How to build trust, influence, and credibility

Learn to create trust relationships from an Emmy Award-winning author and TED speaker.

Trust is the common denominator of accomplishment and relationship in virtually every company and industry. It is also the foundation of influence, making this topic of crucial importance to anyone who hopes to sell anything.

Also read:Gartner: Enterprise selling requires trust and great storytelling

Whether selling to an external buyer or trying to get a bigger budget from management, trust and influence are primary factors in getting what you want.

In a networked economy where information flows freely, buyers have multiple ways to determine the trustworthiness of a seller. This is true for enterprise vendors selling technology, brands pitching consumers, and senior executives hoping to influence corporate strategy.

Also read:Building community for your brand? Don't sell -- empower!

Although empathy and shared interest are the foundations of trust, developing a relationship also requires credibility and relevance. Communications expert, Kare Anderson, uses the term "mutuality" to describe relationships based on shared interests and mutual benefit.

In this positive and practical view of the world, selling means listening and gaining buy-in flows from solving problems. It's a modern perspective that works equally well on social media as in the corporate boardroom.

Kare is an author, an Emmy Award winner, and her TED talk on "Be an opportunity maker" has already received more than 1.5 million views. She was also a guest on CXOTalk.

Given its obvious importance, I invited Kare to explain how to build trust. In the very short video below, she tells us why trust matters and how to cultivate it. This topic is supremely important to everyone in business, so please watch the video and learn from someone who knows.

Here is a video transcript (edited for length and clarity):

You need trust and you need interest. Get them interested, make them trust you, prove that you have their interest at heart. Everything flows from that, more than charisma or a title you have. When I see you care about my interests, and you prove it in action, then a lot more can happen.

The best way to cultivate trust is to indicate that you've heard them; to make a suggestion that's relevant to them. There's practically nothing worse than unhelpful help. You build trust when you step into their shoes and say, "In light of that situation, may I make some suggestions?" Sometimes they'll say, "No, I know what I'm doing. Back off," or say what you'd like to hear. [You can respond,] "Well, here's some technologies, or individuals, or an approach that might be helpful." And then they're engaged with you, and there's a buy-in.

You need buy-in from others, that they've got a stake in the common situation before you can get them to do anything else. And mutuality matters. I don't believe that giving is the best thing, frankly. Giving is just the start. It's when two people realize that together they share a sweet-spot. Not quid pro quo of, "I'll give if you do this," but an ebb and flow over time of mutuality, where you're really there for them and each other.