People usually want to do business with people they know, they like and they trust.  That said, I don’t have to know you, or even like you, to do business with you.  But if I don’t feel like I can trust you, for whatever reason, we’ll never be able to work or do business together.


The one word that best leads to trust is integrity.  In whatever you do, if you want to be successful and well thought of by others, you must display integrity.  It is the root of the relationship.


Years ago I had a client that wanted to book me to speak at their conference.  Once he told me the theme and the topic, I suggested another speaker.  This guy was ready to book me based on what he saw me do in the past.   He felt I could do the job.  I told him it probably would work, but we were forcing it.  The message he wanted his audience to hear was not really my expertise.  My suggestion was to book a colleague and come back to me the following year, which he did.  Same thing happened the following year, and the year after that.  It was five years before I finally said, “Yes, I can do your program.”  When he introduced me to his group he told the story about how I turned him down for four years in a row.  He used the word integrity.  I was flattered.  It would have been easy to take the booking, but better to wait until it was right for both of us.


It could be as simple as the server at a restaurant that tells you that she thinks something on the menu isn’t good that night.


Or, the insurance salesman that says he doesn’t feel that one of his products is right for you.


Your customer or client must believe that you value what is right for them over making a sale.  No matter how good your product is, or even how good your service is, integrity will take it to the next level.



Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email:  Web: For information on customer service training, go to


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