The following is an excerpt from the book, The Age of the Customer, by Jim Blasingame.
Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him and to let him know that you trust him.
— Booker T. Washington
Thousands of years ago, when Og instinctively held up his open palm for the first time to reveal to Gog that he wasn’t holding a weapon, Og was saying, “Trust me, I mean you no harm.” When Gog believed the message of that gesture and accepted it by holding up his own open palm, the first contract was forged. When humans began choosing trust over fear, they started trading with each other instead of taking what they wanted by force.
So there you have it. The founding element of the marketplace, which has underpinned and underwritten human society, is trust.
Trust was at the headwaters of the Age of the Seller and it will only grow in value in the Age of the Customer. Here are two reasons why:
- It’s the right thing to do. Being trustworthy aligns with every faith-based and ethical notion going back thousands of years.
- It’s a good business practice. When trust is present, time is saved, productivity goes up, and people are happier.
The opposite of trust, as demonstrated by our two primordial forebears above, is fear. Arky Ciancutti, M.D. is the co-author of Built on Trust, and was the original trust guru on my radio program. Arky says fear always runs into the law of diminishing returns, whereas trust multiplies and magnifies itself. This excerpt is from his book:
We are a society in search of trust. The less we find, the more precious it becomes. Along with technology and innovation, trust is one of the most powerful forces in business today. Trust is waiting to be harvested. It’s not even low-hanging fruit. It’s lying on the ground, there for the taking.
Trust is simply doing what you promised when you promised, and if you cannot do either of those things, you get back with the other person with an update. Arky calls that process “closure.”
But trust is also doing what you think others expect of you, even when you don’t have to. The first time you demonstrate trust with a Customer when they don’t expect it will be serendipitous validation of their buying decision. The second time it happens, your Customer will claim a valuable business and emotional return on their investment of trusting you.
Another of my trust experts is Stephen M.R. Covey, the eldest son of the late Stephen Covey. In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. says,
There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world — trust. It changes the quality of every present moment and alters the trajectory and outcome of every future moment of our personal and professional lives.
You’ve know about trust all your life and likely have tried to be trustworthy. My goal is to help you recognize trust as the multi-faceted, powerful source of influence that it is, so you make sure it’s a conscious component of everything you and your organization does.
About the Author:
Jim Blasingame is one of the world’s foremost experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the award-winning host of The Small Business Advocate® Show, the world’s only weekday radio talk show dedicated to small business, nationally syndicated since 1997. He is also a syndicated columnist and author of two books, Small Business is Like a Bunch of Bananas, and Three Minutes to Success. His new book, The Age of the Customer®, will be released January 2014.