Steps to Networking – Step 10: Trust

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 1st, 2010

STEP 10: Trust

Trust is an essential ingredient for successful networks. For networks to succeed, mutual trust is a must! Top networkers will not recommend or extend themselves for those who do not consistently deliver the best; anything less will tarnish their reputations and limit their potential returns. Each member of your network must be completely confident that they can always rely upon you for:

Excellent service. The products or services you provide must be excellent; good or adequate will not be enough. Whatever you provide must shine. It must be memorable and distinguish you from the crowd. Network contacts will be drawn to you because of the high quality of your work. However, if the level of what you deliver falls short, they’ll quickly drop you and turn to the next pretty smile. People take pride in dealing with the best. They want the best doctor, piano teacher or house painter and are usually willing to pay for them. Providing excellence distinguishes you and anything less will quickly send you back with the rest of the pack, where it’s easy to get lost.

Honesty. Network contacts must know that you will always deliver what you promise. They don’t want excuses, they want, and deserve, results. Network partners must be certain that you will give them honest feedback, especially when it may hurt or be awkward. They must unequivocally believe that that you will honor your relationships and not disclose or misuse their confidential information or try to undermine their efforts. In addition, they must be sure that you will not misrepresent or abuse your relationship. If, when you’re trying to perform, disaster strikes and everything starts falling apart, inform those who are depending on you so that they can minimize the damage.

High standards. A problem that is rampant in networking is that network members recommend too many people who are not top notch. Often, they lack the standards to know excellence or their recommendation may be to return a favor or make you feel that they are helping you. Other networks spread themselves too thin and try to provide everything to everyone. Recommend only the best people for each particular job. When you’re aware of problems with otherwise excellent performers, inform network members regarding their flaws. For example, “John does fabulous work, but he’s slow and his projects are invariably late.” Being fully informed helps network members make their own decisions, gets you off the hook and enhances your trust quotient.

Good fits. Networking is matchmaking and certain pairings will never create a harmonious fit. We all have unique qualities, values, methods, personalities, styles and objectives, which may not be compatible with those with whom we are matched. The best way to make consistently good matches is to know the people involved, their assets and liabilities, and try to anticipate problems that might arise. Find out the parties’ likes, dislikes and basic requirements and when in doubt, ask. Put it straight to them, “What do you want?” And, continue questioning them until you feel you understand precisely what they want.

Qualities That Create Lack of Trust

Not keeping your word
Not showing up
Not giving credit
Routinely being late
Not calling when you promised
Boasting and bragging
Always putting yourself first
Taking more than your share
Bashing competitors
Not admitting your mistakes
Blaming others.

Always deliver what you promise because it enhances people’s trust in you. People buy from and want to be associated with people they trust and people who are trusted by people they trust. They don’t like to buy from those who they think are trying to sell them, which is why so many hate the experience of buying a new car. Networks are built on trust and cannot last without mutual trust.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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