When they say ‘trust me’ – don’t

I remember the day I discovered it for the first time. The day that I realized that there are situations and people where you just don’t know who you can trust.

I was a student, it was summertime and I was traveling across London to meet up with some friends. The London Underground was that usual mix of busy, crowded and fascinating – a vast spectrum of humanity in one hub. I was fascinated and fiercely concentrating to make sure I was hopping on and off the right trains to get to my rather complicated destination.

It was only when I arrived at the final station that I noticed that my wallet was gone. I was horrified and I tried to think back on the last few hours to figure out what happened, if I’d dropped it or left it somewhere, or if it really was, as I suspected, stolen. 

pickpocketThen I realized… as soon as I recalled the moment, I knew that was it. I had been standing on a very full train. A woman nearby tapped me on the shoulder and showed me where there was a seat available. I thought she was kind, and saw that I was exhausted and a little stressed. I had to brush by her to get to the seat. After I sat down I looked to her and smiled but she looked away and I noticed she moved towards the door. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I knew, she’d told me to move by her so she could pick pocket me, I was sure.

Truth is, I can’t know absolutely for sure, but it really didn’t matter.

My big realization was that you never know who you can trust. And that day, the world felt like a more dangerous place to me.

Since then I’ve thought a lot about trust.

And I think that it’s getting harder and harder to know what and who to trust. Whether it’s in politics or personal security, the banks, advisors, the many institutions that we have used and needed in our lives. And, especially in the context of business – of buying and selling.

I guess in the old days it was more simple. You could see, touch and and feel the product or service and the person who sold it. And that would give you a lot of information and you would get a ‘feel’ as to whether you can trust them.

Nowadays with everything on line. It sometimes feels like you have to take a massive leap of faith every time you read or consume information – never mind when you actually want to buy something!

How do you know that you’ll actually get what you pay for, that you’ll get all the value they claim, that it will live up to the ‘promise’.

Well, over the years I’ve noticed that the one thing we all respond to, the one thing that we trust is STORY. Yes, when someone tells a story, we get sucked in, fascinated and it feels real. Think about the times you’ve heard ‘the story’ about something you’re going to buy. You see if the story is authentic, it’s one of the few things we actually trust.

So, do it, think now about any investment you made over the last 6 months – whether it was a product you bought, a service you signed up for or a program you decided to join – I’m willing to bet that there was a powerful story being told that you believed.

And it’s critically important if we want to create a successful business that’s sustainable, and  allows us to do what we love and what we’re good at. And what do I mean by successful? A business that has a dependable flow of paying clients – it doesn’t matter how great you are at what you do, you have to be able to tell a powerful story that will attract clients in consistently.

What are the biggest blocks that prevent you from telling a story?

What do you need to know in order to tell your powerful story?
Or are you doing it already?

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