Books We Trust: Selling to Big Companies

The first thing that struck me about Jill Konrath’s best-selling book Selling to Big Companies was the voice.  It is plain-spoken, direct, commonsensical, no-BS.  And it is completely guileless.

When I first met Jill, it was immediately apparent that these are personal traits.  She is a Minnesotan—a Midwesterner of the old school. My grandparents and parents were from Nebraska; I knew exactly who Jill the person was, and why the book was an extension of her.

But Jill knew something I didn’t know. I came to selling from consulting. Jill came to selling from selling.  For me it was an extrapolation from a related field; for her it was a version update, a call to the profession.  To my surprise and delight, we ended up in the same place.

Her book is not just about moving from small-time selling to Big Company selling.  It is also about moving from the “that was then” to the “this is now” world of the corporate buyer. She is an astute psychological observer, along with Scott Adams of Dilbert fame.  She knows what it means to work in a downsized world with out-of-date corporate-purchased Blackberries, defined contribution plans, and 10PM phone calls with other time zones–and what that all does to the buyer.

Jill Konrath Interview

Charles H. Green: Jill, thanks so much for doing this.  I wanted to honor your work, starting with Selling to Big Companies, and moving on to your more recent book, SNAP Selling.  But let’s start back in time.  When and how did you first get into selling?

Jill Konrath: Let me start out by saying that I never, ever wanted to be a salesperson. I viewed it as a despicable profession filled with slimy, schmoozing, manipulative hucksters.

But some friends and I had come up with a business concept that we thought was pretty good. SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Execs) liked it too. At the end of our meeting, our advisor said, “Now which one of you is going to be in sales?”

I answered, “If it’s such a good idea, shouldn’t it sell itself?” He laughed at me and told us someone had to learn to sell.

So, I got into sales by default. My friends refused, so if I wanted to start the company I had to learn how to do it myself.

CHG: So where did you get your start? And, was it what you thought it was?

JK: I was fortunate to get hired by Xerox, a company that literally had the best training program in the country. And, I discovered it was entirely different from what I thought. My image of a salesperson was based on the worst of the profession. At Xerox, I learned how to be customer focused in everything I did. I found out that I could be successful only if my customers were able to achieve their goals. From there, I sold technology systems for three years before starting my own company.

CHG: So, you didn’t go back to SCORE?

JK: Funny thing, but after working at Xerox, I totally abandoned my initial entrepreneurial dreams. Being in sales was just too interesting and challenging.

CHG: So, then you progressed through your sales career, you came to have a different view of sales; you realized that Big Company people were no different, really, than any others. What was the core realization you came to as you came to write SBC?

JK: Charlie, I actually wrote Selling to Big Companies for my friends and colleagues who worked for small businesses or owned their own firms. They were such talented people, but were really struggling financially. Many of them felt they had to prove their worth by working with small companies before they tackled larger firms.

So I wrote my book to show them how to get corporate clients who had budget allotted for their services and who appreciated their value. And yes, I knew that corporate decision makers were normal human beings because I worked for a big company and I sold to them as well.

CHG: What’s wrong with sales today? Is there a “single biggest problem” that you can point to? One “biggest opportunity” that salespeople can work on?

JK: Good question. I think there are a couple things wrong. First, people are still operating under the old sales paradigm that says make lots of calls and have a good pitch. Personally, I don’t think that’s ever effective in the corporate market, but it’s what most people consider “selling.”

Second, and very related to #1, is that our prospects/clients don’t care about the product/service. Nada. Not even one little bit. All they care about is their ability to achieve their objectives. I am continually appalled at the sheer lack of knowledge most sellers have about their customer’s business, market trends, key issues, strategic initiatives, and key success factors.

Without this business acumen and customer insight, sellers are functionally unable to plan an effective account entry campaign, help a company change from the status quo or win business from competitors.

CHG: Let’s not forget to talk about your latest book, SNAP Selling; how do you see it in the sequence of your evolving thinking? What’s that book about in the big context?

