Trust is an essential element in business. So how do we establish trust when we cannot look each other in the eye, smile and shake hands - or work side by side learning each other’s strengths and needs?
Being prepared to jump on a plane, establish physical proximity and get in the trenches, metaphorically speaking, has been a powerful and effective way of doing business for decades.
But the old ways of doing business could well stay that way. COVID-19 has brought challenges but it has also brought benefits. Hours spent planning, meeting and discussing have been disrupted by the urgency to act.
The flipside of being unable to establish trust, and extensive Status Points, over time, is that we now have more opportunities than ever to just get on with what urgently needs to be done for our clients.
In an era when heat-sensing drones set off each evening to scan the streets of Melbourne, businesses who have risen to the challenges posed by travel restrictions have overcome the trust issue by actually increasing their client interaction, spending less time at airports and more time getting to understand their client’s business needs and the context within which they operate.
They are driven to deliver above and beyond client expectations very early in the life of a project to build a solid working foundation that will hopefully lead to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.
They spend hours in research and analysis, going beyond the public forum, to establish their credentials using old-fashioned techniques of integrity and hard work.
From the SAS Group’s perspective, our first interaction with a client can often be in the cauldron of a communications-related crisis which requires immediate media and stakeholder engagement work.
With decision makers staring down daily news deadlines, the need to consult widely on the right course of action is removed. We need to establish trust in our abilities quickly - that we know what we are doing and that our advice is the best course of action.
In these cases, a coherent plan acted upon quickly is the quickest way of establishing trust. When you’ve managed that, the relief is often palpable – even when the source is 2500 km away.