How To Build Trust (And Your Authority)

You know that building trust with your audience is essential—it’s only when they see your consistent orientation toward their success that they start truly taking in your teaching.

And, they only buy professional services and products (like books and courses) from experts they trust.

So we can agree that trust is important. The question is how to build more of it?

Trust expert Charles Green developed a “trust equation” that goes like this:

Trustworthiness = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy ÷ Self-Orientation

Credibility is about whether we believe you—how well you speak, write and convey your knowledge.

Reliability is whether/how we can count on you to act.

Intimacy is how safe we feel with you—can we trust you with our secrets?

Self-orientation is how we perceive your focus—is it on us or on you?

Four variables you can certainly influence (more about those here in our Business Of Authority interview with Charlie), but can you see which is the most powerful?

Yep, self-orientation.

That means we can improve trust with our audience dramatically if we can lower our self-orientation.

This is actually far easier than it sounds, even in selling situations. For example:

Show genuine interest in the problems, challenges and triumphs of your sweet-spot. We all love a good listener.

Use your own experiences and stories in service to your big idea (the transformation you implicitly or explicitly promise) rather than the focal point of your content.

Lead sales conversations that focus on mutual understanding of the buyer’s current state and desired outcomes. Your consulting process or product exists only to facilitate the outcomes your buyers value most, not to take over the meeting.

Run your new business meetings with a clear “why”. Learn why your potential client/buyer is looking for help, why now and why you vs. someone else (e.g. an in-house resource or cheaper alternative)? Asking why questions focuses you on their success, while detaching you from making a sale.

Get comfortable saying no (and/or referring) the moment it’s obvious that you are not the right solution. You serve best by being clear on what you can deliver—and what you can’t.

Invest in relationships with kindred spirits, even when there is nothing you see the other can do for you. That referral that isn’t up your alley is still someone who took a risk to become vulnerable with you—why not send them some resources or spend a few minutes suggesting some options?

If you struggle at all with this, try picturing an authority you trust—what about them gives you confidence? Can you cite examples of their low self-orientation?

Being trustworthy isn’t a single step or a single quality, but you can make surprising leaps when you make it a conscious choice.

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