JK: SNAP Selling is all about selling to crazy-busy people – which I happen to think is most everyone today. They’re overwhelmed with work, have fewer resources at their disposal and impossible deadlines. Plus, they find it much easier to go online to research their issues, challenges and possible solutions. In short, they have no time for salespeople who waste their valuable time.

It’s having a huge impact on sellers. It’s nearly impossible to set up meetings. Getting companies to move off the status quo can take forever. And, differentiating is sometimes impossible.

In short, we’ve entered a whole new world of selling which requires us to use fresh strategies – or risk irrelevance. In SNAP Selling, I cover the new rules of selling and share multiple examples of how to implement these strategies for dealing with frazzled decision makers.

CHG: I should also mention to readers about your most excellent blog, also called Selling to Big Companies.  I’m a frequent, almost-daily, reader.

JK: Thanks for the plug!

CHG: What’s your advice to someone going into sales these days?  What should they focus on?

JK: Understanding their customer first and foremost – and then aligning everything they do with their customer’s business objectives and priorities.

CHG: How about someone who’s further along in their career; what’s the One Big Thing they can learn to do better?

JK: Becoming an invaluable resource. They should develop deep expertise in their niche, market segment, process – or some arena that is of high value to their target market. Also, they should continually be sharing ideas and insights to help their clients be more successful, as well as connecting them to other valuable resources.

Our crazy-busy prospects are desperately looking for people they can count on – and when they find them, they are extremely loyal.

CHG: I don’t know about you, but I always get people asking me for “tips and tricks.” I don’t know what they think they’re going to get; there are a few, but “tips and tricks” are not where it’s at, I don’t think—it’s mindsets.  But what about you?  How do you answer those people?  Have you got some?

JK: I have this special fairy dust that I sell to all my clients. It magically transforms them from self-serving salespeople into invaluable resources. Just kidding. Honestly, I tell people to do a “mind meld.” It’s imperative for them to look at their own behaviors from their client’s perspective.

For example, if they’re going to leave a voicemail message, they should call themselves first and see out it sounds. Most people are appalled at how bad they are and would delete their own messages.

This same practice can be applied to presentations (boring!), proposals (unending!), meeting plans (one-sided). It’s amazing what they can learn when the see their own behavior from another perspective.

After you learn to do this, it totally changes all your client interactions.

CHG: Can you step back and envision sales 15 years from now?  That would be, umm, the year 2026.  Whew.  What will be the state of Sales in the future?

JK: Yikes.  Well, first I see a major reduction in the number of salespeople. The ones who are eliminated will be the old style sellers who think it’s all about schmoozing and pitching. Since they personally add no value to the sales process, their prospects would prefer to buy online.

For those who remain in sales? I think the future is brighter than bright! In fact, these smart, business-savvy individuals will be well respected and in great demand. Plus, they’ll be highly paid because of the tremendous value they bring their organization and their clients.

CHG: Jill Konrath, thank you so very much for taking the time to talk with us, this has been a delight.

JK: My pleasure. It’s been fun talking with you.


Books We Trust: Selling to Big Companies is the second installment in our Books We Trust series.  The first was You’re Working Too Hard to Make the Sale, by Bill Brooks and Tom Travisano.

Trust, Innovation and Minimalist Management: Ross Smith Redux

Ross Smith of Microsoft is a pioneer in applying trust to real-world management issues—particularly creativity, innovation and employee engagement.  I first interviewed him in the inaugural issue of Trust Quotes, Trust and Innovation.

Ross first ran Windows Security team for Microsoft and wrote The Practical Guide to Defect Prevention. He recognized the critical need for innovation, and discovered trust as an enabler for getting there—and in turn, the value of games in creating trust.

Since then he’s moved on to Microsoft’s Office Communicator product line, and is working his team magic again.  I saw him in Newark Airport a few months ago, off on one of several global speaking engagements. He’s been cited by Gary Hamel, and just a few days ago agreed to do an ongoing blog for the good folks at SHRM.

