"You don't have to like your banker, you just have to trust him". I read this quote of Honore Balzac in an article on the web and thought it would be perfect to start an article on trust. Trust is the key to building relationships even today. Balzac, a French writer, was born in 1799. Some things don't change!
Watching Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG, Citibank and Bank of America, it is hard to trust banks and the financial industry as a whole today. And that feeling of distrust pervades the business environment today and affects the relationships you are trying to build when you network.
The dictionary defines trust as "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something". In his book, "Endless Referrals", Bob Berg says that people do business with people they "know, like and trust."
So if the people you network with are not sure about trusting you, what can you do to earn their trust?
Establishing trust is at the heart of relationship building and that is what networking is all about. Here are three important steps to help you build trusting relationships.
The first step in building the relationship is to listen to the other person.. It is imperative that you clearly understanding his/her needs. As simple as this sounds, it is often difficult for people to be quiet long enough for the other person to say what he/she has to say.
The second step in building a positive relationship with someone is to adjust your communication style to that person's style. People tend to trust people who are more like themselves so it is important to adapt your style to theirs.
If you are speaking with someone who is very goal oriented and competitive the person won't waste time with small talk. He/she will want to get straight to business. People with this style are in a hurry and won't like it if you slow them down. Networking with them will be very different than networking with someone who is a people person and loves to talk.
Finally it is most important that you deliver on your promises. Once you are clear on the person's needs and make a promise to deliver something, be sure to fulfill that commitment on time every time. Follow the lead of Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks who says in his book "Pour Your Heart Into It": "Every step of the way, I made a point to under promise and over deliver. In the long run, that's the only way to ensure security in any job."
In the current environment gaining the trust of people can be more difficult. In spite of the current cynicism you can still build your network through steady consistent networking and adhering to these three steps: listen carefully, notice and adjust to the other person's communication style and deliver on your promises.