Whether you’re starting out selling your own service and attracting prospects, maintaining a long-term working relationship with existing clients, or even managing IT in a corporate setting for your colleagues, building trust is of paramount importance.
We loved this TexX talk on the importance of trust from David Horsager, author and CEO of the Trust Edge Leadership Institute. David believes that a lack of trust could be your biggest expense. Let’s think about his talk through an MSP or Corporate IT lens.
What do today’s headlines have in common?
So many of today’s headlines pull together the idea of trust. Whether it’s political parties, brands, financial institutions, global businesses, or even individuals – the impact of trust cannot be underestimated.
We often believe it takes a long time to build trust, and that all we can do with our clients is stick around for the long haul, but actually – in a crisis, we see that even strangers start to trust one another in seconds. Think about the brands you really trust, they probably aren’t all the ones that you have been with for the longest amount of time, and we bet that a bad experience can turn you off even a long-trusted company very quickly. The same is true for your customers. You can be trusted one day, and in trouble, the next, and even a new client can start trusting you very quickly if you get the relationship right.
What are the benefits of trust?
If you think trust is just a soft skill and doesn’t impact the bottom line – you’re wrong. Think about celebrities who lose the public trust and the cancel culture that removes them from our screens in moments. Think about credit scores – the more trusted you are, the less you have to pay in the long run. David even mentioned that in countries where citizens trust one another more, poverty is much lower.
One great example that surfaced in this TedX talk was the idea of an honesty box, used to collect money from a stand at the side of the road, in this case selling produce from a farm. Customers can drive up, take what they need, put money into an open box, and leave.
For the owner of the farm, they save money and time, because they don’t need to stand there attending to the stall, or pay anyone else to be there in their own place. For the customer, they get self-serve, the choice of what to take, and they also feel trusted by the owner.
Studies have shown that high-trust companies outperform low-trust companies by 200%. Every time trust increases in an organization, output, morale, retention and productivity goes up too, and negative traits such as stress and costs go down. Think about one simple positive business trait such as innovation. Would you feel comfortable sharing creative ideas in a team where you don’t trust your peers or you feel they don’t trust you? Of course not! A team that trusts one another, shares and innovates to a much higher standard.
It’s worth considering what a lack of trust might be costing you every single day.
So how do we build trust?
If trust really is this important, how can you make it? David found 8 traits common in most trusted leaders and businesses and even in trusted governments. Here’s a great graphic from the Ten Minute Leader which explains a bit more about each of the pillars and how to use them to create effective teams.
Let’s look at just four, and dive into how you can engender these in your own MSP business or organization.
People trust what’s clear, and they mistrust what’s ambiguous. Salespeople who are clear about the benefits of their product are more likely to be bought from.
People tend to think they are clear but are they really? In your own MSP business, think about whether you explain exactly what you’ll be responsible for, and where the customer will need to outsource elsewhere. For example, if you manage security through antivirus software and back-ups, but you don’t offer dedicated compliance-related tools – be clear about that from day one.
There are different types of trust, and that’s a good thing. Your clients should trust you to provision new servers, but they might not trust you to look after their kids, and that’s fine! Make sure that you’re showing that you’re fresh, relevant and capable at your role, which might involve staying up to date with credentials or digital badging, taking courses, or providing social proof through references from other clients.
Showing your clients and your colleagues that you’re trustworthy is about proving that you’ll be there in times of adversity. If you’re committed to your clients, and you’ll keep working to improve their services and processes and help them grow your business, you’ll find that they are far more likely to remain committed to you in return. Commitment is also a great way to rebuild trust if you break it. Verbalize a commitment, never make one lightly, and do everything you can do to stick to your word.
Consistency tells your clients and team members what to trust, whether that’s for the good or for the bad. If you’re always late to your QBRs, then your client will begin to trust that you’re always late. Meanwhile, if you’re always on time – your clients will trust that you’re a punctual person, and cut you some slack if you miss the meeting start one time. David made us laugh when he commented that this is why people trust Mcdonalds’. Even if you don’t like McDonald’s, you’ll have the same exact burger in Tokyo, Frankfurt, and Cleveland! Consistency is trusted! Being inconsistent will innately make your business feel untrustworthy.
In every interaction with our customers, we increase or decrease our level of trust
We love the idea that you can use these 8 pillars to solve leadership and client problems to help you grow your business. David believes that where we find trust, and where we choose to place our trust can help businesses to enjoy a great advantage.
What do you think? Is trust essential as an MSP? What ideas do you put into place to help build trust either within an organization or between you and your clients? Tell us what you’ve Taken Away in the comments, or email us firstname.lastname@example.org!