Brogan starts his final chapter with the distilled essence of the entire book: “Business … is becoming an art.”
Too true. Too true. He states later on the page that :
“The Internet has leveled the distribution field for media, merchandise, communication, location, and many other areas. It’s at once scary and idea, ideal because this is where trust agents excel.”
Why do they excel? They excel because they have spent the time to build up the trust that is needed in the age to come. In this 21st century, we live in a time where our attention spans are small and literally everything around us compels us to “pay attention!” Our viewfinders, it seems, are in hyper drive.
I find adding a personal example from my own life to be helpful when illustrating an abstract concept like “trust.” There is a local car mechanic in the town where I live. They consistently have higher prices than most all of the other dealerships and car repair chains in town. My quotes generally run 10-15% higher when I go to see them as compared to everywhere else.
Yet I continue to go there. Every time. Why?
In a word, I trust them.
The owner’s office is five feet from the main entrance and he works on knowing his customers by name. He sends me coupons every month a birthday card on my birthday every year. Sure, I pay more, but my trust in him is worth a few extra dollars. Other dealerships in the area send me coupons, but I don’t use them. Why? Because I don’t know them.
Brogan illustrates this on page 243 with some “frames” that he suggest may be worth adopting. They are:
- How can I connect with other people? Kevin (local repair shop owner) uses the time that people spend in his waiting room to connect with other people. He’ll shake their hand, ask about their kids or grab them a cup of coffee. Because of that, his business now has a face. His own. People are more apt to connect with you or your organization when there’s a face.
- Where’s the leverage point? Kevin’s no dummy. He’s a good guy, but he’s also got to put food on his table. Brogan encourages us to think strategically, asking the question “what does this move get me?” Too often, we see personal benefit as dishonest. It’s not. It’s only dishonest if we sacrifice our integrity to get it.
There are other “frames” listed, all worth checking out. Read them and see how you can apply them to your specific context.
Bottom line: The first half of the concluding chapter of Trust Agents reminds us that to be entrepreneurial is to be human first. We’ve all seen (and been turned off by) the Twitter connections, blog posts and face-to-face conversations where the other person has nothing but their own interests in mind. Brogan’s advice? Don’t be that guy!
How have you done this well? Not so well? How have you kept your “humanness” while maintaining a desire to succeed and excel? What are other places doing this well? Other people? Why has what they have done “worked”?