Trust and Your Reputation

Your reputation is what people are saying about you behind your back. Shouldn’t you have some control over what is being said?

Reputation and trust are two words that are often intermingled. There is a big difference though. Your reputation is a backward view of what has happened, while trust is forward-thinking. One affects the other. Trust is based on positive expectations of what you or your company can deliver in the future.

If I decide to do business with you, I’m going to check your reputation. What are people saying about you? What did you deliver? How quickly did you resolve problems? Now with a quick search, I can find out a lot about a person’s reputation in business by looking at reviews that were posted. Everything from eBay to hotel chains to pizza deliveries are judged in real-time and this will affect buying decisions.

Imagine you are working with a client who has paid a good sum of money to have you train their staff. So far your sales have all been from referrals from satisfied customers. Your reputation is what people trust. Now the new client wants to cut corners. Instead of four days of training, they want you to do it in two. The manager who agreed to participate in the training so they could champion and ensure that others followed the program is a no-show. How will this affect your reputation and future business? Trust and reputation go hand in hand, and you have to be able to see the big picture rather than the immediate paycheck.

The work you do is not only about the income you make. It is about getting results. In order to keep your reputation and be known as trustworthy, you have to be willing to have difficult conversations with clients, and occasionally be willing to fire them.

originally published in Lea Brovedani‘s newsletter, March 16, 2016