The Trust Equation

The Trust Equation

In a world full of lies and fake news, trust is becoming more and more rare. Business leaders like John Spence have identified that it is critical for businesses to work on developing trust in order to succeed (see this video).

David Maister & Charles Green published a book in 2000 called The Trusted Advisor after years of experience working at Harvard and consulting with professional service firms. They developed a model that professional can use to build trust quickly.

The equation components are:

  • Credibility - do you know what you are talking about? Do you have enough experience in helping clients like me? Do you have enough education? Licenses? Published books? Articles? Do other people see you as an expert?
  • Reliability - will you do what you say you will do? Can I rely on you? Are you dependable?
  • Intimacy - Do I feel comfortable enough with you to tell you the whole truth i.e. my fear, concerns, problems, worries. Will I let my guard down?
  • Self-orientation - Will you look after my best interest or be selfish?

There are 3 positive numerators which add to trust and only one denominator which reduces trust... so self-orientation is arguably 3 times more important than the other three.

Remember, it doesn't matter what the actual situation is, it only matters what impression your prospect has of these. I could be the most honest, independent, conflict-free advisor in Australia but if a prospect thinks that I'm only it in to make money, then there will be a very low level of trust.

We need to develop a sales system around this 4 inputs - which I'm going to show you how to do. Your aim should be to build credibility, reliability and low self-orientation prior to meeting a prospect and then, when face-to-face, focus on building intimacy and low self-orientation.

The below video includes Charles Green further explaining the trust equation.