As most people know I don’t really like business help books.
To me they are mostly like trying to read a People magazine to catch up on the world news.
Lots of entertainment.
Some great gossip and you either feel like you want to be one of them or glad you will never be like them.
I needed help one time.
A client said to me <with a straight face>:
“We need to tell people we are trusted. Research shows we are trusted. Let’s tell everyone. Let’s do a trust campaign.”
Me. <insert sound of crickets>
Them: “what do you think?”
“gosh. I hope they cannot see the WTF thought bubble above my head.”
“what do you say if we explore what we could tell people about us, without ever saying trust, that we make them think we are trustworthy? Kind of let them get there on their own.”
Them: “wouldn’t it be simpler if we just told them?”
Me: “well, they may be more likely to believe it if we didn’t actually say it to them.”
You get the point.
In the end I was able to get up from the table knowing I had to work backwards and develop a strategy that would create a consumer response of “hey, they seem trustworthy’ <or the actual words would have been “I would trust them to advise me”>.
I had a whole bunch of strategy writing tricks up my sleeve but ultimately I had to hit the business bookshelf for some source I could throw on the table and say “hey, look at this, they say if we say something like ‘x’ and continuously do ‘y’ over a period of time people will truly play back ‘trust’ in association with you guys.”
There is a book I found <which of course I cannot remember the name of and all my business books are in a box in storage but I do have page 202 copied to be able to write this>.
It’s actually not a bad book for a business book. It did give me something to buy for all the clients so they could become experts on building trust and we didn’t have to build a “hey, trust me” campaign.
In the end though I actually found something that I have copied and given to many young employees <as well as parceled out the advice to senior people particularly in a new business situation where inevitably even the smartest people seem to lose all sense of what they really should do>.
On page 202 I came across this little checklist of “top Things to Remind Yourself.” I use it all the time (as I said in the previous paragraph).
- I don’t have to prove myself every ten seconds.
- I have a right to be here in his room; I can add value without worrying about it.
- Shut up and repeat again and again: “really, and then what happened?”
- Also again and again: “gee, what’s behind that.”
- Is my pulse racing? Why? Why not say so, and say why, out loud?
- Have I earned the right yet to give an answer?
- Am I trying in any way to won an argument? Turn it back into a conversation.
- Emulate Columbo: “I may be a little slow here. Maybe it’s just me, but …. “
- Take responsibility for the emotional outcome.
- Don’t blame anybody for anything anytime.
- More value is added through problem definition than through problem answer.
- Just because the client asks a question doesn’t mean that’s the right question to answer.
- Don’t be insecure. Say to yourself: “hey, if I don’t know the answer, and I’m a pro, then this is a really neat question, let’s get into it.”
- Is my stomach telling me something’s wrong? My stomach’s right. Let’s talk about it.
Unfortunately this great find has screwed me because now I still have to pick up business help books to see if any have a little great tasting truffle like this hidden amongst the mud.