Book excerpt: Why trust is important

AbseilingI spent two weeks in Tasmania writing the first few chapters of my book. It was a productive, enlightening time, punctuated by many self-fives because it’s cranking along, it’s good, and I’ve had several victories, including interviews with people who are world-renown authorities on what I’m writing about. So today, because of my sheer chuffedness, I thought I would share with you a small excerpt from my new book, The Trust Strategist: Moving forward into the new business paradigm for longevity, impact, and profit.

I’d love to hear what you think of it so far! It’s a little longer than my usual blogs, but because it’s important information for anyone, I trust you’ll indulge me just a tad. Also, remember that this is just a first draft, OK? 

Now, without further ado…


Trust is the future of business. There is no escaping it. Push-pull marketers are still loud and prevalent, but it’s important to realise that their noise and movement are nothing but death throes.

In 2003, Professor Glenn L. Urban published his paper for MIT, “The Trust Imperative”. Internet-driven forces were converging, he said, that meant trust had to drive a new paradigm of marketing. In a coup greater than Nostradamus could have ever hoped for, each one of Urban’s predictions has come true, and continues to gain strength. What were these forces he was talking about?

The first one is the most important: increasing access to information. All information, yes, but also much greater access to independent information about products and services. Your products and services.

If you are a consumer, you will be familiar with the next one: access to more alternatives. It is a competitive, worldwide marketplace. Trust is the greatest differentiator.

Next, is simplified transactions. Right down to one click (thank you, Amazon)! There is less and less room for businesses that rely on complex transactions, particularly when they could be seen as a way to obfuscate the customer.

The next links to the first: increasing communications between customers. “Customers vote with their feet” I used to tell my students once upon a time, but nowadays they vote with their fingers, and en masse. Disgruntled customers find each other online. (It’s OK – so do the happy ones.)

The next two are connected. First, there’s increasing scepticism. We are sophisticated and more than a little world-weary, and pushy ads don’t convince us any more. Second is the decreasing power of the media. We are just not as gullible as we used to be. Ads don’t have the same reach, and as more and more media outlets are owned by fewer and fewer concerns, we look at them with suspicion.

Finally is what few people in business much like to think about: the overcapacity  and saturation of markets. We are producing more than we need, and quality products and services at that. Yours is not the only excellent product or service in the market, and customers can afford to be choosy. Again, trust is the biggest differentiator.

All of these add up to one thing: unprecedented, ever-increasing, customer empowerment.

So you can see how contemptuous or even cavalier attitudes towards clients and customers is not just unethical, but also downright foolish. Underestimating the customer/client base, when it is more powerful than it’s ever been, is of dire consequences to any business. If not today, then most certainly tomorrow. Trust should be foremost in the mind of anyone who is in it for the long haul.