“Trust in a negotiation is like lubricant in a car engine: things go a lot more smoothly.”

Dr. Leigh Thompson, Professor, Northwestern UniversityTrust

Building Trust is key to a successful collaborative negotiation.  If you’ve taken our Certified Negotiation Expert ® (CNE®) course, you are well aware of this fact.   However, trust is equally as important when it comes to attracting high quality clients.  

Most of us have had success in building trusting relationships throughout our lifetime. We have good friends and family members that have known us for years.  They know that we are good people and that we are deserving of their trust.

To be successful in business, we will need to learn to build trust much faster.

Being able to build trust faster is a deliberate process.  Let’s look first at what causes people to trust us.

Roy Y.J. Chua from MIT Sloan places trust into two categories: cognitive trust (from the head) and affective trust (from the heart).  Cognitive trust comes from our accomplishments, our skills and our reliability.  In other words, are we good at what we do?  Affective trust comes from our emotional closeness, empathy and rapport. In other words, do we care?

Stephen M.R. Covey, son of Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has a similar message in his book, The Speed of Trust.  He lays out four “Cores of Credibility” in building trust:  integrity, intent, capabilities and results.  The first two deal with the heart and the second two deal with the head.

So, in order to gain trust, we need to be good at what we do and we need to care about the people we do it for.

Once we are sure that we have these two pieces of the puzzle in place, we need to figure out how to get that across effectively and in a timely manner.  Telling people how great we are doesn’t seem to help build trust!

Here are seven steps that will help build trust quickly in a real estate relationship.

  1. Do what you say you will do.  If you don’t, you don’t deserve their business.
  2. Tell the truth, even when it’s hard.  These are not just the easy truths, these are also the truths that the person may not want to hear.
  3. Have empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand or feel another person’s feelings.  See our past blog issue
  4. Listen carefully and respond to their questions and agenda, not your own.
  5. Understand their expectations and, at a minimum, meet those expectations.
  6. Be consistent – with your service, with your attitude and with your expertise.
  7. Keep confidences.  If you talk about others, they will assume you will talk about them.
  8. Model integrity – walk your talk.
  9. Be open to seeing things in new ways – their ways.
  10. No BS!  In our family, we call it “bunk soup”, and people have amazingly accurate radars for BS.  Even small amounts of BS erode trust instantly.