Four years ago, I engaged in a relationship with a new client that held incredible promise. I completed a full insurance proposal to address additional insurance needs and presented the options for diversifying his accounts. If we were able to place these policies, it would represent the largest single transaction in my 10-year history. As I made the presentation, everything went perfectly and the options looked great.
The client didn’t take any of them.
Not a reduced option. Not a different option. None.
For a long time, I thought my efforts had been a huge waste of time.
Still, I maintained a relationship with the client and continued to help them with other, albeit smaller services. About two years later, I got a promising call.
“Matt, can you look into this for us again?”
They wanted to revisit the proposal. I was so excited as the hope of the sale began to rise.
I presented the materials again, only to be met with the same answer; NO.
I retreated, questioning every detail.
What had I done wrong?
Both times, the presentation was flawless and met the client’s every need. And this second time, they had sought me out!
When I asked the client why, he simply said, “it just didn’t work.”
I was baffled and at times, cynical as to why I even poured time into these dead-ends.
Then, last year, through circumstances and life events well out of my control, the client came back a third time.
I went in thinking “If this is strike three, I’m out.
However, this time the results were different. At this meeting, the clients purchased and it represented the single largest sale of my career; a six-figure deposit.
As we sat down to go through the details, I made a bold move.
I asked the client why!
His answer amazed me.
“Matt, I initially said no to this, but you never stopped the conversation and you never stopped helping me when I asked. In essence, it took us time, but we began to trust you. Listen, that’s what sales are made of, trust. But, always remember, you can’t rush it.”
The experience reminded me of something I desperately needed to hear: “You can’t rush trust.”
At it’s core, true leadership occurs in the context of a relationship.
At the core of relationships is trust.
Following that thought process leads me to recognize that leadership is about building, earning and maintaining the trust of those you lead.
As my client reminded me, though, you can’t rush the process.
All too often, we want to microwave our leadership, rushing the process because we want the desired outcome. But trust established without foundation is too easily broken. This can be seen in the rise and fall of fly-by-night leaders.
However, the difference makers and the needle movers have been paving their leadership success one brick of trust at a time. Year after year, their foundation of trust is established, created by a relationship with those they lead.
A foundation of trust.
Personally, I sit in a position of trust as my forthcoming book, “You Make My Life Rich,” is going through editing and revision, I feel myself wanting it to be ready now. However, I remember what I learned last year.
You can’t rush trust.