This is how you build trust online

I was recently approached by an email subscriber raising funds for his charity. I don’t know the person well enough, other than through my email list. He seemed to be sincere, but he’s in a country far away that I can’t even relate to (no, not Nigeria).

How do you evaluate the person and decide to give him money?

I’ve been online since 1998… that’s a long while in Internet years. Yes, just before the dot com boom – so I’ve been able to see a lot of B.S.

I’ve come across my fair share of false profiles on Linkedin, some are borderline, some are pure scam artists. However, some are genuine.

But in today’s age… those good at social engineering can actually do more harm to your online journey. So what would you do… check this video out:

“All things being equal people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST.” ~ The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

You’d think that if you know, and like the person – you could do business with them. But do you trust them?

Let me extend this a bit further with the equation:

K+L+T+V = $


This is essential, it’s the first step… if people don’t know you, they can’t start liking or trusting you. But this is not the MOST important part.

We have a tendency to immediately judge people within a few seconds. Blame psychology for this – stereotyping and making first impressions is ingrained in our DNA.

Advertising companies are masters at making first impressions. But things are changing… we’re moving from mass communication, mass advertising, mass selling to personal one-on-one interactions – the way business used to be done – thanks to social media.

Be Visible – don’t hide information. The more visible you become, the more people know about you. Remember – out of sight, out of mind. But don’t just go and post your personal and financial information online!

Provide Value – it can be in the form of what people today call ‘content’ marketing by publishing blogs, ebooks, podcasts, videos, infographics, webinars or even Linkedin Pulse. Zig Ziggler advises that the best way to build your business is to help someone else build theirs.

Share Value – instead you could be a curator of useful information, sharing your knowledge and what you read with others. Exchange stories.


Develop Conversations – unfortunately, many today are just ‘putting it out there’ because marketers have been telling them this is the best way to get attention – sorry, I don’t think so.

We’re in an attention deficit age – the price to pay is good quality, real, authentic conversations. Instead have conversations with others – don’t just be a broadcaster. Remember, conversations are two way communications – you don’t just do the talking – you have to engage. You’ll learn more about them, as they do about you.

Build A Community (Tribe) – being a member of a community can open you up to new relationships. Find a common interest, theme or topic that you enjoy discussing and be a part of the conversation. Give and take. It doesn’t have to be an online forum, it can be in your local neighborhood. Take your online connections offline and meet up.


How is it that in such a litigious society like U.S., where suing is national hobby – could someone as wealthy as Warren Buffet sign 1-2 page agreements for large deals. He’s done his homework – but so do others. So how does he develop enough trust to do business at the speed of trust? When you commit to what you said, stick to it – that’s how trust is built.

Be Generous – give away some of your knowledge, your time and your experience. Help others and ask for references, through testimonials (Tip: Deliver Social Proof)

Be Gracious – Can you offer a guarantee for what you do? Then reduce the risk for the other party, bring down those barriers. Don’t make people hate you. Be gracious instead. It takes time to build trust, so don’t rush it – think long term.

Are you committed to helping others or yourself? Would you be able to advise your client or customer to do business somewhere else – even with your competitor, if you knew you couldn’t help them or provide that level of service or you were not the best choice for them?

If you answered YES to both those questions… you’re more trustworthy and people will see it.


Before Dave Ramsey recruits someone – he asks to be invited to have dinner with their family. He wants to see how the person is at home, whether they congruent with what they’re like in a formal setting. How does the person treat their family members – Ramsey is verifying.

Remember how you verify things in real life, you either check with your trusted network of family and friends. You look for common connections. This is where having a strong referral network of people who are more than willing to refer and recommend you is important.

Good reviews about you, your products and services travel quickly, and bad reviews travel much faster. So make sure what you offer is so great that people can’t ignore you!