Trust is one of those elusive words that everyone knows, but no two people will give the same definition for. I like one of Webster’s definitions: ‘To rely on or on the truth of’. A CEO’s definition is ‘you know it when you feel it’. I know that the trust I have for people also varies by domain. In the domain of childcare – there are people I trust to babysit my children. In the domain of musicianship – there are people I trust to play good music. There isn’t much cross over between these two domains.
Let’s talk about business and the title of this article: (SxE)T=R Stephen M.R. Covey’s book ‘The Speed of Trust” defines this as(Strategy x Execution) x Trust = Results. Covey points to Trust as a multiplier for your business – meaning, if you have good trust with your employees and your clients, you will likely produce more and faster results. If you have not established trust or are distrusted, the multiplier will place drag on your business and slow you down and reduce the results you can produce.
When I first read this, I was compelled to look at my client’s business and where they were succeeding and failing to produce results. Let’s take one software firm who was asked to participate in a quote with a regional grocery company. They went through the quoting process, but there were not intimately connected with any of the prospect’s implementation team. Although they worked very hard to establish that trust and demonstrate the features and benefits of their solution during their one 90minute face to face meeting, they were not able to win the deal. Trust with the vendor involved in developing their RFP won this deal. Not, features.
Another situation with another sale brought my client in to a similar quoting situation. The sales rep was able to build a relationship with the champion, and the prospect invited the sales rep and the technical team in for a half-day work session so that they could further establish trust that their purpose was to serve the prospect’s best interest. The software company touted their positives and clearly defined issues that may present challenges. During the quoting process, their contact worked through the CFO’s ROI model to hone in on exactly the price they needed to ‘get to’. They didn’t meet the price exactly, but added a workflow study and seat on the product review board to further establish the level of relationship and respect they had for their prospect. A high level of trust was established over months of activity. Promises kept on call-backs, information provided, and ultimately installing a demo version of the application to build confidence in the solution led to a win in many ways. The future of this relationship will not only serve the software client, but also the prospect and future clients.
The clarity of Covey’s words were moving – especially when it pointed to the necessity for one to have the highest level of trust with oneself. Think about it – if you can’t trust yourself, how can you easily trust others or be considered trustworthy? Then, Covey goes on to talk about how to elevate the trust we have with ourselves and others. A great read. A great inspiration for me and my team.