Trust is the most valuable asset we accumulate.
More trust, more success. Not necessarily more money, but definitely more success.
Success in our personal and business lives is predicated on our ability to earn the trust of those we are connected with.
Why is trust so valuable to our business?
Trust is the lubricant of the Internet.
Trust is the bridge connecting attention to belief.
An audience that believes is an audience that buys.
We don’t build trust; Trust is a gift given by those who take valuable time out of their own lives and spend it with you.
Every day, our work must be created to earn the trust of our audience.
The following personality characteristics have helped me earn the trust of my audience for more than a decade.
Use them or don’t. That’s up to you.
Those who intentionally develop these characteristics and use them for good will reap the benefits of the devoted audience your work deserves.
There might not be a more played-out buzzword in the content space than, Authenticity.
Find your voice. Be real. Do you. What does it all mean?
Authenticity is simple.
The “you” offline must match the “you” online.
Your business offline must match your business online.
Don’t talk about it if you can’t be about it.
The moment your audience sniffs inauthenticity, they’re gone. For good…
This means you can’t market yourself as a “Bestselling Author” if, in reality, you hit #1 for a few hours in some obscure category on Amazon.
Don’t give advice you don’t actually practice (without properly noting such).
If you’re starting, present yourself as a beginner.
If you’ve never given a keynote presentation… then you’re NOT a keynote speaker.
The offline you MUST match the online you, warts and all…
That is authenticity.
READ NEXT: Let Your Weakness Be a Weakness
Transparency goes hand-in-hand with authenticity.
Where authenticity is the “What” and “Where,” transparency is the “Why” and “How.”
Transparency is the journey. The real journey. The journey as those who follow you will experience it.
“Trust is on the rise, because transparency is on the rise.”~ @GaryVee
You are not perfect.
Don’t pretend to be.
Even if you have things figured out now, you haven’t always been perfect.
Our mistakes are what make us human.
Your audience is human.
Humans relate to humans.
Be transparent in your work, and your audience is more likely to trust you’re one of them.
How often are you punching in for work?
Do you publish when it’s convenient for you or so it’s convenient for your audience?
I know you’re busy. Your audience knows you’re busy.
We’re all busy.
What your audience wants to know is that if they commit their time and attention to your work, you’re going to be back tomorrow.
Your audience is emotionally invested in your work.
That means you are responsible for feeding them the content they need to continue growing.
When you don’t… when your audience realizes they can’t trust you to finish the journey… well… they won’t be your audience for long.
People want to know that you will keep going when the going gets tough. Nothing destroys trust more than giving your time and attention to someone who pulls the ripcord when things get difficult.
This is different than consistency.
No matter how good you are at what you do, at some point, you are going to struggle.
You won’t be able to hide that struggle from your audience.
If you give up on yourself, how can your audience trust you won’t give up on them?
Your audience gives you their attention.
Attention means valuable time taken away from something else.
Show appreciation for that time.
Appreciation can come in many forms. Here are a few easy ways to show appreciation:
It’s amazing how far a simple “Thank you” goes.
How does appreciation build trust?
It shows you care. We trust people who care.
Hustle is another incredibly played-out marketing buzzword.
However, there is a reason for this.
You must work harder than your competition.
Hard work wins.
Hard work wins trust.
Hard work wins trust because most people are not willing to work hard.
We respect hard work.
More importantly, we trust those who consistently work harder than we are willing to work.
READ NEXT: Broken is not Beaten
It’s easy to become distracted on social networks built for squirrel-based attention spans.
It’s even easier to fall into the trap of chasing the next hot social media tool or platform.
Google has killed the generalist.
Your audience seeks the expert, leader, and authority on what you do.
More than ever, we must focus on the one thing we do best and pound that topic into the ground. If you haven’t answered every question that could ever be asked on the topic with which you help people, then you are NOT ready to move on to something new.
How does focus build trust?
Because of the availability of expertise the Internet provides.
With a simple Google Search, your audience can be somewhere else, taking advice from someone else.
By focusing on one thing, you become the authority on that thing.
Everyone wants to know what the authority knows.
How good is your work?
I’m not talking about technical perfection.
Does the content you create blow minds? Is it unskippable?
In a silent, auto-play world, is your audience stopping to listen to what you have to say?
Do you consider your work excellent?
Here’s the deal with excellence and building trust.
Everything you create doesn’t have to be the greatest thing created in the history world.
To earn trust, your audience must believe you’re striving for excellence.
Your audience with tolerate misses if they believe your goal is excellence.
However, consistently show a lack of effort and/or growth, and trust will be lost.
Our work is always about the audience.
It can never be about us.
We create in service of those who find value in our work.
An occasional humblebrag is not a big deal. But at a certain point, sharing every little success creates a sense of self-orientation your audience will find distracting.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t self-promote. We have to self-promote to stand out.
But there is a subtle art to sharing success while focusing on the audience you wish to serve.
Marcus Sheridan does an incredible job of this by highlighting the amazing success of his clients. Marcus doesn’t talk about his role in their success, but instead, he makes his clients the hero.
In this way, Marcus builds trust with his clients and audience members.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Empathy is giving a shit.
You know that feeling of responsibility you have for the success of your audience; that’s empathy. That’s caring that what you teach your audience actually works.
It’s more than that; empathy is going out of your way to help someone when there is nothing in it for you. Empathy is being selfless, caring, and kind for no reason other than the right thing to do.
Empathy can’t be faked.
“Show empathy” can’t be a bullet point in your launch strategy.
You have to feel it. Then act on it.
Sincerity is last for a reason. All of the previous ten personality characters are for naught if we’re not sincere. If we’re not genuine.
If you take this list and see tactics, trust from your audience will never last.
This list is about themes and belief structures with which we build the framework for our lives. They are not meant to be bastardized in some persuasion-driven autoresponder combination.
The cool thing about humans is that we can sniff out a fake. Maybe not always right at first. But in time, we always figure it out.
It’s a long fall for those who fake sincerity to persuade.
If you’re not an empathetic person, don’t pretend to be. Remember, authenticity was the first personality characteristic on this list.
We don’t need to embody all 11 characteristics to build trust. We may only have a couple.
The trick is to focus on and highlight your strengths, the characteristics that your audience resonates with.
Never misrepresent who you are.
Who you are is why they care.
“The bad news is that you are not entitled to attention or trust. The good news is that you can earn it.”
I found this quote on Seth Godin’s blog in a post titled “You have to credibility (yet),” and figured there wasn’t much more to say.
Now get after it…
This is the way.
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