How to Gain the Trust of Customers and Colleagues

Trust is defined as ‘a firm belief in reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something’.

Trust in the workplace helps drive performance, promotes morale, improves commitment and retention and encourages employee input. Having the trust of customers or colleagues is vital if you wish to progress in your career or grow your business. Maybe you would like to be more of an ‘influencer’ or a better ‘persuader’. Here are some tips you may find useful to gain the trust of others and improve upon your leadership skills:

  • Preparation and knowledge will give others confidence in you. Knowing your customers, colleagues, products, the market, current affairs etc. will help you understand the value you could offer to others. Your value will be key is starting to build trust.
  • We tend to trust those who are in positions of authority. Consider how you trust a doctor or a dentist. The reason for this is likely to be that we understand the individuals in these professions go through a lengthy training and selection processes. They will also have to pass exams to gain qualifications and be certified to practice. Consider ways that you could be seen as more of ‘an authority’ in your role. Could you gain qualifications or become accredited? What could you do to have others see you as an expert in your field? By doing this you will remove some of the anxiety that individuals experience when dealing with the unknown and be seen as more of a trusted contact.
  • Take note of your demeanor around others. If you are overconfident, pushy, dogmatic, always in a rush or too eager to please, you will find it very difficult to gain trust. Making lots of assumptions and having a ‘one size fits all’ approach to your interactions will also slow you down. Consider how you speak to your individual customers and colleagues. Ensure you are engaging, have positive body language and listen to what they have to say. If you help to create an open and relaxed environment, it will be much easier to build rapport
  • Communicating your values and vision to customers and colleagues will help define your agenda and the roles of those involved. Being transparent, avoiding secrecy and involving others in the decision-making process will lead to a more inclusive and collaborative approach. Always do your best to answer all questions. You won’t always be under pressure to answer straight away but do make sure you provide answers in a timely fashion.
  • Trust can be gained or improved by having an affinity with groups or organisations. Being a member of or aligning yourself with something, will almost certainly break down barriers, give you a voice and get you some face time with people who would ordinarily be difficult to make contact with. We will, to some extent, trust those that have similar interests and backgrounds to us. Make the most of this and get networking. Also the longer you’re around and the more frequent you are seen and heard, the more familiar you are, making you much more likely to gain the trust of others.
  • A very important part of building trust is ensuring you are credible. Gaining trust is one thing; to maintain or develop upon it however, you must always have honesty and integrity. Demonstrating this through your actions, achievements and communication with others will lead to recommendations. Trust will be won and lost based on the facts. If you are proven and well liked, you will be vouched for.

Some will give trust freely and quickly, while others will take time and need constant work and reassurance. Be patient and always be authentic. Never try to be something you’re not.

By considering different ways of building trust, you will give yourself the best opportunity to appeal to the different characters and personalities that will make up your customers and your colleagues.

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