If you are going to be successful in business, you have to be trustworthy. You need to develop trust with your prospects, trust with your downline and trust with your upline.
Your business is much like the dating process that leads to marriage. You meet someone who shows you an opportunity, but in this case the proposition is not one of marriage; it is a business. You like this person and like what the opportunity has to offer.
The next step is for you to meet the parents or in this case your sponsor’s upline. In time, you may meet some other people who have already joined the business, the equivalent of your siblings and extended family.
During this “courtship,” you develop an impression of your potential sponsor and any upline you meet. You see how they look, what they say, how they act, how they treat other people. You get a pretty good idea of their values and whether or not those values align with yours.
You also learn about the company, its products and services and its compensation plan. You hear testimonials from people who are using the products and from people who are building a business. They “testify” to the integrity of the company, the effectiveness of the products and the validity of the opportunity.
You are evaluating everything you see and hear. Thoughts and questions flow through your mind:
This business looks good but can it really be true?
Will other people buy this?
OK, so maybe they can do it but I’m not sure I can.
Can I trust these people with my future?
Can I trust them with my friends and family?
These are all things that need to be worked out to your satisfaction before you feel comfortable “joining the family,” so to speak, and introducing the opportunity to others.
Here are five ways you can build trust with your team and promote a culture of accountability within your team:
Trust Is Built Through Familiarity
We don’t give away our heart on a whim and we don’t get married after one date. A considerable getting-to-know-you period must come first. Your business is the same way. Your prospect is not really choosing a company or a product; they are choosing a business partner.
They are choosing you.
A great way for them to get to know you (and for you to get to know them) is to have a social gathering. Have a cookout or game night at your house and invite your prospects and new downline to bring their families. Have fun, socialize and talk about anything EXCEPT the business.
This is a time to become familiar with each other as individuals and families, not as business associates. Do you have any common interests, such as hobbies or civic concerns? What are you each passionate about? What significant experiences in your life have shaped your values Some of us grew up poor. Some of us had only one parent, or no parents. Some of us lost a loved one to a disease or accident, or have had a severe medical issue of our own.
When we meet people who have had experiences similar to ours—good or bad—we tend to form a bond with them.
If your downline are in another part of the country (or in another country) you can do something similar on the phone or the Internet. However, if you need to build the relationship long-distance, you may want to limit the participants to you, one downline networker and one upline support.
Trust Is Built Through Reliability & Accountability
When you say you are going to do something, do you do it? When you say you will be somewhere at a certain time, are you there…at that time? Being reliable is a great way to build trust with your downline, your upline and everyone around you.
For instance, imagine that your new downline has set an appointment to introduce you by phone to a prospect. You agree to be available for the call, but at the designated time she cannot reach you.
What does that do to her trust in you? She talked you up to her prospect, who was excited to meet you—and you weren’t there. You made her look foolish and may have even caused her to lose business. What do you suppose will happen the next time she needs her upline? She’ll probably call someone else, or try to go it alone.
Granted, there will be times when emergencies come up or you are so busy that you forget about your commitment. We’re all human; it happens. When you drop the ball, be sure to make proper amends and hold yourself accountable. Your downline may politely say, “Oh, that’s okay; it’s not a big deal.” But, don’t let it go at that. “No, it is a big deal,” you should say. “I didn’t follow through and that’s a problem. How can I make it up to you?”
There will be times, too, when you simply don’t feel like doing one more three-way call or one more appointment, or sharing your story one more time. You are doing all of those things to build your own business and now you have several downline, all who need you to do a three-way call, go on an appointment with them or share your story.
It’s a Saturday night and you’re scheduled to talk with your downline and her prospect and all you want to do is curl up on the sofa and turn on the television. You are sick and tired of sharing your story!
This is where you need to be careful that your fatigue doesn’t affect your attitude. You need to be excited, engaging and helpful. Your downline is counting on you; they trust you to be on top of your game.
For all you know, this is the prospect at the top of their chicken list and they have finally summoned the courage to call her. Remember, too, that you represent hope to that prospect on the other end of the phone. They don’t know you’ve shared your story a million times. Tell it with the same enthusiasm, passion and compassion that you did the first time you told it. Never forget that you were once where they are now.
When you commit to doing something, do it. Do it in a timely fashion and do it genuinely.
Trust Is Built Through Transparency
Your new downline will bring a lot of excitement and hope to their business, but also a fair amount of uncertainty, doubt and fear. They will naturally look up to you, particularly if you have been in the business for a while.
They may assume that the business is easy for you, that you never had any of the doubts or fears that they do. (We all look good from a distance, don’t we?) Tell them that everyone in this business experiences those things, including you.
Share a story about the first time you gave a public presentation to a room full of people and you were so nervous you were certain you were going to pass out. Maybe you said something inadvertently that was really funny or had a marketing idea that went horribly wrong.
Some of your best teaching will come through sharing the mistakes you have made. “We impress people with our success,” says leadership expert John Maxwell. “We impact them with our failures.”
Understand that we are not suggesting you portray yourself as a bumbling fool or a shrinking violet who just happened to build a business despite herself. After all, you need to have their respect if you are going to lead them. What we are saying is that it’s helpful to be transparent, to be a bit vulnerable.
When we do this, people identify with us more—Wow, she really is human—and will feel secure coming to us with their hopes and their fears. That gives us the opportunity to act as the leader we are.
Trust Is Built Through Giving Respect
When we treat everyone the same, regardless of their education, ability, wealth, experience and social status, we build trust. The person who starts his or her business today deserves the same respect as the multimillionaires who have thousands of people in their group.
This includes the way we refer to the people in our organization. When introducing them, never say, “I’d like you to meet my new downline.” They are not yours. We are all independent, right? None of us works for anyone.
Instead, say something like, “I’d like you to meet Stella. She just started her business!” Imagine the bond you will build with Stella when you acknowledge her in that manner instead of making it sound like she is a subordinate.
Remember that respect is a given; it is disrespect that is earned.