Featured Article


The concept that we do business with folks we know, like and trust is continually reinforced as the “holy trinity” of business development, and success in general.

Just this week, someone selflessly came to my aid on a project. I posted a question on a LinkedIn group, looking for some ideas for how to approach a problem. Before I knew it, there was an email in my Inbox with a complete set of materials that I was free to use as I choose. I was not only grateful but I’m also eager to do business with the sender again because of the type of person I know he is.

This got me thinking of the many simple actions we can choose from each day that will be a gift to another, and which also help us step into rarified air of being known, liked and trusted. For example, we can:

  1. Listen Ernest Hemingway said that people rarely listen. That was over 50 years ago, and I would say a lack of listening has reached epidemic proportions in 2013. Give the gift of your attention to what someone else is saying. By listening, you not only get to hear what the person is actually saying (imagine that!) but because listening is so rare, that gift will build trust and credibility that makes you highly attractive.
  2. Send a handwritten thank you note This not only a nice thing to do but recent research documented in Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan by Francesca Gino says, “Receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people, too.” Along these same lines and even easier to do, is an email that simply says, “I was thinking about you and hope you are well.”
  3. Share your resources Lately, when I connect with someone, I’ve gotten into the habit of saying, “My brain, book case and hard drive are your brain, book case and hard drive.” Few people have taken me up on it, but those that did had the pick of anything I have. The gratitude I’ve felt in return has been overwhelming, and just as Gino promised, encouraged me toward other helpful behaviors.
  4. Connect two people who should know one another Get to know the people in your network what they’re doing, what they want to be doing, what they’re good at, what they’re learning about. Helping people meet those outside their own network is another valuable resource to share. One warning here, make sure the connection is mutually beneficial, and that you’re not putting anyone into an awkward position.

The task of building up your “know, like and trust” quotient is like planting seeds. Some will grow and some won’t. You control the seeding, but not the harvest. Be patient and a bumper crop of quality relationships and new business will sprout.

If you want more practical tips like these, download a free e-copy of my book, The Anatomy of a Principled Leader and also receive monthly emails with more practical leadership advice.

Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

What People Are Saying

There are no comments yet, why not be the first to leave a comment?

Join The Conversation