To start things off, SHRM interviewed Ross, and included not only great dialogue but a bunch of cool links. Here are the opening lines:

SHRM: What keeps you up at night?

Smith: Nothing. If your work keeps you awake at night, you might have the wrong job.

Enjoy SHRM’s  interview with Ross Smith on innovation, games and minimalist management.

How I Quit Smoking

I smoked cigarettes until I was in my mid-forties. I smoked pretty heavily–more than two packs a day–and had done so pretty much forever (despite running the Montreal Marathon back in 1982, when I quit for several days).

It wasn’t that I didn’t know how stupid smoking was. I could feel it myself. But as David Maister wrote in Strategy and the Fat Smoker, the problem is not knowledge; the problem is implementation.

Here’s what happened to me. I can’t say it’ll help you; but it does say something about how people change.

Why I Smoked

I don’t know why I smoked. But I know one reason I kept smoking. Because everyone kept telling me to quit.

I’m not proud of that, but it’s the truth. Quitting itself isn’t all that hard (as Mark Twain said, I’d done it many times). But my life has been in many ways a struggle to get over being stubborn. I just Don’t. Like. Being. Told. What. To. Do.

I had recently remarried. My wife was a reformed smoker herself, and never made an issue of it with me, for which I was grateful.

One day the subject came up; I think I raised it. Here’s what she said:

Dear, I want you to know that smoking is 100% your decision. I don’t want you to die early–but much, much more than that, I want you to be you. I love you for who you are, and only you decide who that is.

You can smoke in the kitchen; you can smoke in the living room; you can smoke in the bedroom—it’s all OK. I will never nag you or hound you about smoking.

I will re-route plane trips to accommodate your need to get out for a smoke. I will put ashtrays wherever you want. Smoking will never be an issue for you and me.

Because I love you, and you are who you choose to be.

Two weeks later, I quit for good.

Why I Quit Smoking

In retrospect, it’s clear why I quit. It’s because I’m an idiot, a fool who somehow needed someone else’s permission to smoke–just to have at least one person on my side to counter-balance all those who told me not to. And when I finally got that one person, I could declare victory and retreat.

Had I been a better person, I would have figured out on my own, years earlier, that I didn’t need anyone’s permission—not to smoke, not to quit, not to do, or not do, anything. As my wife put it, “you’re a free humanoid on the planet.”

But the me who smoked couldn’t have had that thought. The me who smoked could only quit the way I did.

The Bigger Gift I Got from Quitting Smoking

The gift my wife gave me was extraordinary. Quitting smoking was the least of it. All that did was protect my health. What she gave me was much bigger.

She taught me, first of all, what it means to accept another human being. (To be fair, she gave me an object example; I’m still working on learning it).

She also taught me what was within my power, and what wasn’t. I had always under-estimated the power I had–and over-estimated the power other people had over me. No matter what happens, I have the power to control my reactions to other people. And no matter what happens, if I’m upset by something, there’s something wrong with me.

Those are huge lessons. How funny that the “price” I paid to learn them was to give up something that was bad for me in the first place.

Trust Tips: A Deeper Look

The countdown continues until “The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust,” (from Wiley Books) hits shelves everywhere. As we eagerly await publication, my co-author, Andrea Howe, and I are posting a series of daily Trust Tips.

These brief yet insightful tips can be found on Twitter by using the hashtag #TrustTip. Or,if you prefer, you can go straight to the source by finding us on Twitter at @AndreaPHowe and @CharlesHGreen.

Not keen to leave those of you out who haven’t jumped onto the Twitter bandwagon, we keep a running tally of all the Trust Tips right here on our site.

We do recommend you take a second, or third, look at Twitter though. We’ve been having some great discussions over there about the tips and more. We’d love for you to chime in.

The Tips

The tips are published every workday as a means to give you a quick method to heighten your trustworthiness and build stronger work relationships.

If you need to catch up, see our recaps of Tips #144-135; #134-115; and #114-105.

