The Trust Equation

The ability to deliver marketing to our clients that creates a Return on Investment is something we commit to at Digital Glue. ROI can mean different things to certain people, in terms of what they want their return to be, but in most instances, it’s financial! Businesses expect to spend £x on marketing and get £x in return. Why is this important in relation to trust? ‘The Trusted Advisor’, a book by David Maisters, Charles Green and Robert Galford, explores a way of measuring trust – the trust equation. This blog post will explore what this trust equation means in reality, and how and where it might fit into your business.


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Sometimes when you’re trying to build a relationship with a prospective client, it can be difficult to figure out how to convert that prospect into business. The trust equation demonstrates the elements needed to successfully build that relationship and convert it into business.


Building credibility is important in any sales and marketing environment, and there are a number of ways to do it. 

Customer testimonials:

According to the stats, customer reviews are 12 times more trusted than manufacturer descriptions on ecommerce websites. The success of websites like ‘checkatrade’, ‘rated people’ or TripAdvisor demonstrates that potential customers want to see what other people think of your business.

Qualifications & certifications:

Ensure your employees have the right qualifications for the job and your business has all the correct legal certifications.

Track record:

This might be the number of years you’ve been in business, or if your business is young, the number of years you’ve been working in a specific field.

Trade Associations:

Register your business with the right industry bodies.


Be quietly confident that you know your stuff and can speak with ease about your business field.


Reliability often takes time to prove, but you can demonstrate it in an instant.

Let’s take the example of a sales enquiry. If a form on your website states you will respond within 24 hours, make sure you do. Then, when you contact the potential customer, take their details and let them know that they will receive a quote within 3 hours. Again, make sure you do. When you email the quote across, let them know that you’ll call them at certain time the following day to check it covers what they need and get their feedback. Call them 1 minute before that time.

In one potential opportunity, you have demonstrated reliability by clearly stating what you will do and doing it. As a relationship progresses, you will have more opportunities to demonstrate that reliability.

Emotional Connection:

To build an emotional connection with a potential client or customer, and make you and your business likeable to them, ask the following questions:

  • What kind of person would you like to do business with?
  • Be Interested in them
  • What’s important to them?
  • What’s their background?
  • What do they like?
  • How can you help them?

Ask your customer questions to show your interest is in them and their concerns. These small elements at the right time can mean that your relationship reaches out beyond just a business transaction.

Self Interest:

At the opposite end of the scale from emotional connection is self-interest. Self-interest undermines credibility, reliability, and the emotional connection. Avoid using phrases such as:

  • “The way we work is…”
  • “I don’t have time”
  • “What we do is…”
  • “You’ll have to…”

You want to demonstrate what your business does well but in a way that focuses on its benefit to the customer.

Think about your existing clients or customers and apply the trust equation to them. Are there elements of it you need to work on to improve the trust in your relationship with them? We look at the trust equation when writing copy for websites, when preparing presentations, and when picking the right messages. For advice on how the trust equation could fit into your business, get in touch with us.

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