How to build trust in business relationships

Trust is elusive. And once broken – impossible to regain. 

Trust is the social glue that holds relationships together and especially so in business. Whether that’s with clients, partners, co-workers or employees, trust is essentially an expectation of protection, rather than attack.

And in business, partners, co-workers and employees who trust each other spend less time and energy trying to protect themselves from exploitation and more time building fruitful and productive relationships. In times of uncertainty building a trusting, productive relationship is something we should all be striving for.

What are the benefits of trust in business relationships? 

Here are five of our favourites.

Show that you trust others

Be generous and forgive others’ mistakes. Give people the benefit of the doubt rather than jump to negative conclusions. 

Strive for mutually beneficial relationships

Whether that’s customers, co-workers or employees. People want to see what’s in it for them. Show them and in return they’ll return the favour.

Deal with issues directly

Be open with information, resolve conflicts quickly and you will gain confidence from the other party.

Be honest

Tell the truth. Nothing squashes trust more quickly than being caught lying. But be realistic with your promises, don’t over commit if you really can’t deliver on something. Letting people down erodes confidence and trust in your ability to deliver on anything.

Respect others’ time

Be courteous and respectful of other people’s time. We are all busy people with different commitments. The true test of your character and whether you can be trusted is whether you care about others time. Being on time to meetings, even a couple of minutes early, returning phone calls or replying to emails promptly sends a strong message about your commitment to others and whether it’s worth that person trusting you at all.

Building positive business relationships

If you like more help with building positive business relationships our Building Positive Business Relationships programme might be of interest. This programme provides the practical skills and techniques that empower participants to develop trust with ease and grow progressive, productive business relationships.