Trust Tips #104-90

#104: “Trust but verify.” = blowing smoke. If you have to verify, it’s not trust.

#103: Acknowledge uncomfortable situations: try “I’m probably the only one wondering this, but…” You won’t be.

#102: Name and Claim the Elephant in the Room. Candor drives trust; it’s controlled risk taking.

#101: Don’t gossip or promote relationship “triangles.”

#100: Think it through: how will your client react to what you’re thinking of saying?

#99: Don’t think “I can’t trust yet, it’s too risky;” risk is what creates trust. Take the first risk.

#98: Possibly the best sales/client/relationship question is: Tell me more–please.

#97: Be the same person to all people at all times. That’s a good definition of integrity.

#96: Practice asking difficult questions or making difficult statements before you deliver them

#95: By being willing to have a Point of View, you help everyone else crystallize theirs

#94: Hold others accountable; letting others off the hook lets them live down to your expectations

#93: Write your next proposal with your client; sitting next to them; on the same side of the table

#92: Talk more with your eyes, ears & body, and less with your mouth

#91: Be empathetic: the benefit-to-cost ratio of empathy is nearly infinite.

#90: Next time something great happens, pin the credit on someone.

A Couple of My Favorites:

#93: The normal routine for writing proposals just reinforces the separation between ourselves and our clients (or customers, or partners). We say, “good meeting, I’ll get back to you with a . PDF document by Friday, and ship you hard copy as well.”

Instead, try saying, “Let’s book the conference room again this Friday, and write this proposal together, sitting on the same side of the table. We’ll each bring all our questions and data and we’ll make sure we come up between us with the best possible approached. Of course it’s still a proposal, I know we may not win–but it will be the best possible proposal the two of us can possibly produce.”
#90: We’re pretty good at pinning the blame on others. And we’re often quick to take credit. Taking responsibility is a good antidote to blaming, and ‘pinning the credit’ is the cure for hogging it all to ourselves.

Next time something good happens and you start maneuvering to look like it was your doing, stop–and pin the credit on someone else. They’ll appreciate it, and it’s a good way to practice lowering your self-orientation.

How the Mortgage Crisis Made Us Immoral

If you own a house and I’m your neighbor, I’ll respect your property rights. It’s just the right thing to do. (Though if there’s a fire at my place, I might break in to borrow your fire extinguisher).

If you live in a nice neighborhood, you have little to fear from the more modest parts of town. (Though if your neighborhood doubles its average income, and the modest part of town doubles its unemployment rate, and you start putting gates around your community—well, you might be a little more fearful).

Which leads us to this US headline from Fannie Mae’s Quarter 1 National Housing Survey:

“Nearly twice as many Underwater Borrowers (27%) think it is okay to walk away from a mortgage if they face financial distress than in January 2010.”

Is this a moral issue? What does it mean that the frequency of the opinion has changed? That it has doubled in a year?

Economics and Morality

Most people still think it’s immoral to walk away from a debt. But those who think otherwise—that defaulting on a payment to a nameless morass of long-since-tranched, securitized asset-owners is as amoral as it gets—have grown by 100% in just over a year.

That’s pretty high growth for the amoral team.

It’s one thing to say that morality should have nothing to do with economics. And indeed, the sense of honor and justice and trust that underpins most moral behavior is socially useful. If we all acted solely in our immediate self-interest in every situation, the world would be a greedy, dangerous, Hobbesian mess.

At the same time, economic disparity writ large spells social unrest. In Greece, they riot in the streets. In Rio de Janeiro, they have a street crime problem.

In the US, we are witnessing a small version of things. People who used to feel a moral obligation to repay a debt are saying to themselves, “Heck, the big guys and companies do this all the time—if things aren’t working out, they just default, take the insurance payment, write it off, whatever. There’s nothing moral or immoral about it—it’s just dumb to do otherwise.”

Economics Can Wear Down Morality

You may think that honoring your debt is a moral issue. You may think it’s not. What’s clear, though, is that the ratio of those two views is being driven by economic changes.

