Just how important is trust?

October 25th, 2013

trustWe recently decided to have our driveway at home redone and I invited three local companies to quote. The contractors arrived on time and all appeared keen to get the job. After receiving their quotes, I invited each contractor back to explain how they would do the work.

I made my choice and awarded the contract to one of the three companies. A few days later, a friend asked me how and why I had chosen that particular contractor. I realised then that although I had initially thought the price would be the deciding factor, my choice was actually based on trust.

Listening is essential for establishing trust
Contractor A was the quickest to respond and had the cheapest quote but he didn’t get the contract. He was extremely confident that his company was the best for the job and he repeatedly told me so. So focused was he on delivering his pitch, that he didn’t listen to anything I said. By the end of his second visit, I still wasn’t confident that he had any idea of what we wanted.

Trust requires honesty
Contractor B in contrast, did listen to what I had to say. He listened carefully and checked for understanding. We had excellent rapport. His price was higher but still within budget and for a while I was really keen to have him do the work. Unfortunately, it was during his second visit, that he lost my trust.

As we chatted, I asked him to explain in more detail exactly how he would carry out the work. With a little more questioning, it became apparent to me that he had not included everything in his quote. It seemed that there were several essential ‘extras’ that would make a substantial difference to the final spend.

Trust takes time to develop
So contractor C got the job, in spite of coming in with the highest quote originally. He listened carefully to my requirements and made several good suggestions about things I hadn’t considered. He brought a hand drawn sketch of his proposed plan to the second meeting, which was really helpful. He explained exactly how the work would be done and patiently answered my queries. He seemed to care about what we wanted and he delivered on his promises.

I liked what I saw and heard and felt confident that he would build a driveway that would last and we would love. Although price was a factor, it was actually the respectful and trustworthy behaviour of Contractor C that clinched the deal.

To what extent are your decisions based on trust?

Jenny Johnson, CDI London Business Coach