Trust tests or how I learned to love the forgetful!

By: William Buist on : 10th January 2016: Business articles: 1 Comment

Last week we wrote about trust. How can we test and evaluate trust before we have the track record?

Should you, for example, demand up-front payment until you know your new client is going to pay, or let them have payment terms, that could significantly affect you if they let you down? It is quite a jump and needs a big difference in the level of mutual trust to decide which to do.

Instead, find an opportunity to do something for that other party, which allows them to react and shifts their observed behaviour in a way that positively informs your knowledge of their approach, and close the gap.

In the case of a big deal and a long term payment plan split out a small piece, perhaps a specification workshop, or a commissioning implementation that you can charge for separately, and quickly, and then finalise the major deal.

Here’s an example – some years ago I joined a new networking organisation and set of for a meeting, I was early, and went to a local coffee shop and was joined by some of the group. Some I knew, most I did not. One of them, someone I did not know, had forgotten their wallet, so I lent them some money. They repaid the money the next day by bank transfer. There was a risk they would not, but for the price of a bit of change, I’d learn whether I could trust a new contact. That is much cheaper than agreeing on a deal that ends up going sour. It is a test created by the opportunity of being able to help someone out of a small problem and giving me the opportunity to see how they react and behave.

It is why I’ve learned to love the forgetful!

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