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The 5 C’s of Trust

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The 5 C’s of Trust

The ability to gain and keep trust is a vital factor in the ability to influence others. Research has shown, time and time again, that trust is
always a contributing factor in the ability to influence others. When a person trusts you, trust alone can cause them to accept your message.

On the flip side, if they don’t trust you, all the evidence, reasoning, facts, or figures in the world won’t get them to budge.
Trust can be an ambiguous concept, but certain things are quite clear:

You can’t get others to trust you unless you trust yourself first.
Your message will not be convincing to others unless it’s convincing to you.

Whenever someone tries to influence us, we ask ourselves, “Can I trust this person? Do I believe him? Are they really concerned about me?” We are less likely to be influenced if we sense that the person is driven solely by self-interest.

  • Character
  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Credibility
  • Consistency

The Five C’s of Trust listed above will all help you gain the trust you need to have lasting influence. Let me illustrate how these elements work in a
story. Imagine you’re experiencing extreme tooth pain. You’ve put off going to the dentist as long as possible, but now nature’s telling you your time has run out. You recently relocated, so your previous dentist is 2,000 miles away and no longer an option.

1. My dentist has great character. He is one of the most honest people I know. He’s not very competent, though. I hear he’s famous for completely sticking the needle through your cheek.
Would you go to this dentist?

2. My dentist is one of the top dentists in the state. He’s extremely competent, but kind of a crook. He has no character. He’s been caught a
few times for over billing and also sometimes fills more cavities than you actually have.
Would you go to this dentist?

3. My dentist doesn’t have much confidence in his work. One time he said to me, “I’ve never been really good at reading x-rays. I feel unsure
about whether I should give you a root canal or just leave the tooth alone. Look at this x-ray and tell me what you think?”
Would you go to this dentist?

4. I’m not sure my dentist is licensed. I didn’t see any degree or diploma on his wall, and no one seems to know where he went to school. His
office doesn’t have the latest equipment. He even asked me to pay cash instead of writing a check. He has no credibility in my book.
Would you go to this dentist?

5. My dentist is a nice guy, but he doesn’t keep his stories straight. Congruency and consistency are not his strong suit. Last year he said I’d
probably have to get a root canal on my molar the next time I came in.
When I came back, I asked him about the root canal on my molar and he said, “You don’t need a root canal on that tooth. Who told you that?”
Would you go to this dentist?

You would certainly want to find a dentist who had all five positive attributes. A deep and lasting sense of trust will not exist without all five
of these characteristics. We know if a person is lacking in just one of these areas, it will affect every aspect of their ability to build, gain, and
maintain trust.