Friday, July 23, 2010

C'mon, You can Trust Me!

"TRUST ME." How many times have you been asked to give someone your trust? Companies ask you for it all the time -- either implicitly or explicitly. And what is amazing is how often we grant that trust without considering what we're doing. But, things have been changing, and for awhile now the skeptic in each of us is beginning to wonder, "Is my trust misplaced?"

I recently had the chance to interview author Michael Maslansky of the new book
The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics. His book is based on a decade of quantitative and qualitative research with thousands of individuals. In it, the book illustrates why it is harder than ever to trust -- especially given recent examples in the media including Tiger Woods, Toyota, banks, politicians, BP, and countless CEOs. Maslansky states that whatever the message, the public assumes that there is an underlying agenda and that companies are regularly putting their own interests in front of the customer's.

Maslansky offers some new, contrarian rules to communications (e.g. the truth is NOT enough), and some new principles for credible communication (problems don't sell as much as solutions). But more than those lists, I think what I found the most interesting were why today's consumers were more skeptical than ever. The fundamental truth he offered was that we have been promised more than what has been delivered -- too many times. As more sophisticated consumers, we have more information available to us today and can easily see behind the curtain to how the magic really works -- and we're not impressed. And more than anything, we no longer have to trust what we're being told. We can source check anyone and anything.

The book offers some great advice and weaves into it a sense of accountability that I found refreshing. The podcast expands of some of the stories in the book and gives you a feel of the genuine nature of Maslansky's purpose for writing the book.

-- David Kinard, PCM

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