Accelerating Trust: Woo Woo before you Do Do (Part I)

When I lead our Being a Trusted Advisor and Trust-Based Selling programs, I ask participants early on what’s the “one big thing” they want to get out of their participation. Invariably, at least a quarter of people in the room will say something along the lines of “tools for accelerating trust-building.” And those who don’t say it usually vigorously nod their heads in agreement.

How to build trust quickly boils down to a simple three-step approach. Today I’ll tackle the first two steps—arguably the most important and least practiced.

1.     Mind your mindset. What are the stories you’re carrying in your head—about trust-building, about the people you’re meeting with, about yourself? Take stock. Be vigilant. Bust the myths. If you assume trust will take time, you’ll miss opportunities that are right in front of you (See Top Trust Myths: 1 of 2: Trust Takes Time) . If you assume it’s going to be difficult to bond quickly with your prospective client, well, you’re probably right. Being trustworthy is as much about attitude as it is about skill.

2.     Set your intentions carefully. Be committed, not attached, to a specific outcome. Let go. If you’re meeting a prospective client for the first time, you can be certain of the strengths of your offering while at the same time realizing that it may not be the best solution for her/him right now. If you’re taking over an account for your colleague, you can be confident in your abilities while also being open to the possibility that you’re not the right replacement. Attachment equates to high Self-Orientation, and I can’t think of a better way to lower or destroy trust quickly; it’s the obvious opposite of rapid trust creation. On the other hand, giving people the psychic freedom to choose increases trust. Be someone around whom they experience freedom, not pressure.

Here’s why Steps 1 and 2 usually get short-shrifted: they seem a little woo woo. You may be tempted to skip them in favor of something more concrete and action-oriented. It’s a common trap; don’t fall into it.

These steps are woo woo in the sense that they are more about being than doing. And it’s precisely the kind of self-work required to alter who you’re being that makes the difference between a good consultant and an extraordinary consultant, a so-so salesperson and a longstanding member of the President’s Club, and an average advisor and a Trusted Advisor.  (The woo-woo thing has some pretty solid science behind it too–thought drives actions which then result in outcomes. You can be scientific and believe this too).

Sure, the doing part matters—we’ll look at practical ways to accelerate trust in Part II of this blog—it’s just that the choices we make and impact we have in the realm of doing are directly tied to our mindsets and intentions. Lead with the woo woo and you’ll go beyond “good,” “so-so,” and “average” in a very short time frame.

4 replies
  1. Barbara Garabedian
    Barbara Garabedian says:

    Andrea, you’ve highlighted two excellent points that many "learners" don’t understand get when it comes to changing or altering behavior.

    I’m stating the obvious here but there are volumnes of scientific results within the "learning" world, that correlates the level of willingness to take risks with the level of behavior change.

    You’ve ID’d two key "learner" action steps (or risk taking): opening one’s mind [to "hear" & accept different thinking] and giving oneself permission to "let go" of usual perspectives & routines. Without that learner action, all the intellectual capital, process steps and formulas in the world, are nothing more than an intellectual exercise.

  2. peter vajda
    peter vajda says:

    To Barbara’s point, "…opening one’s mind to "hear" & accept different thinking and giving oneself permission to "let go" of usual perspectives & routines…" here are a couple of questions for self-reflection if one chooses to consider a change process:

    Why do I choose to use the pejorative when I label exercises or practices that border on self-exploration of beliefs, feelings, emotions, and the like? What does using the pejorative get me? (hint – some flavor of: safty, security)

    What’s right about not wanting to go "inside" and explore myself? (Obviously something has to be "right (albeit it’s more often an "excuse" rather than a "reason) because I’m choosing to (not) do it. (hint – some flavor of: safety, security)

    Self-awareness is not the essence of change and transformation; it’s but a first step. As Barbara suggests, action is the key to change and transformation and the key question is, "What’s right about knowing (the cognitive, intellectual stuff) but not doing/acting anything to effect change?" (hint – some flavor of: safety, security)

    It all boils down to feeling safe and secure with what I know (i.e.," the devil I know"– even if what I know causes me pain and suffering on some level – emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, psychological) with who I am vs. the scary thought of "uh, oh, who will I be if I change (the "devil I don’t")?

    When most folks consider giving up their attachments (to ways of thinking, being and doing) attachments which, in essence, provide them with their identity, the risk feels just too great. True and real change is a daunting (unconscious, emotional) experience for most folks and that’s one reason most folks prefer to stay the same and the way they rationalize staying the same, defending against change, is by vilifying, negating and otherwise labeling the change process with the pejorative. The emotional, psychological bungee jump (even if it’s just a "foot") is not in most folks’ realm of possibility.

    For many, it’s when the pain and suffering become too great that one seriously considers change.

    Otherwise, well, "Hey, let’s talk about it" and leave it at that. And, there’s nothing bad or wrong about this if one is willing to take ownserhip of their resistance and not blame anyone or anything else (the pejorative). It’s when one is in denial and doesn’t know it that it becomes quite self-destructive and  self-limiting for that individual and those with whom s/he interacts.

    One can easily change "woo woo" to "hmmm, that’s curious/interesting…" if one chooses to. It’s why one chooses not to that’s worthy of deeper exploration. 


  3. Barbara Garabedian
    Barbara Garabedian says:

    Peter, you’re correct. Change is scary and behavior change can be down right paralyzing for many. I can’t begin to count the number of times I would hear participants in workshops and/or interventions begin along the lines Andrea mentions about wanting tools to…(fill in the blank). I always looked forward to the point [within the session] when I could observe the participant’s awareness & surprise, as they recognized that many of those tools they were so eager to obtain…were primarily self-directed. To me, those were the valuable ah-ha (learning) moments.

  4. Andrea Howe
    Andrea Howe says:

    Thanks to you both, Barbara and Peter, for your usual insights and for taking the conversation up a notch, as you always do. Reading your comments, I’m especially appreciative of — and admittedly a bit daunted by — what it takes for transformational learning to occur. The self-directed stuff is, indeed, the tough stuff. Or at least it seems to feel that way. Although there’s some imbedded irony in that since the self-directed stuff is the only stuff we really have any control over.

    I also love the phrase, "emotional, psychological bungee jump" — thanks for that, Peter!



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