Don’t be a false guide

We were twenty-two years old. My wife and I had just agreed to take jobs in Princeton, NJ, and to be honest, I was a little anxious. We were leaving Cincinnati, and while the jobs were a great opportunity, they were not financially lucrative. 

It was all weighing on my mind as I pumped gas one evening in Montgomery, OH, and the guy next to me struck up a conversation. For some unknown reason, I shared what was on my mind. He assured me that I had nothing to fear because he had an opportunity for me.

I scheduled a time to meet with him, and as you probably guessed, the opportunity was more about his business than my need. 

A great way to build credibility as a trusted guide in someone’s story is to know your competencies and your limitations and, when appropriate, refer your customer to someone else. 

The other day, I noticed one of my cars was making a funny noise. I swung into a new repair shop in town, and the guy checking it out said, “I think you should look for another shop for that. I don’t feel comfortable with that repair.”

What did that tell me?

He can be trusted. He knows his limits and competencies, which makes me want to give him more work in the future. 

Let me say it again, a simple way to build trust with customers is to say, “I can’t do that, but I know who can.”

To better position yourself as the trusted guide, ask these questions:

  • What are our core competencies?
  • What are our limitations?
  • Do we have a trusted list of people that we will refer clients to when we reach our limits?

Thanks for being a leader worth following,

Brian Rutherford
Director of Content & Product Strategy


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is Director of Content and Product Strategy for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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