The credit ratings services will take note of this, calling it a likely increase in the default rate, and a cause for downgrading securities.

But the people on the street—in both the nice and the modest neighborhoods—will experience it as a moral casualty of the economy.

It’s just one more area of human relations that will no longer be governed by the rules of “rightness,” but rather by the least common denominator, Darwinian terms of the marketplace.

And that’s not a change to be happy about.

The June Trust Matters Review

Trust Equation

This month at the Trust Review we’re going to intersperse the more recent articles and posts with some goodies, but oldies, including one article from the 90s because, really, trust, trust never changes.

Yves Smith tries to answer the question, how long can trust created by public institutions last? Well, here’s a hint, you can tell where the Hapsburg Empire once ruled by levels of trust in public institutions? Whoa.

Doug Bartholomew of Industry Week discusses the issue of trust between manufacturing suppliers and their customers, including hard data from 90s on how top suppliers operate. I wonder if it’s still true that trust pays for suppliers.

Knowledge@Wharton, back in 2005, had Peter Cappelli lead a discussion on a question which is eternal, at least since the creation of Human Resources. Does HR exist to be a bureaucratic pain in the neck, or is it actually useful, and, dare I ask, worth trusting to find top talent (what used to be known as good workers?)

The Trust Diva blog wonders if a contract can actually save you from the bad intentions of someone you’re doing business with. Or, to put it another way, should you do business with someone you don’t trust, trusting the contract to keep them on the straight and narrow?

Daniel H. Pink writes about a Columbian bank’s efforts to use incentives to convince its loan officers to not leave their work till the end of the month. Did it work? And more broadly, do incentives work?

Brad VanAuken makes a point about brands, a brand is nothing without trust. Or, to put it another way, like McDonalds food, or hate it, you know what you’re getting when you order a Big Mac. A brand is a promise. At the same blog, Mark Ritson meditates on Sri Lankan beer and trust.

The McLaren blog has a 12 part series on trust building behavior, and they’re up to number 11. A good reminder of the basic points. Start with number 1 – straight talking.

Anthony Iannarino writes about delegation—the art of giving tasks to their rightful owners, which means trusting them.

Dave Brock writes about the commoditization of referrals, the invitations to join “referral networks” with people you don’t even know and receive prizes in exchange for referrals.

Discover magazine on how the perception of choice makes us lose our compassion for people. Even if those people were completely the victim of circumstances.

Denny Coates: trust and they will trust back, give and they will give back. Do you believe this is true?


The Trust Matters Review highlights the best articles and posts on trust our research has turned up in the last month.

If you’d like to share a great article about trust, let us know, in the comments here.

For more links to outstanding articles on trust, see:

 

Managing For Trust

Supposed you asked me the score of the latest Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees game, and I told you “12.”

You: Twelve? What kind of score is that?

Me: Twelve points were scored in the game; you asked the score, that’s it.

You: Well, who scored how many?

Me: New York scored 7 and Boston scored 5.

You: Well thanks; you could have led with that!

Silly. But that’s exactly what happens with trust metrics. People say, “Trust in business is down.” Cue the dialogue.

You: Trust is down? What kind of metric is that?

Me: Well, some people trust less, some businesses are less trustworthy; the net is down.

You: Wait: how much of the “down” is made up of people trusting less; and how much of the “down” is made up of business being less trustworthy?

Me: 73% of it is business being less trustworthy; 27% of it is people being less inclined to trust.

You: Well thanks; you could have led with that!

Are you trying to improve trust in your organization? You might want to start with clarifying the problem you’re trying to fix.

Are you trying to create more trustworthy employees and managers, so that customers and other stakeholders will trust you? Then focus on the personal attributes of trustworthy people, and on the kinds of principles and values that are observed in trustworthy companies.

Or are you trying to get your people more willing to trust others? Getting better at trusting means better risk management, delegation, personal growth, people development and innovation, to name a few benefits.

What is it that you are trying to manage?

Never mind, “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” Heck, you can’t tell the score without knowing what game you’re playing!

