Until you are credible, your clients will not be interested in trusting you or exploring how you can help them.

Establishing credibility can help you work toward displaying your integrity. As your clients learn to trust you, they begin to share their goals, passions, and struggles, and they ask you to deliver on various commitments. facebook down .

Finally, after you’ve delivered on those commitments, authenticity comes into play. During this stage your client welcomes your help, even when it is unsolicited or when you have been honest about not having all of the answers.


When you make worthy intent your going-in principle in your business relationships, then credibility, integrity, and authenticity—the three essential qualities for creating relational capital—will be more easily and readily expressed, and you will be well on your way to advancing every business relationship.

Ed Wallace


Authenticity is about being honest with ourselves and our clients regarding who we are and what we know; it is the quality of being genuine.

Slide4I believe that authenticity is sometimes the hardest of the three essential qualities of relational capital to demonstrate, and it requires the highest degree of bravery on our part.

Why? Because at times in business we can get caught up in our image and how we look in front of clients, especially when we do not have all of the answers.

The Power of “I Don’t Know”

The three most powerful words in business are “I don’t know.” This simple admission that you don’t have all of the answers is refreshingly honest in today’s economy.

Too often we put a lot of energy into keeping up a façade in our business relationships… appearance of strength, expertise, influence, knowledge….. for fear that others will see us as weak or vulnerable.

One of the hardest things for business people is to openly admit that they don’t have all the answers. Saying “I Don’t Know” can open the doors to a healthy discussion about possible and even better solutions. The fact that the individual may be admitting he/she isn’t the ultimate source of wisdom is not the point; the point is that now everyone is able to focus on the need itself and how to meet it most effectively together as a team.

Sometimes just saying the authentic magic words “I Don’t Know” can result in amazing things!!!


When in a business meeting, listen with more than just your ears. Sincerely acknowledging points by nodding occasionally, making eye contact, taking notes, and being fully engaged all demonstrate genuine concern for the person speaking. Watch his or her facial expressions, eye contact, and hand gestures” to pick up on unspoken messages.

Ed Wallace


Integrity is, quite simply, being trustworthy in our actions and character.

Slide3Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching, like leaving our business card on the windshield of a car we just bumped in the parking lot.

It is saying what we are going to do and then doing it. Integrity is the quality of having honest and truthful motivations for our actions. This translates directly into applying the principle of worthy intent in all of our interactions in the business world.

Everyone wants to believe they can be trusted and can trust others in life and business. Many clients gauge our integrity by the way we make our commitments and deliver on them. After we have established that we are credible, our clients will begin to ask us to make commitments to them in the form of contracting for goods, services, and solutions.

When we deliver what we promised, we display our integrity and reinforce the client’s trust. In doing so, this opportunity further advances the business relationship and increases the distinctive value of our relational capital.

Integrity is also about expectations, making sure we set them appropriately and then consistently delivering on them.

The old phrase about commitments, “under promise and over deliver,” actually contradicts the worthy intent that we should strive to bring into our business relationships.


Trust begins with commitments which are the promises we make in business. Don’t make promises you can’t keep during business discussions. Even if they are made casually, somewhere along the line you’ll be held to your word. Failing to produce what you’ve promised will create atrophy in the relationship and close the door to any future opportunities.


Ed Wallace


The American Heritage Dictionary defines credibility as “The power to elicit belief.”

Slide2Credibility is the quality that makes others believe in you, your words, and your actions. Credibility is the gatekeeper quality. expiration of domains . If you don’t first establish credibility and competence with your prospect or client, you will struggle to create anything more than a transactional relationship with that individual.

Your credibility has a major impact on your success in any business relationship. We frequently discuss creating trust-based relationships, but unless you are credible early on, your opportunities to display trustworthiness will be limited.

As client-facing professionals, we all want our clients to trust us. Once they do, we can start doing things for them in order to move the process along. However, until we are deemed credible and competent, why should clients trust us?

Credible people transcend the automatic sense of urgency that permeates much of today’s world by working to identify real priorities and opportunities.

One way to get started during conversations is to establish common ground with questions like:

  • “Tell me about how this project connects to the company’s strategy?”
  • “What are you personally looking to achieve with this initiative?”
  • “How long have you been with the company?”
  • Or when all else fails…”Where are you from?”


My friend and mentor Max, the famous taxi driver, called this approach “sincere inquiry.”

  1. First, try focusing on blocking out all distractions like checking your blackberry during the conversation.
  2. Second, listen intently.
  3. Third, confirm your understanding and follow up with a question that displays you listened and conveys your interest in the topic.

Credibility begins with taking the time to become interested in aspects of your colleague’s business goals and objectives.

Three Essential Qualities

Relational Capital
The distinctive value created by people in a business relationship.

Your ability to advance business relationships by creating relational capital with your clients is the most impactful way for you to distinguish yourself in your client interactions. In my book, Business Relationships That Last, I discuss the principle of worthy intent as the foundational, or “going in,” approach to every business relationship.

In the next series of blog posts, I will explore the three essential qualities that are at work as you create relational capital in every one of your business relationships.

Your credibility, integrity, and authenticity constitute the essential foundation upon which you build relational capital in the business world. These qualities impact how you are perceived and valued, and their convergence results in the relational attributes that attach to you in every business relationship.

