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The Trust Factor

How to build rapport and inspire people to do business with you

This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Trust is an intangible asset that has the unusual characteristic of being granted upfront and tested afterward. When I drop my off at a new dry cleaner, for example, I trust that they won't be lost. When I pick them up and everything is in order, my trust level increases, and I return. However, if the new dry cleaner breaks the buttons on my favorite dress shirt, my trust level disappears completely.

If your message is believable and genuine, those people who have a need for your services will trust you upfront. This is why sales between people who have never met occur all the time.

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