion he feels.  If you have demonstrated this type of emotional commitment, and the client knows you and likes you, he MAY invest his trust in you.

This may take a few hours or it may take a few years.

Trust is receiver based.  This means no matter what you do, if the client doesn’t feel it, you won’t get it.

Think about this within the context of a personal relationship.

People get to know you. Then they like you. And if you demonstrate empathy and an emotional investment in them, they trust you.

The process for their services is identical to developing a friendship.  Stop thinking about selling (needs, benefits, features) and start thinking about developing relationships.