Man Bites Dog: A Relentless Onslaught of (Online) Civility

Rodney Dangerfield said, “I went to the fights; a hockey game broke out.”

The crusty old editor says to the cub reporter, “Don’t give me dog bites man; if you’ve got man bites dog, now that’s a story!”

Something like that is happening over at Forbes Magazine, where TCU Economist John T. Harvey has guest-written a rather unusual post, titled How to Destroy the US Economy? Balance the Budget. Here are the opening two sentences:

I can think of nothing more fundamentally foolish, more unequivocally self-destructive to our economic well being today than attempting to balance the US federal budget. It is totally unnecessary and every dollar we cut from government spending is a dollar taken from someone’s income.

I say “unusual” only because the title and the opening lines lead one to believe Harvey is a raging Keynesian liberal, which one hardly expects to see in Forbes. What will the readers think!

The Emergence of the Flamers

Sure enough, initial reader comments did not disappoint. The flamers jumped on Prof. Harvey with track shoes, e.g.:

The trouble with you young people is that you do not understand the use of money. Money is a foreign element to you. You don’t even know what it looks like! All you understand is plastic, and that means borrowing.

This is absolutely asinine. You cannot seriously believe that it is more expensive for the government to provide unemployment benefits etc than it is to EMPLOY someone and then tax the salary that the government is giving them. If that’s how the system worked, the USSR would have long ago become the lone superpower.

Professor Harvey started to respond. He quickly (within an hour) answered every comment—calmly, rationally, taking every person seriously. He greeted each person warmly (“Howdy, psumba, thanks for reading!”).

He didn’t coddle (“you seem to have misunderstood my point”), but he never talked down to anyone either—no matter how tortured the logic, no matter how rude the tone.

And then a remarkable thing began to happen.

Some commenters started to get honest. The level of vitriol declined. Issues began to get discussed. Look at these excerpts from commenters:

“John I hope you come back and help me to understand [more].”

“John, I have found this discussion enlightening and fascinating. I am old school and too old to stalk you and besides I live in Arkansas..[but] see you can teach an ole dog new tricks.”

“That’s an epiphany for me. This is a very informative post. It makes perfect sense, though. I just wish more economists would be as explicit as you…This is so interesting!”

The Power of Civility

So many people, certainly including politicians, pander to the negative in all of us. It’s a cheap trick, and it works depressingly well, particularly because it’s a quick hit.

I find it gratifying when you see proof that the long game, the game of sincerity and respect and civility, when allowed to play out, is extremely powerful. Harvey’s post is less than 48 hours old at the time I’m writing this one and already civility has calmed a few beasts, added to the net economic knowledge of many, and I think lowered the political temperature of debate by a tiny but measurable fraction as well.

Harvey’s column, by the way, is called Pragmatic Economics. He is proud that his views are hard to label. And you might want to subscribe to his RSS feed, and get you some practical wisdom too.

I think Dangerfield would’ve gotten a kick out of it.

Warren Buffett and Managing Through Trust

On March 30, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced David Sokol’s resignation. Buffett’s reputation quickly took a bit of a hit from the likes of Joe Nocera.

Nocera suggests it wasn’t the first time Buffett had tap-danced his way out of a tight spot; he cites the Salomon Brothers’ bond scandal in the 1990s, and the General Re dustup in the mid-2000s.

What’s Nocera’s point? He later elaborated that Berkshire Hathaway is run by “rules that are extraordinarily lax by the standards of good corporate governance…Standards and practices have to change.”

Do Trust Violations Invalidate Trust?

Nocera’s examples amount to once per decade over the last 30 years. Buffett’s reputation is probably pretty safe, because a great truism about trust isn’t true at all: you know, that bit about how trust is hard to gain, but can be lost in an instant? Not true: trust takes roughly as long to dissipate as it took to create (see Toyota, J&J, Madoff).

But Nocera’s reaction is the norm. Ethical problems? Time to double up on compliance, standards and practices, procedures.

