Trust-Building Keys

As discussed in an earlier post, trust-building is key in the job interview process. No trust with a hiring manager means no job offer. The 6 primary components of trust-building are Awareness, Discovery, Intention, Character, Understanding, and Service – ADICUS.


  • Awareness – Progress starts with awareness. Awareness of your own emotional state, as well as the buyer’s. The first step is to be aware that emotions can derail the trust-building process, and the second step is to be aware of the dynamic emotions of you and the buyer during the interaction. As you become aware and sense the emotional temperature in the room, you can calibrate the discussion on-the-fly to keep the trust building process on track.
  • Discovery – This is the process of building trust through finding out what the other person is thinking and feeling so that you can truly find out if and how you can help him. The discovery process is started by asking good open-ended questions that enable layering discussions and meaningful dialogue. The very act of engaging in a true discovery process is trust-building – this is because they can see that you are trying to find out how to help them. When they see this, their guard will go down and you will be able to influence them.
  • Intention – Intention is more important than technique. People can sense your intentions, and if you go into an interaction with the genuine intention of helping that person, trust will be built. Even if your delivery is a bit awkward, people can sense and will respond to sincere intention. Your intention is to help the buyer to make the best decision possible.
  • Character – It’s very difficult to suspend your own needs and replace the negative emotions of fear, anxiety, and greed with the positive emotions of love and empathy. It takes real effort to give when you want to take – to genuinely strive to find out what the buyer needs vs what you need.
  • Understanding – Through the discovery process you will understand them and their needs better, and you’ll know how best to serve and help them or up-sell or cross-sell. If you learn through the discovery process that you can’t help them, that’s ok – you’d rather know that now than later, and you can choose to spend your time with other prospects that may have real needs that you can fill.
  • Service – After you understand where they can benefit, now you can actually serve them by closing the deal, delivering the product, and providing customized support.

Here are some examples where Emotional Competencies like those above were applied for a great return on investment:

  1. At L’Oreal, sales agents selected on the basis of certain emotional competencies significantly outsold salespeople selected using the company’s old selection procedure. On an annual basis, salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence sold $91,370 more than other salespeople did, for a net revenue increase of $2,558,360. Salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence also had 63% less turnover during the first year than those selected in the typical way.
  2. In a national insurance company, insurance sales agents who were weak in emotional competencies such as self-confidence, initiative, and empathy sold policies with an average premium of $54,000. Those who were very strong in at least 5 of 8 key emotional competencies sold policies worth $114,000.
  3. Optimism is another emotional competence that leads to increased productivity. New salesmen at Met Life who scored high on a test of “learned optimism” sold 37 percent more life insurance in their first two years than pessimists.
  4. Experienced partners in a multinational consulting firm were assessed on the EI competencies plus three others. Partners who scored above the median on 9 or more of the 20 competencies delivered $1.2 million more profit from their accounts than did other partners – a 139 percent incremental gain.
  5. An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from fifteen global companies showed that six emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average: Influence, Team Leadership, Organizational Awareness, Self-Confidence, Achievement Drive, and Leadership.


John Boyd

John Boyd is the author of The Illustrated Guide to Selling You. He’s a frequent speaker and coach on the subjects of life purpose, job search, goal achievement, positive psychology, well-being, communication, and healthy relationships.  His book is endorsed by Steven Covey, Brian Tracy, and Denis Waitley, and can be found at as well as in Barnes and Noble stores nationwide.”  Learn more about John at  He’d love to hear from you at