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“Master the contents of Endless Referrals and you will practically GUARANTEE your future success.”

~ Tom Hopkins, Author, Master the Art of Selling

The Missing Piece to the Influence Puzzle

November 27th, 2013 by Bob Burg

Trust is the missing piece – Bob BurgIf influence is the ability to move a person(s) to a desired and appropriate action, then what is its lynchpin?

What is that one…thing that, without it, you convince but cannot persuade and, with it, you can rally a single person or huge group to commit themselves to a cause?

What is that one…thing that will make the difference between “that’s a good idea; I’ll really have to consider thinking about perhaps some day maybe doing that” and, “yeah, baby, I’m on board; let’s do this thing!”?

I strongly believe that:

“When it comes to influence, TRUST is often the missing piece.”

I often say that, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”

We can also add the phrase, “and allow themselves to be influenced by.”

Yes, it might be a seller attempting to influence a prospect that they have the right solution to their problem. Perhaps it’s an employer wanting to influence her employees that the company is worth standing behind.

Maybe it’s the non-profit’s executive director attempting to influence his community that the charity he represents is the proper steward for their donations. Or, it could be a corporate CEO trying to influence the public to see her company as the leader in their field.

If the trust isn’t there, it most likely isn’t going to happen.

The dictionary defines trust as: “The character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.”

In his terrific book, The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey says trust is based on both character and competence (when anything of significance is involved, one of them without the other just isn’t going to cut it).

That person trying to influence you; do you trust him or her?

That person who you are trying to influence; does he or she trust you?

If not, why not? What can they do to elicit your trust? What can you do to elicit their trust?

What examples have you seen where everything seemed just perfect…but the “trust piece” was missing? Was it able to be fixed? If so, how?


Have you picked up your copy of my new book, Adversaries into Allies yet?

If not, visit www.AdversariesintoAllies.com and get Chapter One.

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12 Responses to “The Missing Piece to the Influence Puzzle”
  1. Yes. Trust. That makes perfect sense. If there’s no trust that the action will benefit them, or at the least that it won’t harm them, then nothing will happen.

    And I think it could be wider trust than just in the influencer. Do they trust themselves? Do they believe that they can make a good decision? Do they trust the system or the idea? Their own ability to make it work? The process of following through?

  2. Bob Burg said at 9:05 am on

    Beth: Terrific points. As always, you add wisdom-based insights. No wonder why I trust you and you are able to influence me! 🙂

  3. And you trust yourself to judge people well and to believe in your own decision-making ability 😉

    Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Thanksgivukkah. Hanukksgiving. That’s got to be a very cool holiday mash-up. Enjoy!

  4. Bob Burg said at 10:04 am on

    LOL. Indeed. And, thank you for the “Thanksgivukkah/Hanukksgiving” wishes. A definite (and, literal) “once in a lifetime” celebration! 🙂 Best wishes for a Blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  5. Rajib said at 10:55 am on

    Trust is the invisible bond that binds two people together. More often we don’t recognize it or don’t give much thought to it until or unless it’s found missing. The sooner we recognize it the better its for us because after all we all want to remain inside the circle called ‘TRUST’, and we must never forget that it all begins from ‘ME’. Give and create it unconditionally and you will never miss it ever in your life.
    Nice Post as always, Mr.Bob. Thanks for sharing and giving us the wisdom to excel…….

  6. Bob Burg said at 10:56 am on

    Rajib: Brilliant and eloquently put, my friend. How very true Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us!

  7. Joe Gregory said at 11:42 am on

    Here’s where a lot of people get confused around trust: they think, hey, I am trustworthy. I trust my wife, however, I don’t trust her to perform surgery on me because she is not a surgeon. Trust isn’t universal. When influencing, one must first demonstrate that they are highly competent around what they are trying to influence. I trust a lot of people. That doesn’t mean I would buy from them.

  8. Bob Burg said at 11:52 am on

    Joe: Indeed. That is why BOTH character AND competence are so important in terms of trust. Great point!

  9. Afternoon Bob, this is a great post and I completely agree! I often spend months building trust with potential clients in order to earn their initial 12 month contracts (which lead to multiple year contracts). I don’t look at it as anything other than forming a friendship with someone I hope to do business with. With that said, I am sure to “pre-qualify” leads/potential clients to ensure those months spent in advance are with people who will eventually be a good fit for our company. Without the trust factor, really, what do any of us have? Trust remains our foundation. Enjoy your weekend!

  10. Bob Burg said at 5:32 pm on

    Matthew: Terrific points. Excellent how you have a client qualification system and then understand that the key part to turning your current qualified prospects into ecstatic clients is building that authentic trust. Thank you for sharing with us!

  11. Aziz said at 7:59 pm on

    I think the linchpin is actually competence; when competence is not demonstrated or is limited, trust is difficult to establish. Two people with high competence, don’t require as much trust because the outcome is the focus. The trust for this relationship is threatened in the feedback loop. But, when competence is low prior to the event or perceived to be low, trust is important in every step until both trust and competence are established.

  12. Bob Burg said at 8:09 pm on

    Aziz: Indeed, competence is extremely important. As Stephen M.R. Covey taught, both competence and character are a key aspect of trust. Without both of those you most likely will not be able to elicit trust. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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