Trust (Part 2) — An Excerpt from Unleashing Your Superpower
1. Be consistent
It takes multiple interactions for your audience to begin to get a feel for who you are. These could be F2F meetings, phone calls or social media communication. And you’ll need precise consistency for people to begin to fully understand you, know your story and begin to trust you. Often, even the slightest deviation can set you back.
Since I’ve brought up social media, let’s pause there a moment. Every interaction – whether posting, sharing or commenting – gives your audience clues to your brand presence. And unless your social accounts are locked down tight (and even then, your audience can often still find you), every action matters. I would argue that every single post – no exceptions – has to support the brand you are creating. Any deviation can derail your quest to earn the trust of others.
2. Deliver as promised
We’ve probably all had someone promise us a deliverable – whether a creative asset, meeting time, contract, phone call, email, etc. – and not, in fact, deliver. Failing to deliver as promised can harm your brand and the fragile trust you’re building with your audience.
We’re often so eager to please that we commit to things that, realistically, we know we can’t deliver. In the moment, that promise feels comforting. It’s nice to think that you’re going to fulfill someone’s wants or needs. But while your audience may be happy in the moment that you said yes to their request – and that makes you feel good as well – nobody’s going to feel good when expectations aren’t met. Overpromising will not only likely disappoint, it will set back your quest for trust.
It’s better then to under-promise and over-deliver. If your audience is asking for something and you know you can’t deliver, manage expectations. Explain the rationale for why you can’t deliver. Even better, frame your response in a way that shows why your decision is best for them.
I recently had a speakers’ bureau reach out to me because they wanted to represent me. I responded that I was interested, and asked the next steps. Well, the decision and onboarding process was extremely laborious. And I knew that current demands on my time would not allow me to complete that process in the given timeframe.
Given that I do have interest in working with this bureau, I explained to them my current commitments. I told them that I wanted to complete all the forms and provide what they needed in a thorough manner. Further, I told them that I wanted to give them quality assets, and I couldn’t do that at the present moment.
I then told them when I could reasonably expect to get everything to them, and they accepted my timeline.
Now contrast that approach to overpromising. Had I done that, and not provided the requested information on time, we would have begun what could be a mutually financially beneficial arrangement on the wrong foot. And if this bureau can’t trust me with the initial process, certainly they won’t be able to trust me when it matters to their clients.
Under-promise. Over-deliver. Every time. It’s a winning formula.