This is the first post that I’m writing as part of our “Elevate Your Business” series.  I’ve have been reading my fair share of “advice” on LinkedIn and various professional publications.  While a good portion of the content I have seen is valuable, I also come across a significant number of articles that recommend various forms of trickery in order to achieve business goals.

In my opinion one topic that isn’t discussed nearly enough is trust.  Are you a trusted professional?

Trust in Business RelationshiptsThis may not be a question that you ask yourself everyday but it should be.  Anyone would agree that trust is very important in their personal relationships.  Your best friends are probably the ones you second guess the least.  When they make a recommendation in their field of expertise you know they have no reason to mislead you. Do you have a similar relationship with your partners, vendors and clients?

I truly believe that business relationships should also be based on trust. You want loyalty from your customers (brand loyalty) and you expect it from your employees.  Generally speaking though, do you offer it in return?  

I often hear business owners talk about customer or employee retention.  They may even mention vendor relations but I rarely hear them give reasons as to why they should expect higher retention rates or better service from vendors.  

Recently, I have been fortunate enough to work at an organization where trust is king.

Let me paint you a picture:

  • No need to “look busy”, simply focus on meeting your objectives
  • When you make a recommendation no one is second-guessing your motives
  • Because your organization screams transparency, your clients’ and potential clients’ default attitude is to trust you.

The list goes on and on but I’m sure you can all think of situations where an extra ounce of trust would have saved you a pound of time or would have led to a better outcome altogether.  This level of trust is not something that people inherently deserve but it is something that once obtained can change the rules of the game.

How do you obtain it?

  • Competence
  • Ethical Conduct
  • Transparency
  • Accountability

Let’s call the list above CETA. If you want trust you must make sure that everything you do respects CETA.

Competence means being good at what you do for your company, being an asset.  If you bring value to your employer or employees then it’s much easier for you to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner.  This transparency will allow you to be congratulated when merit is due and improve when things don’t go as planned.

With the trust of your employer or that of your employees you will deliver more value to your customers while raising the bar for your partners.

Here’s what this will mean for your business relationships:

  • Clients will be more upfront about their requirements and expectations
  • Partners will help you when they can.  Not exclusively for financial gain but because they value your partnership.
  • Acquaintances will have a good impression of you before they even work with you.  In this day and age everyone has an opinion on everything and it’s easier than ever to share it.

This sums up what I wanted to share about trust.  In future posts I will talk cover CETA more in depth.  If you have any stories (good or bad) to share about trust in business relationships, please leave a comment below!

-Phil Alexandre