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The Trust Metric

Karin Nauth Shelley

August 22nd, 2012

During a recently meeting with one of Belatrix’s Biotech clients, I asked what drove his decision to partner with our firm.  He shared several things, including what he called the “trust metric.”  His comment triggered my memory of a post I had written on personal blog.  While the post was written to address a different audience, it echoes what this client identified as critical, and what we as a firm strive to do.  It’s also just timeless food for thought for anyone offering products and services.  Here’s that post…

The Trusted Advisor, by Maister, Green and Galford, has had a lasting effect on how I approach professional and consultative relationships.  Perhaps too, having academic roots in psychology, the book’s approach just aligns naturally with my own personal philosophy.  One of the things I recall most is the book’s formula for relationships.  No, I definitely don’t advocate a formulaic approach to relationships, professional or otherwise.  However, being cognizant of the factors at play in relationships is crucial. I also believe it’s imperative that B2C and B2B services marketers consider the formula’s implications and how they relate to targeting products and services to prospects and clients.

The Trusted Advisor formula is as follows:

TQ = C+I+R / S

  • T=Trust. The level of trust that the relationship inspires.  This influences whether the relationship will be seen as valuable for both parties.  It also underscores whether the relationship will grow.
  • C=Credibility. Is the product/service itself valuable?  Does the firm have the capability (or credentials) to deliver the product/service and do so in the way required?  Is the firm’s marketing aligned with what is actually delivered?  Are the people surrounding the product/service credible?  Are values in sync?
  • I=Intimacy. What kind of rapport exists between the two parties?  Is there an understanding of the client’s business, and the challenges surrounding the business?  Are you aware of how your product or service will impact your client’s end users?  Is there a human centric approach to the engagement or is it just business?
  • R=Reliability. This is about the actions that underscore the relationship.  Do the firm’s employees deliver what they say they will?  Do they deliver when they say they will or miss deadlines?  Can you trust them to deliver bad news if the situation calls for it?
  • S=Self Orientation or Self Interest. What’s the primary focus of the person?  Is there a balanced level of empathy for the client?  Or, is this simply about doing a deal?

The key message for me is the importance of investing in and cultivating high value customer experiences that wrap around your product/service.

How do you define the “trust metric?”



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