What’s the most vital ingredient of enduring relationships? Your first instinct might be to answer that trust is the most essential ingredient. But in today’s “connection” economy, there’s an even more primal element that enables trust and benefits everyone in the relationship.
Before trust can grow, there must be generosity. Generosity creates trust.
Generosity is more than offering discounts or giving products or services away for free. If we don’t know you, why would we invest valuable time to learn about your free offer or how you’re going to help us? We don’t trust people we don’t know. Earning trust takes time, and it is generosity that allows us to see you and the possibility of trusting you.
How do we recognize genuine generosity?
I recall Seth Godin trying to answer this question a couple of years ago and he mentioned a couple of points.
First, we must detect the right intent – someone kindly wants to share a valuable resource with us without expecting to get anything in return. There is no insistent ulterior motive involved. When we sense that a person’s effort to be generous is a one-time offer, done a bit regretfully, it doesn’t feel generous. We must perceive the kindness in the offer. We recognize that kindness implies sacrifice – someone invested precious time and a valued resource to share with us, expecting no repayment in return.
Next, true generosity also communicates human vulnerability. Sharing and caring demonstrates vulnerability. Even if it doesn’t lead to a new relationship immediately, vulnerability invites a response and enables trust.
Generosity creates trust, cultivating relationships that endure, benefitting both parties time and time again.
What are you doing to build enduring relationships?
How often are you sharing knowledge with no expectation of immediate return?