We are average at earning trust

Philip Morgan

Let's be honest with ourselves. We are utterly average at earning trust.

If we happen to be good at it, we need to ask if it is really because the bar is low and the thing we're good at earning trust for is not really that important in the grand scheme of things. After all, we do practice a profession in which the world does not insist on requiring a license or continuing education. Most of us earn around a 90th percentile income with far less formal training, certification, or licensing than is required of a dental hygienist (73rd percentile) or massage therapist (48th percentile).

Or maybe it's because consulting is new? The discipline of management consulting, if we use Wikipedia's history of it, is only 126 years old. Lawyers have been allowed to take fees for services for around 2,000 years. It seems to take a while to build up the infrastructure of a profession.

Either way, the task of earning sufficient trust from our prospective clients is thrust upon us as individual indie consultants. There's no standards body to confer trust upon us through licensing, and most of us get started doing project work that can't imprison or kill anybody (or any organization), and so it's relatively easy for us to earn enough trust to do that kind of inconsequential-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things work.

And so we are average at earning trust, and this is fine.

We trundle along doing good work and then one day we decide want to do better work. Work that actually is more impactful and would therefore require more trust from our prospects. Or work that would be genuinely transformative for them, if they could just trust us enough to embark on a journey of transformation together.

When we hit this trust-earning ceiling, we start to get more interested in understanding how trust is built.

How specialization amplifies our ability to earn trust is the second major topic of The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants. I'll summarize the main points of the second section of this book in upcoming daily emails here, and you can buy a copy of the book anytime via Amazon: http://thepositioningmanual.com.