Most people who responded to the survey seemed not to have a systematic process of developing trust. A few wanted to work on a project with them first, but several relied on randomness and the “right feel”
To recommend someone they met networking, the more cautious souls would want to see their work before recommending. If the skills were rare or there was a good match between the buyer and the seller, the majority of respondents would mention them with a caveat that they had no personal experience.
However what was really interesting was that the same indicators of trust were found across the sample. However we sliced the sample, US vs Europe, Big vs Small, On-line junkies vs avoiders, the same characteristics and behaviours led to the growth of trust. Let’s list them.
As well as being crystal clear about what you do, doing what you say and knowing your subject, the key skills of networking and building trust were thought to be
- An attitude of Givers Gain
- Listening Skills
- Rapid follow up
- Enthusiastic can do attitude
- Trustworthy and sincere
Givers Gain (also sometimes called “paying it forward”) means doing favours and passing referrals on first and wait for the law of karma to work on your behalf later when you have enough good karma points in the bank. Thomas Power has even attempted to quantify this as 50 gives = 1 get. Spamming everyone with business cards and the “always be closing” approach seems not to work in this environment.
This is in line with Cialdini’s identification of the principle of reciprocation as one of the cornerstones of building strong human relationships. The other main ones are Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity. This is all summarised in his book “Influence – Science and Practice” which I would say is a must for anyone serious about building a successful business presence.
If you can build and maintain a good reputation for competence in a sought after area and are generally pleasant to deal with, networking is a great way of leveraging your ability to reach more customers.
- Looking good – all the research shows that the beautiful get more business. If you can’t look beautiful at least try and look symmetrical. It may not be PC – but that’s how our heads are wired.
- Being absolutely clear about what you do.
- Being consistent
- Being easy to talk to
- Listening a lot
- Finding helpful connections for the other person.
However above all you have to be clear about what you want out of it – be it collaborators, referrals, employees, introductions to finance. If you are helpful and you let other people know clearly what you do and what you want, consistently – then the magic will start to occur.
None of this is really new of course. Here are 2 quotes that sum it up
1) You have 2 ears and 1 mouth – use them in that proportion. From Every sales course you’ve ever been on.
2) Just tell them what they want to hear. But there’s a catch. You have to mean it. Dale Carnegie didn’t quite put it like that – but that’s the core message of “How to win friends and influence people” if you ask me.