I’d like you to pause for a moment and think about the people you rely on in your personal life; whether it’s a home renovation contractor, someone you consult at the local garden centre for advice or the doctor you consult for the aches and ailments that flare up periodically. Think specifically about the relationship you have with these people and whether it’s as positive as you’d like. If you aren’t satisfied with how you’re treated, you’ll likely look elsewhere until you find someone you trust.
Now presumably, that renovation contractor and medical doctor have spent a considerable amount of time learning their trade. They invested time and money, gaining experience with every job and with every interaction built a reputation. Many professionals don’t even advertise aggressively; relying more and more as they grow their business on word-of-mouth referrals. The good ones always seem in demand. Go to a garden centre on a semi-regular basis and you’ll soon spot the difference between the seasoned expert with reliable advice and the summer student. Got a problem? You go to the professional to draw on their experience and you extend trust in their knowledge by doing so.
So trust is a good thing that attracts us to certain people. The more we trust in advice, experience and service someone has to offer, the more we are likely to continue to deal with that person.
However, it’s just as true that there are a lot of qualified service providers who, while we admit they the experience and education to do the work they do, we nonetheless look elsewhere for help when we need it. We might feel that someone isn’t taking our needs seriously enough; they seem too busy or despite all their experience, we just don’t feel that they understand our situation. What’s really happening is that we don’t feel they are invested in our problem. Be it the body language, the apparent lack of interest, the big sigh or look beyond our shoulder to some far off space, we just don’t feel this person before us is really invested in our immediate needs.
Invested trust manifests itself when we feel a professional is genuinely focused on our problem at hand; that they understand us sufficiently so trusting them to advise us and/or do work for us is something we do with confidence. Think about a retail experience if you’d like. You know when the salesperson is invested in your needs and when they aren’t.
Now the same is true when others interact with us. No matter the line of work you are in, if your job brings you into contact with people, those same people are sizing us up all the time, evaluating whether we’re invested in their needs and whether they can trust us to do the work we do.
Unfortunately for some, it’s not as easy as switching the professional you work with as it is say, seeking advice from someone else in a garden centre. In some communities finding a new doctor is almost impossible, or having being assigned a Caseworker when applying for government help, you’re stuck with who you get. It’s not as easy to just shop around and give your business to someone else.
If I’m correct in my beliefs, I’m going to assume you’d like to give your personal business to people who are invested in your needs and who come with the experience and expertise which makes trusting in the quality of work they’ll do easier. The bigger the project or the greater your needs, the more selective you are when it comes to choosing your provider.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise then that following this same logic, you’d want someone you could trust and someone who is invested in genuinely helping you when you’re trying to find career direction, employment, housing or childcare. All of these are pretty big things that mean a lot to the people searching for help. The question of who to trust with our problem or challenge is huge.
If you want to succeed as a provider of service, invest yourself in the people you offer services for; understand their needs from their perspective and lay the foundation of trust. Keep the promises you make and deliver what you said you would do. Whether you offer your services for free or you charge makes no difference; work with integrity as if this single person was the only person you have as a client at the moment.
Does your level of investment in the people you provide services for lead them to extend their trust in you to do as they expect? Ask yourself what you might do to increase that level of invested trust. You see, you could have all the necessary credentials on paper that make you sound like the right person for the job – maybe even more than others who do what you do. What you might find frustrating though is wonder why you aren’t as busy as you’d like. Why is it that people are taking their business elsewhere?
While there could be other reasons, one thing you can’t afford is to lose is the trust of the people who receive your services. Invest yourself and when they feel you really understand and care about their needs, their trust will follow.