I loved this short, but perfect post from Seth Godin's Blog last week. It's about the importance of trust. Please read it before proceeding. It's also very consistent with the late Steven Covey's philosophy as related in his book, The Speed of Trust.
Trust is becoming more important than ever. Companies are focusing more on integrity and values, and that's from both sides of the door. They are looking for salespeople, vendors, suppliers, partners and trusted advisors who have strong integrity. And they are also hiring the people (in this case, salespeople) who are deemed to be of a higher integrity. Trustworthy is the operative word here.
There are certainly companies and people that don't measure up when it comes to the high integrity profile and that is what makes prospects so skeptical. Bad experiences. It only takes one shoplifter for a retailer to install a video surveillance system and/or detectors, lock their display cases, hide their merchandise and distrust all of its customers. Just one bad apple is all it takes to ruin it for everyone.
Yesterday, we had an internal conversation about our website, collateral, videos, blog articles, white papers, emails and of course, phone calls and face-to-face visits. The question of the day was, "Do potential clients trust us when they don't really know us that well?"
We wondered aloud whether credibility and trust were really the same thing, related, or completely separate conclusions. Personally, I believe they are separate. I believe that someone could be credible as an expert, yet still not be completely trustworthy. I also believe that we could meet someone who was completely worthy of our trust, but not be completely credible as an expert. Separate issues. The problem is that many companies lump these two issues together and assume that if they are credible, they have built trust. Here's something for you to consider. Let me know if you agree with my definitions. I believe that credibility is an earned, time-tested, combination of experience, expertise and success in a specific field or subject matter. I believe that trustworthiness is the ability to convey personal values and integrity through words, body language and actions. Do you agree?
You can have all of the latest systems, processes, tools, and applications, along with the best products and services. But if your prospects don't trust you, your intentions, your company, your promises or your eagerness, they won't buy from you.
I would like to remind you of a white paper on trust that I published a couple of years ago. I conducted a study and we got some incredible, eye-popping data, that shows who trusts whom, by industry, and exactly when and why salespeople are distrusted. It's a must-read. You can download it right here.