Last week I listened to the first webcast on Getting Customers to Choose You Over Everyone Else: Leveraging Credibility, Believability, and Trust in Everything you do created by the League of Extraordinary Minds.
As an entrepreneur, I appreciated the sheer amount of practical tips and information that will help me with my business. And as a leadership and career coach, I was struck by the focus on some of the less “tangible” or as often described, the “softer skills” that were clear MUSTS in the minds of these successful leaders.
1) Be you! Be authentic, honest and transparent
All the speakers talked about recognizing your point of differentiation. Yes, this can be the product or service but first it starts with you! Stephen M.R. Covey spoke about the importance about being clear with your intent. He suggested discussing your objective of making trust in the relationship a specific goal. Why not? It feels good to hear it. And you’ll either believe or you won’t (see point #3 below). Sharing lots of information builds trust. So does telling personal stories. They make us human and help to connect.
2) Listen and Learn
Do you know the feeling of being sold? Of course you do. The one word that people use when having that experience is “pressure”. Listen, listen, listen and then listen some more. Develop not only strong but well-rounded listening skills. Listen for their needs and for the place where they need you so much that they can’t afford NOT to work with you. Feedback is also a huge part of the process. No one likes to be criticized but it’s how we learn. One of the speakers mentioned an exercise of asking for 3 positives and 3 areas of improvement after each meeting. I suspect that getting in the habit is half the battle here.
3) Appeal to your customer’s emotions
More information emerges every day about the science of how our brains work. While I love reading about neuroscience it’s certainly not my area of expertise (I specifically recall fulfilling my science requirement by taking “Physics for Poets”). So, for the brainiac piece, please check out other resources, some of which are listed on my blog. However I do understand what Russell Granger meant when he said “we’re not thinking machines, we’re feeling machines that think”. Our brain and often our body feel the experience of trust and therefore also dishonesty and distrust. It’s the feeling we get that we often refer to as “gut” feeling. How do we appeal to emotions? Bond, be honest, create rapport. Take the time to be perceived as a friend. Ask questions like: What do you like to do when you’re not working so hard? This is why emotional intelligence is so important to being a successful leader. It helps us connect.
What other “soft skills” do you think are important for building trust?
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Kraft your Success: Be authentic, fully kraft your passion, inspire others and celebrate your successes with zest!