Trust First, Ask Second

Think about the last time somebody tried to sell you something. More than likely, you either rejected or ignored their offer and probably gave the product itself very little thought. On the surface, you probably rejected the item because it was something you didn’t particularly want or need. But what was even more important was the fact you didn’t have a reason to trust the person that was selling to you.

In this particular example, it doesn’t matter if the product is industrial real estate or anything else. What remains clear is that in order for you to even consider giving your money to someone else, they are going to have to start by earning your trust. The bigger the product being sold, it seems, the more the trust you are going to have to earn.

When selling anything—whether a product or even just trying to book a meeting—the burden is always on the seller to overcome all doubt. Even the most trusting of individuals will still have some initial sort of roadblocks that will need to be overcome. The first step to successful selling is understanding that, because these roadblocks will always exist, it is up to you to set all roads straight.

The first, most obvious, and most common roadblock faced by sellers is a lack of trust. Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are countless varieties of people maliciously trying to obtain your money. For our own protection, we assume that anyone selling us anything has malicious intentions until we are conclusively convinced otherwise.

For some, like the Girl Scouts selling cookies, overcoming this barrier to trust is easy. For others, such as those syndicating large real estate projects, overcoming this hurdle is significantly harder. But nevertheless, these hurdles remain and no matter what you might happen to be selling, their existence should not be ignored.

Laying a Foundation, Building Up

Trust, without a doubt, is the foundation upon which all stable and lasting relationships must be built. This unavoidable fact applies to all relationships, including your romantic partner, your real estate partners, and everyone else in between. Without trust, there is no such thing as a relationship—merely transactions.

Building trust takes time, particularly if money is involved. But the best way to begin this lengthy process is by finding ways to demonstrate you care. If you want someone to trust you, then you need to convince them that you generally care about their well-being. You need to show that you want them to “do well”—however that might be defined—not only because it makes you better off, but because you independently have an interest in their success.

This need for trust is something that we’ve all experienced in our own lives. The last time we rejected a seller, of anything, we probably assumed that they are selling to us because making a sale is in their personal interest—whether we are better or worse off is merely a passing afterthought. Had that person been able to convince us that they wanted us to buy their product because it was genuinely for our own good, we might have given them closer consideration.

Beyond mutual respect and care, trust is further established by being genuine and telling the truth.

Sure, anyone who really wants to can tell the truth every now and then. But it takes a consistent commitment to honesty to be recognized as a general “truth teller.” Once a tendency towards honesty has been established over time, your audience becomes much more likely to actually listen.

Trust takes time to establish, as does pretty much everything that is worth pursuing. Anyone who is hoping to gain the trust of a massive audience overnight is setting themselves up for disappointment. But we know that trust—honest, sincere trust—is something that we can always be striving for.

By knowing where we want to be with each of our relationships, eventually, it becomes much easier to know what we need to be doing, saying, and thinking in the status quo. The need for trust is universal and is not limited to those that are marketing commercial real estate. As long as we can remember the importance of this basic foundation, we will be able to continue building the sort of relationships we need for sustained success.