Can We Really Trust You? 5 Things You Are Doing That Make People Wonder …

by | Oct 7, 2014 | Influence, Trust

“Do you want to make more money? Do you want to make big bucks? Let me hear you if you do.”

Can People Trust You?Half the audience cheered enthusiastically. The rest of the people looked around with some discomfort. The speaker said it again, louder and with bigger hand gestures.

He was trying to get the audience excited before he told us how we were going to make big bucks using his strategies and courses.

I was on stage next at this Investor conference and was standing at the back of the room with the AV guys waiting to get my mic on.  One of my clients walked over to me. “What do you think about him?”

I didn’t want to answer so I said, “What do YOU think about him?

My client shrugged and whispered, “He says the right things, but I don’t trust him.

I just smiled and nodded. It wasn’t the first event where I’d shared a stage with this guy. While I didn’t know the guy personally, I was pretty sure my client’s instincts were right. I wouldn’t do business with him even though I knew very little about it. But, it still begs the question:

What if you say the right things and still don’t get the results you want?

It can happen for a variety of reasons. And because trust is critical to your ability to influence others, you should pay attention and make sure that people feel they can trust you.

Here are 5 Things You Might Be Doing That Are Making People Wonder if they Can Trust You

  1. Your appearance.

    My brother is a carpenter who runs a crew. He laughs about people who show up on at their job sites in suits to sell them things. It is easy to assume that a suit is the right thing to wear when selling, but you have to consider the context of where you’ll be having the conversations. If you’re visiting a work site where hard hats, steel toed boots, and dirt covered t-shirts are what most people are wearing, nobody is going to trust your opinion about the tools you’re selling if you don’t look like you have ever used one.

    We like people who are just like us. Robert B. Cialdini talks about the ‘Law of Liking’ in his book Influence. We do business with people we like. And we like people who we perceive to be just like us.

    We can be similar in many areas such as our background, lifestyle, personality traits or preferences but when you first meet someone these things aren’t always as obvious as how the person dresses. Cialdini notes an experiment where they asked students on a University campus for a dime to make a phone call (it was in the 70’s … these days most students have probably never used  a pay phone!). When the experimenter was dressed in the same style as the student, they received a dime two out of three times they asked. When they were dressed differently the success was less than half of the time.

    I know most of us were told ‘not to judge a book by a cover’ but we do. What you wear matters. It also matters that make yourself as attractive as possible. We are naturally drawn to people who we find attractive. We are more likely to pay attention to them and like them. We also tend to assign them more positive traits like kindness and intelligence. Not fair, but true. So, to maximize your physical attractiveness trim unwanted hair (yes guys, I am talking about nose and ear hair!), have a nice hair cut, maintain a good weight, and whiten your teeth. Take a look at the news anchors. They are always well groomed.When you select your clothes, find a style that suits you and flatters your body type, and plan to dress about 10-15% better than the person you’ll be trying to influence. So if you’re showing up on a work site to sell tools or materials to my brother, you’re probably best to wear decent jeans with a belt, a golf shirt, and shoes that are dressier than running shoes or could even pass for work boots. Throw on a hard had if you need to go on site (And that is what the guys are wearing) and have work boots in your car.

  2. Do what you say you’re going to do.

    If you consistently do what you say you’re going to do, people will trust you. One of my personal pet peeves with speakers is when they promise to teach five ways to do something only to give fluffy things, not useful things. Then, at the end, they promise their course will give you the REAL goods.Maybe you felt you had to hold back so there was something people would pay for, but to me that isn’t doing what you say you’re going to do and I now lose trust.We own a lot of rental property. One of my basic criteria for screening tenants is whether they show up when they say they are going to. If they are late, do they call to tell me? It’s a simple thing, but it’s another indicator of someone who does what they say they are going to do.

    So it may seem like a small thing but if you say you’re going to drop something off, put something in the mail, meet someone at a certain time or follow up on a specific day – do it.People will come to know you as someone they can rely on. Reliability is a highly desirable trait. If they feel they can rely on you, they will trust you. It doesn’t matter if it a small or a big thing.

  3. Congruency in your body language and your message.

    “I just need a script to follow.”So many people think that if you give them the magical words to sell something, they will be successful.Trust in BusinessThere are two really big problems with scripts in sales. The first is that a script only works if you are both working off the same copy. If you get asked a question that isn’t scripted it or if you happen to fall off the script, everything can fall apart for you. Second, unless you’re an actor and really good at getting into character, the words I will use to sell something will be very different than the words you will use because we are two totally different people.

    If you try to use MY words you will feel uncomfortable. It’s authentic for me, but not for you. When you lack authenticity and feel  uncomfortable that will leak through in your body language and the subconscious of the person you’re speaking to will see it.

    The speaker at the start of my story seemed fake. My guess is that he worked with someone to create this talk in order to sell his program. They weren’t really things he would naturally say. He was polished and rehearsed. He had specific gestures he would use when he said certain things. On the surface it seems congruent and aligned but it didn’t feel natural. I think it’s because he didn’t really feel the emotions that would go along with what he was saying. He was faking it to get the sale. And it did work for some people, but a big percentage of people walked out of the room feeling like they had been slimed (actual words I overheard someone from the audience use).

    It doesn’t matter what your voice says if your body is saying something different. Authenticity can shine through, but only if you are really being you. If you aren’t delivering your message with confidence and your body is right there with you, you’re not going to be believable.

  4. Associating with the Wrong People.

    Trust is highly transferable. You will like and trust the associates of someone you already hold in high regard. The reverse happens just as fast though.There is this one guy in the real estate education business that I have done a few promotions with. I like him and he’s been very supportive of me and my business. I have never felt like I can fully trust him though. It’s not because he’s ever done anything to me to make me not trust him, it’s because he heavily associates with someone I do not trust at all. Someone I would never be associated with because his business practices go against everything I believe in.I can never fully trust someone who readily associates with someone I don’t trust. So just as easily as you might trust me because someone you trust endorses me, that trust can vanish if I associate with someone you don’t trust.

    Who you hang out with matters a lot. It impacts your income. It influences your thinking. And, it can increase or decrease what other people think of you instantly.

  5. Belief and Commitment

    Is the customer better off working with you or using your product?If you don’t believe in what you offer, people will sense it. If you’re not committed to your clients happiness, enjoyment, success, results or whatever you are offering, things will fall apart because people will sense your lack of belief or commitment.People will walk away without buying into what you’re saying.

    You have two choices if that is your situation. You can build your belief. You can dig in and find success stories. Get on the ground to really see and experience the the benefits of what you’re offering. Or, you can change what you do or what you’re trying to communicate.

    Belief and commitment to deliver are essential to communicating with influence and impact.

Trust is not a rational thing. We want to believe that we trust for sensible reasons but it’s just not true. Think about it … we trust someone who is good looking more than someone who less attractive. We trust someone we see on a regular basis over someone we have just met. We trust a celebrity on tv more than our neighbour. There are no rational reasons to trust in these situation … but it’s how we’re wired.

If you aren’t getting the results you want at work or at home, it’s possible there is something you’re doing that is causing people to walk away thinking “there’s just something about him I don’t trust”… Take a look at what you look like, your follow through, the authenticity of your message, who you’re associating with and your own belief in your message. It’s possible one or more of these things are causing other people to wonder if they can trust you.


Image Credit 1: © Rawpixelimages 
Image Credit 2: © B-d-s 
Other sources referenced for this article: No B.S. Trust Based Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Trust in an Understably UnTrusting World by Dan S. Kennedy and Matt Zagula Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan

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