Relational Authority

  • Category: Running Your BusinessTribe Building

There is an interesting relationship between trust and authority.

You probably won’t consider someone an authority if you don’t trust them—which is why part of building authority is the drip, drip, drip of consistently delivering on your promises, explicit and implied.

And once we trust you, we will probably take your recommendations and introductions seriously.

Let’s call that relational authority—when someone you trust gives you a recommendation within their area of expertise. It could range from highly personal and significant (they introduce you to new clients) to a small public mention of your work.

Some amount of their authority is loaned to you (or your book or your product).

Like when I asked my accountant for a recommendation for a bookkeeper to set up QuickBooks for a rental property. I realized after I’d already emailed the bookkeeper that I hadn’t even checked out her website first.

I NEVER do that.

It didn’t even occur to me because my CPA has earned my deep trust. I don’t need to second guess her recommendation. Of course if I get bad vibes from the interview, game over, but how likely is that to happen?

In fact, when I did click over, sure enough—she works with people EXACTLY like me doing the thing I need done.

That bookkeeper got a solid gold referral that saved everyone a ton of angst.

So here’s the interesting question: which of your deeply trusted relationships have the potential for you to leverage each other’s authority?

It probably isn’t a large list—but the impact of a single referral can be huge (case in point: I just referred a former colleague to an engagement that will be his single largest revenue stream this year).

This is more than trying to get a “name” to know you exist. This is about giving and receiving authority with those you trust deeply.