Business is made on the foundations of trust- trust me. The glue that holds together any solid business relationship is trust and everyone has a different idea of its significance in running a profitable business. It can be the difference between a contract won and a contract lost. A failed negotiation could come down to a money issue, differing opinions or some small detail in the product line BUT if a person/company does not trust another person/company’s ability to say, deliver the goods, then say adios to a future business relationship- it’s over.

Love labour’s lost.

People buy from people they KNOW, people they RESPECT and people they TRUST. You need all three components; it’s extraordinarily difficult to get away with only two, let alone one. A good friend lamented to me once, “Everybody knows me and knows what I do, why don’t they buy from me?” It was true, he is well connected, everyone respected him, and he’s known as a generous and easy-going man, but people did not trust him. People trusted him as a person absolutely, but the back-end of his business let him down. People did not trust the businesses ability to deliver a good service, so they went elsewhere. Tough, but in business you have to have all the dimensions right or someone else will. Nearly everything right is not good enough!

If only it were this easy to spot.

So where does trust come from? Trust is either implicitly there or it’s not. If it’s not then, you will be holding an entirely different conversation with the client than if it was. In the dying seconds of business agreements, you’ll find people attempting to reassure the client that they and the company are trustworthy. They’ll treat it like an auction, willing back in the bidder with statements of ‘updated plumbing’ and ‘fresh coats of paint that will last the years.’ They fail to comprehend why the trust isn’t there.

Many see trust as unquantifiable and intangible; it is considered little more than a nuisance rather than a critical factor for success. Often it can be forgotten, when dealing with big corporations, that there is a person behind the company’s money with whom you are speaking. Failure to engage successfully in a way that results in confidence and high expectations are costing businesses money. If the trust doesn’t exist, it will result in lower expectations, scepticism and closed deals.

In fact, a four-year study of 600 businesses found that only 21% of satisfied clients intended on maintaining their relationships with a particular firm. The main reason for clients leaving was a lack of trust stemming from the company’s behaviour and an absence of communication. If that doesn’t make you sit up and think and reassess your commitment to trust then perhaps convert those lost customers to lost profits.

Now I have you attention and it’s been established that trust is a valuable and quantifiable commodity; it’s time to talk about how exactly we lose it. Let’s face it losing a client not only crushes your bottom line but it’ll put a dent in your ego.

1. Dishonesty

Nothing kills trust like lies. The moment something untrustworthy comes out of your mouth, whatever follows is tainted. Avoid at all costs because even a small lie can ruin a solid business relationship.

2. Inconsistency

Variety is the spice of life but not during matters of business. If your performance varies day to day, people won’t know if you can perform when it counts, and they will turn to someone else.

3. Not listening

If you’re not listening, game over. Any trust already established will fly out the window when you ask a question further up the line that was explained earlier but you weren’t listening.

4. Lack of communication

If you suddenly fall off the face of the planet someone is going to notice. Sending emails, making phone calls and updating any website or social media the company has running allows any past or future clients to keep up with the company’s news or updates. It’s also an effective way to stay fresh in a client’s mind.

Neglecting to provide or deliberately withholding information from the client is a quick way to eliminate any future business relationships. Word will spread, especially if the deal goes catastrophic; don’t be surprised to find your company in a lot of strife in the future.

Only takes a second to break.

Beginning with trust is easier than losing it. It is about you and your company being transparent, listening to the client and reacting appropriately, and refining your business structures to know how to deal with any issues that arise. Behave in a reliable and trustworthy way with everything you do. Listen to your prospect and never push them down the garden path for your gain.

If you are known, respected and trusted in the business world you will start each new client meeting with trust. If you are a trusting person, you will find people will open up to you. If your business has a trusted, respected and well known past people will trust it. It’s about having the background to create the future.

Don’t be oblivious to the negative feedback, lost or dissatisfied clients. If your optimism does not reflect your reality, review your reputation. A company that is willing to have a frank and open discussing regarding issues of trust will find it will open a new door for clients of the future. It’s not too late to learn from the past, as long as you’re willing to admit that things need to change and not get stuck with a foolish past belief system. If you are a non-trusting person, you’re asking for something you’re not willing to give- trust me.

Originally published on LinkedIn

Read more: