Personal network building by putting trust to work (part 8)

November 7, 2012

personal networkIn previous posts we have covered building your personal network through:

Personal Networks Require Trust

Today’s focus is trust, which is essential to building and maintaining any personal network. In Trusted Advisor, authors David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford offer an equation to define trust. I am going to make a modification to their equation and will explain later why I made this modification.


T = Trust
C = Credibility
R = Reliability
I = Intimacy
S = Self-orientation

Credibility shows up in how people talk about you and your track record of actions and accomplishments; somebody with published articles or books, for instance, may have instant credibility on a particular subject. Reliability shows up in your actions; when you do what you say you will do, or show up when you say you will show up, you are perceived as reliable. Intimacy is about the emotional connections you forge with others; intimacy can be achieved by asking open-ended questions and acting sincerely. Self-orientation is about your focus and motives. When you are about “making the sale,” your self-orientation skyrockets and trust is lost. You want your focus to be on others–your customers, coworkers, or prospects. Concentrate on helping them achieve their goals, and, in the process, they will grow to trust you. So if a prospect is talking about a trip she took to Glacier National Park last summer, ask about her experience. Don’t tell her about your trip there the summer before. Don’t make her story about you.

Winning trust with those in your personal network requires you to do well in all four of the identified dimensions. The modification that I made to the author’s equation is that I changed the numerator to be a product of C, R, and I as opposed to a sum. A failure in any one of the four dimensions should earn a zero in the trust equation. You simply can’t be unreliable or have poor credibility and expect to be trusted. The same goes for intimacy. Granted, in the professional setting, intimacy may at times be low. If that’s the case, you better have a strong  credibility or reliability rating. And you should work harder to be sincere and demonstrate care and concern for others. Start asking more and telling less.

How does your sales staff line up against the trust equation? What can you do to develop a deeper trust with your customers or donors?

Related links:

Why build a personal network (part 1)

Who should be in your personal network and how do you build one (part 2)

Personal network building with social media (part 3)

Feed your personal network (part 4)

Personal network building through the human touch (part 5)

Personal network building through sharing (part 6)

Personal network building through listening (part 7)

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