The greatest ways to build trust I’ve ever read

 In Delivery

“True professionals ask tough thought-provoking questions. The kind nobody else asks. One of the very successful Finance Professional I know asks, “How’s your marriage?’ AdobeStock_92864109 (Medium)

The responses can be very interesting, and yes, some people challenge the relevance of this question.

This is how he responds. “The question is completely relevant for two reasons.

1/ There can be absolutely no secrets between you and your financial adviser because every nuance can make a difference in my advice.

2/ If your marriage is tenuous, it can dramatically effect the plan I propose and investments I recommend.” 

He’s right on both counts, isn’t he? He says that after he asks this questions and gets the answer, all the other questions seem easy and the client opens up.

Ask tough thought-provoking questions and more people will trust and respect you. This is important to building long-term client relationships.”

The above passage is point 4 from a great article I read many years ago by Bill Bacharach entitled, 11 Principles of maintaining client trust: The key to long-term success.

The other 10 principles  (some with elaboration) are:

  • Trust is a function of understanding. 
  • Often the shortest path to a trusting relationship crosses through some feelings of discomfort. The truth isn’t always pleasant. A good example is life insurance.
  • We demonstrate our trustworthiness based on our ability to ask good questions and our willingness to listen.
  • We trust people who make us think. In 1952 Dr Albert Schweitzer was asked, “What’s wrong with men today? Schweitzer replied, “Men don’t think.”
  • We trust people who are accurate.
  • Trust is an emotion.
  • We trust people who believe in their recommendations enough to express themselves with conviction.
  • We trust people who “speak our language”.
  • We trust people who do what they say they are going to do.
  • We trust people who care.

Here’s how I’ve applied a few of the Principles in my work:

  • Regarding, asking tough thought-provoking questions, to open a meeting, I sometimes say (which I learned from Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach). “Let me start with what may be a bold question. What would have to happen from now until three years from now, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy with your progress?”
  • Regarding, asking good questions and our willingness to listen, here’s my identity and mantra prior to interacting with a person. ‘Everyone you meet knows something you don’t know. Your job is to listen long enough to find that information and use it.’
  • Regarding, we trust people who do what they say they are going to do, here are four simple things I strive to consistently do. (also learned from Dan Sullivan). 1. Show up on time 2. Do what you say you’re going to do. 3. Finish what you start. 4. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. (Acknowledging that at times things can fall through the cracks, I’ve been surprised throughout my career at the number of people that can’t achieve these things).

Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: Read and reflect on Bachrach’s points. Consider one Principle you could take action on, tomorrow.

Check out this prior post on a ‘listening station’ technique for managers.



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