Nocera is speaking for business when he sees violations of trust as prima facie evidence of the failure of trust as a strategy.

In this regard, he could not be more wrong.

Charlie Munger and Wisdom of Managing through Trust

Charlie Munger is Buffett’s much-less-in-the-press partner. Buffett credits Munger with at least half the wisdom of the two, and quotes him often.

Munger lives up to his reputation in a trenchant article[1] by Darden Professors Brian Moriarty and Edward Freeman:

In response to a question about whether Berkshire needs more compliance controls Munger said:

…the greatest institutions in the world…select very trustworthy people and then trust them a lot.” He added, “I think your best compliance cultures are the ones which have this attitude of trust, and some of the worst with the biggest compliance departments, like Wall Street, have the most scandals.”

To Munger’s comment: Amen.

The violation of trust by someone who was trusted does not justify giving up on a strategy of trusting. In fact, if you never have a violation, one has to wonder how real your trusting is.

If all of Wall Street ran themselves like Berkshire Hathaway, and had one scandal per decade, we’d all be vastly better off.

Instead, we have an institutionalized belief system that the solution to ethical problems is a set of adversarial business processes. Dealing with ethical issues solely via compliance departments is the best way to take the trust and ethics out of management.

And if the bar is set at once per decade by famous journalists thinking they are acting in service to greater trust in business–well, heaven help us.


[1] The article was in the Washington Post, though the Post will make you jump through hoops to get it. I’ve linked to the hoops.

A #TrustTip Highlight Reel

We’re counting down the days until “The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust,” a new book written by myself and Andrea Howe (to be published by Wiley Books, hitting the shelves on October 31) by lighting up the twittersphere with a series of daily Trust Tips.

You can find these snippets of insight on Twitter by using the hashtag (or pound sign) followed by TrustTip, like this: #TrustTip. Or, if you prefer, you can go straight to the source by finding us on Twitter at @AndreaPHowe and @CharlesHGreen.

We’ve had some good discussions on Twitter and would love for you to put your two cents in.

For those of you still averse to Twitter, we keep a running tab of all the Trust Tips right here on our site.

The Tips

The Tips are concise. They’re published every work day, helping to increase your trustworthiness and build better work relationships.

If you need to catch up, see our recaps of Tips #144-135 and #134-115. Below are #114-105.

Trust Tips Redux: #114–105

#114: Do you know your main customer’s kids’ names? Should you?

#113: Be relentlessly discreet; honor confidentiality

#112: An expectation is a premeditated resentment; stay curious and bemused

#111: Sign up for a Google alert on yourself and your firm: See yourself the way others see you

#110: Send a hand-written note of acknowledgment/thanks

#109: In conversation with your client, occasionally wait half a second longer before talking

#108: Offer to take notes in a meeting

#107: Tell your client something you appreciate about him/her

#106: The great thing about always telling the truth is you have only one version to remember

#105: The easiest, safest and most durable way to make others trust you is to actually be trustworthy–worthy of their trust

A Couple of My Favorites:

#112: An expectation is a premeditated resentment; stay curious and bemused

We all have ideas about what’s going to happen in the future; we couldn’t function without them. But when those ideas turn into expectations to which we become attached–when we start rooting for an outcome, twisting the evidence to support or even encourage a particular result–we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Just down the street from disappointment lives resentment; and resentment poisons everything.
Be light on your feet. If the home team loses, hey, it happens. If the sale didn’t come through, don’t let it ruin your sleep. If you didn’t get what you wanted, be grateful for what you got. Learn for the future, but don’t let the learning ruin today.

#109: In conversation with your client, occasionally wait half a second longer before talking

Sometimes we can be too eager to answer a question or solve a problem. Next time, don’t you be the one to fill that silent hole in space. If what you say sounds too rehearsed, even if it isn’t, trust begins to erode. Pausing, even for just a moment, can make a noticeable difference. Indicate that you’d like the other person to speak next. Not only will you seem more thoughtful, but you will be more so. And you’ll hear stuff.

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