Credibility, integrity, and authenticity are present in every business relationship to some degree because each of us possesses. these qualities. In outstanding business relationships, however, these qualities form the very basis of the relationship, leading to many competitive advantages and rewards for client-facing professionals.

And while each quality is important in its own right, understanding how the three converge is the key to creating relational capital with each business contact.

Many businesspeople perceive these qualities to be very similar; in fact, my clients routinely substitute one for the other during our discussions.

Looking closer, however, we can see that there are important fine distinctions among the definitions of each term, as well as a distinct order in how each one manifests itself in a business relationship.

job-thank-you-note-1A unique way for you to follow up with someone after an initial contact is to send him or her a handwritten note…even if the meeting doesn’t go well, and even if you don’t have a follow up meeting.

Send that person a handwritten note.

I talk about this in my latest book, Business Relationships That Last, about how this small act of writing a personal note leaves a lasting impression.

A Personal Perspective

What do you usually receive in the mail? Now days, most of us receive bills, junk mail, and catalogues or advertising materials.

When you open up the mailbox and pull out an envelope addressed by hand, to you – what goes through your mind?

Most people respond to that with, “Wow, this person took CursiveThankYouthe time to think about what they wanted to say, to write the note, to address it, to put it in an envelope and put a stamp on it, to address it and to put it in the mailbox.”

When you really think about it, it takes just as long to compose an email as it does to write a handwritten note.

The distinguishing difference? It’s visual – and personal.

The email looks just like every other email on the recipient’s screen. With a handwritten note, you create more of a personal contact; you make more of an impression on someone because they are touching something that you created with your hands and sent specifically to them.

It’s a kinetic experience, and in today’s world of digital media, it creates a deeply personal connection.

Many of my students are doing this now, and even my clients are doing this on stationary that they’ve created and personalized. These are large corporations with great track records, yet they have begun using handwritten notes to follow up after meetings, and even to “ask for the sale.”

pen-to-paper_sidebarIt doesn’t matter what level you are at in your career …

A handwritten note may seem like a little thing – but like so often in life – it’s the littlest things that make the most powerful impressions.

Ed Wallace

Credibility: It’s All In How You Ask

gpsIn Business Relationships That Last, I discuss how the secret to success in advancing a business relationship is through understanding a client’s Relational GPS™ – their Goals, Passions, and Struggles.

And how do we follow the course of a client’s GPS?

We ask questions. We understand what drives our clients by asking really good questions.

How do we “get good” at asking “good” questions? What can we do to sharpen our acumen?

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Try this exercise. It will help you sharpen your “asking good questions” skills.

  1. Sit down with a young person, someone between 5-10 years old (a niece or nephew, son or daughter, granddaughter or grandson) and observe what he or she is doing. They might be playing with a favorite toy or reading a book, or maybe playing game.
  2. Ask the child questions about whatever it is he or she is doing for the next five minutes. You’ll see how challenging it gets to move beyond the initial question into second and third questions.
  3. Remember, you’re not offering a whole lot of ideas. You’re more or less just asking questions to show the child that you are interested and to keep his or her curiosity in why you’re interested, and to demonstrate that you are sincere, truly interested, and confident.

How far do you get?

Try this exercise. I guarantee you it will help you when you are trying to advance your adult relationships – all through the power of talking with a child. windows server .

Ed Wallace

Your Perpetual Audition

300px-AuditionsRelationalLadderIt’s only natural – as we advance up the relational ladder, we find a comfort zone with our colleagues, our business partners, our clients and vendors.

What happens though, is that as we get into that comfort zone, it becomes increasingly difficult to advance the relationship any further.

The whole idea behind continuously advancing that relationship is so that we can achieve our mutual goals together – so that we can continue to be aware of where we can offer and ask for help.

Be aware that no matter how established the business relationship is, each business relationship is always in a state of a perpetual audition.

Trust can fluctuate up or down depending on how we handle each interaction. We may be very comfortable with a business partner; however, when we want to advance the business relationship, we need to proactively move the relationship beyond this state.

imovie_largeAction Point

Be aware that business relationships are a dynamic process, in which we are in a state of perpetual auditioning – auditioning for our business partners’ time, their interest, their ability to help us, and ultimately, their desire to deepen their relationship with us. expired sites whois directory

Ed Wallace

Relational Capital Begins Within

What can you begin doing today to build a culture of worthy intent within your organization?

Over the weekend, I got a phone call from the admin of one of our clients. Nancy called on a Saturday morning at 11:15a because she had gone into the office specifically to make sure that some packages containing training materials I had mailed earlier in the week had arrived. She went out of her way to provide discretionary service. Nancy’s above and beyond service is an example of relational capital beginning within.

The Power of Worthy Intention

When your company has worthy intentions towards you (the employee) and has worked to establish a great relationship through it’s leadership and culture, then you will (generally) go out of your way to provide discretionary performance back to your company’s clients and vendors – just like Nancy did for me. This above and beyond service is relational capital.

Peace of Mind

Nancy knew that if those packages didn’t arrive, I would have to spend my weekend running around getting the materials collated and printed for Monday morning. In part, due to the culture of worthy intent created by the leaders of the company Nancy works for, she extended to me the service of going into the office on her day off and checking for those packages, and then calling me to let me know they had arrived. Quisforexasex She extended the relational capital of “peace of mind” that allowed me to have a stress-free weekend.

Would your employee have done the same for one of your vendors?

What can you begin doing today to build a culture of worthy intent within your organization?