People Do Business With Those They Know, Like and Trust

People Do Business With Those They Know, Like and Trust

A salesman friend of mine has always said that “people buy from people.”  The importance of interpersonal relationships in business can’t be understated.  Building relationships with those you do business with has a marked effect on how business is done and the success that can be achieved through these relationships.

Bob Burg has boiled this down to the Golden Rule of Networking:

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” 

He further states that “In other words, if two or more sellers have a product, price, know-how, or any other determining factor which might come into play that is pretty much the same, or equal, it’s that man or woman who has successfully created the “know, like and trust” relationship with the prospect or referral source who will obtain that sale or referral.”

Let’s break down each of these components and see how we can get to a point where all three can be combined and generate a successful business relationship.



The first step in a relationship is the getting to know one another.  This can take some time, but is a crucial first step in the process.  People need to know who you are, what you do and that you are out there.

  • Make yourself visible (Use blogs, social media, networking functions)
  •  Show people what you are selling or service you can provide
  • Demonstrate your expertise
  • Give unexpectedly

When contact is made with potential clients/customers – showing interest and working to understand someone’s business and their needs goes a long way in forming a business relationship.

  • Communicate regularly
  • Find things in common
  • Listen
  • Find “non-work” topics you can talk about and may share a common interest
  • Engage in social events (Dinners, sporting events, theatre)



Getting from know to like.  First of all, this will not always happen in a relationship.  For whatever reason there just may not be a connection.  Trying to make everyone like you can be counterproductive.

There really is only one rule here: Be yourself – people should like you for who you are and not someone you are pretending to be.  The relationship should be genuine.  Show that you care about making your customer successful.



People want to know that you will do what you say and follow through.  People want to know that they are not being scammed, cheated or being taken advantage of.

  • Will you deliver on your promise when you say you will?
  • Can they trust that you will perform to their specifications?
  • Should a problem arise, will you follow through and help to find a solution?

Trust is a very powerful emotion for humans and is something that needs to be nurtured in a relationship.  Always look for ways to build on the trust that you have established. The bridge of trust can span over any valley and can withstand the forces of nature.

This idea of combining these three pieces into a business relationship sounds simple enough, but it is something that does require work, on both ends of the relationship.  Cultivating these types of relationships is essential to successful businesses and should not be taken for granted.  They are an important part of any business model and will continue to be in the future.  Even with all the technology that can be used to communicate and conduct business, the personal relationships that we create can’t be recreated with computer chips and should always be a vital part of business.

What ways have you found to cultivate these 3 keys to success?

Bill Hoover – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.