It should be personal

The Age of Trust

Over the last few weeks, we have run a campaign on the importance of the personal approach. We have had a lot of positive feedback and it is clear that the whole theme strikes a chord.

When one considers that the world has become almost entirely transparent and there are few secrets that can be kept, then one begins to understand that openness and trust are skills that are vital to success. The days of the “duck and dive” seller are beyond decline. And of course, with the 24/7 nature of modern comms, with 100 sales emails per day and little time to reflect – the decision makers want to work with those that are genuine and can deliver on their promise. This is the age of Trust

Given this backdrop, it is important to understand how we communicate to customers and clients. Are we trusted? Are we believable?

It all sounds so simple but of course isn’t. Many people struggle to be natural at work. Many have a defensive façade and some are so caught up in their own “persona” that they struggle to connect with others. They often need coaching and mentoring and takes time. It can be about building inner confidence in being yourself. And even some of the most successful have spent their entire careers trying to be someone else.

The difference today is that there is nowhere to hide. People are on show 24/7 and any mask will slip. Look at the example of the BP CEO – Tony Hayward – who was pillared and lost his job over the New Orleans oil spill after a couple of thoughtless comments and being caught sailing with his son at 6am on a Saturday morning. He came across as not being genuine and showing due care.

It is interesting how life has changed over the years. 40 years ago, those from working class backgrounds would take elocution lessons just to be accepted. Today, we celebrate differences and love accents. What matters is that one’s background but how one behaves and if one acts in way that can is believable, genuine and to be trusted. It is about their substance, not their background.

Yet, the relationships we create are only going to last if we deliver on any promise and are open in approach. If a person is transactional only in approach, their ability to be successful over a long period of time will be low. Strong relationships come from “giving” to a relationship – not just looking for what is in it for gain. It may sound obvious but one of the criticisms of sales people is that they do not listen. Sadly, we often do not even bother to discover anything substantial about our clients as people, forgetting that if we fail to engage with them in a real, personal way, we are just another merchant- and they are easily replaceable. If you ask real questions, honestly care about the answer, you will be able to create a real human connection in the process.

The value of honesty and truthfulness, also indicates pushing back on decisions that don’t make sense, providing perspective that can develop our products and always using the personal high bar to ensure we are doing our best for our clients. Throughout our career we are often faced with opportunities to cut corners, but in the end authenticity is what will propel us forward.

So, in all things- be yourself, and you will get more respect than if you tried to be someone you weren’t.

This is the age of Trust.

In August and September, EP will be hosting a number of informal evenings coaching on how to build professional relationships. If you would be interested in attending, please contact Arlene McCaffrey 

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