Last week, I wrote about how truth telling gives you a powerful marketing advantage. This week, I want to talk about why it also gives you an advantage with relationship building.

Obviously, people who form relationships with you will feel better about you and safer with you if they believe you tell the truth. And, I’d like to think that, for the most part, people do tell the truth—at least when it’s easy.

But it’s not the easy truth telling that matters. Heck, even a four year old can do that. It’s telling the truth when it’s difficult that matters, and where you can make your mark.

Here’s an example:

Your client, Joe, calls you at 11a. He asks you if you were able to reschedule his lunch with Jack that afternoon. You actually forgot, but a quick look at the clock lets you know that you can still get it done. How do you answer Joe’s question?

Better Relationships Via Truth Telling

If you would do anything other than say something like, “Oh my gosh, Joe, I completely forgot, and I’m so very sorry. Let me get Jack on the phone right now, take care of it, and I’ll call you right back,” you’ve lied. And you know what? Whether he says anything or not, Joe’s going to know you’ve lied. And it will damage your relationship. Maybe it will damage it a bit or a lot—much depends on the trust that’s already been established, but it will damage it.

On the other hand, when you tell the truth, handle the situation, figure out how you made the error and how to prevent it in the future, and communicate all of that to the client, you build trust, and people come to know they can count on you, come what may.

When people come to know that about you, you’ll have a truly powerful advantage in your practice, because it’s crazy to say, but most people aren’t truthful. Make absolute-truth telling a practice standard.