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Eleven Ways to Build and Sustain Trust in Doing Business
By Harvy Simkovits, CMC, Mr. Business Wisdom

As business professionals we always talk about building trust with our clients, employees and business associates. It is a crucial requirement in sustaining any productive relationship. As many of us know from our experiences, trust can take a long time to build, yet only a moment to weaken or be totally lost through a non-mindful act. Without trust, the outcomes can be lip-service, face-saving, resentment, undermining, avoiding and game-playing. Consequently, real mutual understanding and effective collaborative work get compromised.

In our business interactions, we can usually intuitively feel when trust is there or not there. However, how many of us truly know what it specifically takes to build trust in our important relationships? Before you read on, think about what factors you believe are most important in building and sustaining trust with your clients or colleagues. Then, compare your notes with my thoughts below.

Eleven factors that build and sustain trust in your business relationships: (note that the last two items below are about regaining someone's trust if you ever lose it)

  • Rapport - finding things in common with another person, even by mirroring and matching your body language to theirs, can help to create fertile ground on which to build trust
  • Honesty - always telling the truth about how you see things; offering your true perspective on matters at an opportune time (when the other person is open to your thinking)
  • Sincerity - demonstrating caring and unconditional positive regard to other person's point of view, even if you disagree with their perspective
  • Respect for Self and Others - always talking to and dealing with others as equals and never as if they were lesser than or greater than you; i.e., never criticizing them or belittling yourself; saying what you agree with before you say what you disagree with; never laying blaming nor creating guilt, etc.
  • Openness - fully hearing and understanding the other person's viewpoint; allowing yourself to be impacted by their needs and ideas
  • Competency - demonstrating your knowledge and know-how around matters of importance to the other person; also demonstrating your ability to get to what is most important to the other person and in being able to differentiate your point of view from theirs
  • Mutuality - always working to serve all parties' best interests; not being out just for yourself, or for just one or a few others; creating conditions where every party can win will work to bolster everyone's positive regard of you
  • Integrity - walking your talk (having alignment between your words and actions); taking your promises seriously and working like heck to keep them not only to the other person but also to yourself
  • Reliability - being consistent in your behavior or in your way of being or acting; being someone others can depend on in fulfilling commitments
  • Admission - gracefully admitting to any error or failing on your part, and explaining your transgression in a way others could understand
  • Recovery - when needing to break a promise (because you unwittingly over-committed, or because of circumstances truly beyond your purview or control) then quickly informing the other person with the bad news, apologizing for not being able to fulfill the promise, and then making a new promise in order to make it up to them

These eleven factors are not necessary mutually exclusive, they intertwine with each other. However, if you are having trouble in any of your business (or personal) relationships, then you might consult this list to see if anything is missing in your behavior with respect to that relationship. These factors may also help you if you specifically need to repair a damaged relationship.
You are a reflection of your relationships. Serving those relationships well, by building trust, will serve you well in the long run.

Harvy Simkovits, CMC, President of Business Wisdom, works with owner managed companies to help them grow, prosper and continue on by offering innovative approaches to business development, company management, organization leadership and learning, and management education. He can be reached at 781-862-3983 or .

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