Jane came to me to discuss a client.

When Sarah had let Jane know she wanted to work with her, Jane was actually surprised, because during the interview, she didn’t really get a good feeling about Sarah, didn’t get that Sarah felt trusting at all, and didn’t even really like Sarah that much.

I suggested that she try to create a bond with Sarah by making herself vulnerable and telling Sarah the truth (what Jane had shared with me). Although it was uncomfortable for her, Jane trusted me, talked with Sarah and told her the truth, and when she did, Sarah opened up like a flower blossoming, shared something very personal about the time of that interview that explained the whole thing, and the two of them left that conversation feeling great about working together.

I invest in my client relationships by making deposits into our trust accounts.

Trust is built by one person taking a risk, and deciding to trust or not based on the outcome. If there’s a positive outcome, another risk is taken, and the process starts over again. If there’s a negative outcome immediately, chances are things will stop right there.

My mother used to liken trust to a bank account. As long as you had made more deposits than withdrawals from the account, things were a-ok. The minute you were overdrawn, things fell apart. So if you have no deposits, and the very first transaction causes the account to become overdrawn, you can see why the relationship wouldn’t move a step forward from that place.

There are many ways to take risks. Most people do it by taking low-level action risks. For instance, a client risks that you’re going to do what you promise to do. You risk that the client will pay you as agreed. But a quicker way to make it happen is to make yourself vulnerable. When you make yourself vulnerable, by sharing something deeply personal or telling the truth about something you didn’t have to divulge, you create a space for the client to do the same thing.

It’s a sacred space, and once created, and once you two connect within it, trust builds very quickly. OTOH, if you make yourself vulnerable, and the client doesn’t meet you in that space, chances are you’re talking with someone with trust issues, and building trust is going to be far more difficult—maybe so much so as to make it something you won’t want to tackle. Trust is critical in the relationship between a Virtual Assistant and her clients. Over the years I’ve come to know that if it’s not established in the first 30 days, it’s not likely to ever establish. If you’re struggling with trust, try making yourself vulnerable and see what happens.