“Those who say “it’s not personal, it’s just business” are lying. All business is personal, and the best business is very personal.” – Rick Lenz
If you run a small business or are a solo-preneur, you know in your heart this is true. Your business is an extension of what you believe in and are passionate about.
All business is built on trust relationships. You need to look no further than Boeing to see what happens when trust is broken.
I buy from you because I trust the product you’re selling. I work for you because I believe you will reimburse me for the time I devote to your business. I refer you to friends because I trust they will have a positive experience.
An excellent book called “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen R. Covey breaks the trust relationship down into an easy-to-remember equation. While we don’t consciously work through the equation when we relate to one another, it helps to understand how trust is created. It’s also important when trust is broken so that you know how to fix it.
Character + Competence = Trust
The first part of the equation, Character can understood by looking at its two components – Integrity and Intent
Integrity means you walk your talk. You do what you say you’re going to do. You keep promises. In other words, you are someone who can be counted on.
Intention simply refers to whether I feel you have positive, neutral or negative goals for me in the relationship. If you are just looking to sell without listening to me, that’s a negative intention. When I feel heard and understood, that’s a positive.
The second half of the equation, “Competence”, is also broken down in to two concepts – Capabilities and Results.
Capabilities can be understood as ‘proof’ that you (or your product) can fulfill what is promised or that you understand the information being shared. That doesn’t mean you have to be the expert on everything. In fact, just the opposite. You’ll inspire more trust by admitting you don’t know or don’ have the skills BUT you do know how to find what is needed.
Results are exactly what you think. Did you deliver? Can you point to experiences or physical items? Do you have third party testimonials to back up what you’re saying? All business is built on trust. Start there and keep it personal