The One Minute Millionaire Diamond Mine
 Inner Wealth Perspective
 Influence: The Five Cs of Trust
 by Kurt Mortensen


The first of the 5 Cs of Trust is Character. Character is the combination of qualities that distinguish one person from another. Put another way, your character is who you are on the inside. It’s the things you do if you think no one’s ever going to find out. Aristotle said, “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” People of character have integrity, honesty, sincerity, and maturity. In fact, in a Korn/Ferry and UCLA-conducted study, it was found that 71% of 1,300 surveyed senior executives said that integrity was the quality most needed to succeed in business.

I consider integrity to be the foundation of character. In the Bible, integrity refers to individuals whose actions match the teachings and word of God. In his best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about how integrity is crucial to one’s ultimate success:

If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to be more motivated, to like me and each other—while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity or insincerity— then, in the long run, I cannot be successful. My duplicity will breed distrust, and everything I do—even using so-called good human relations techniques—will be perceived as manipulative. It simply makes no difference how good the rhetoric is or even how good the intentions are; if there is little or no trust, there is no foundation for permanent success. Only basic goodness gives life to technique.

Having integrity is like having a rock solid dam. People know a good, solid dam will hold and provide many benefits, such as electricity, water, and recreation. If you are perceived as lacking in integrity, however, it’s like having holes and leaks in your dam. When the leaks appear, everyone downstream abandons their trust in the old dam and seeks higher ground. Respect is lost and they place their trust in someone they believe has greater integrity. We can all learn from the wisdom of the ancient Israelite, King Solomon. He is recorded as saying, “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” If owning a good reputation is like owning gold, then owning integrity is like owning the mine. Abraham Lincoln gave another good analogy: “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

Notice my choice of the words “perceive” and “believe” in the preceding paragraph. It is wise to avoid even the appearance of anything one may consider as immoral or as a breach of integrity. It is human nature for people to cast sweeping judgments and even spread their opinions when they don’t have all the facts. If you never place yourself in a situation where one might be misled about you or your integrity, your good, hard-earned reputation will never be compromised. D. L. Moody once stated, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” Don’t ever do the type of things that would make you or your family cringe to hear or read about. Striving to maintain integrity is like having a Guardian Angel. If you pay attention, it will keep you on track. Remember the adage of Phillips Brooks, a nineteenth century clergyman: “Character is made in the small moments in our lives.”

Abraham Lincoln stands as a worthy role model for one who wants to develop character. He once said, “When I lay down the reins of this administration, I want to have one friend left. And that friend is inside myself.” This was a particularly poignant desire given that Lincoln was criticized so viciously when he was in office. Nevertheless, he always remained true to what he believed in his heart was right and true.

The Latin root of the word “sincerity” is sincerus, which means “without wax.” Pillar sculptors sometimes used wax to hide their mistakes so they could still pass their work off as unflawed. Years of weathering eventually revealed their deception. So, a sincere person was considered to be one without wax or camouflage. Today, wax or no wax, the average person can sense falsehood, deception, or insincerity. There is more to being honest than just not getting caught in a lie. Author Joseph Sugarman explains, “Every time you are honest and conduct yourself with honesty, a success force will drive you toward greater success. Each time you lie, even with a little white lie, there are strong forces pushing you toward failure.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Trustworthiness increases when we are big enough to own up to our mistakes and weaknesses. People can forgive weakness, but they won’t be as quick to forgive cover-ups. Oftentimes, if a salesperson is open about a weakness or drawback in a particular product, he or she still closes the deal. If you can present both sides of an issue, you will be considered more fair and honest. Often your honesty will be the characteristic that wins people over. It is better to risk rejection than to hide something your prospect will find out later.

Honesty in marketing sells. Companies that reveal a product’s weaknesses are perceived as more honest and trustworthy. Many master marketers can turn that weakness into a positive selling point. When we reveal the negatives, not only does it increase trust, but the prospect opens her mind and the negatives are always accepted as truth. Think of the following examples:

Avis™ – We are #2 and we try harder
Listerine™ – The taste you hate twice a day
7-UP™ – The Un-cola
L’Oreal™ – Because I’m worth it
Volkswagon™ – VW will stay ugly long

In the next Millionaire Diamond Mine, we will review
the Second of the Five Cs of Trust: Competence.


Excerpts taken from Magnetic Persuasion by Kurt Mortensen

Kurt Mortensen, author of Exponential Success Skills and Weapons of Influence, is one of American’s leading authorities on Persuasion, Motivation and Influence. After receiving a Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelors of Arts, he began many successful entrepreneurial ventures, through which he has acquired many years of both experience and success. In addition to his extensive entrepreneurial and sales experiences, Kurt is a sales and persuasion coach helping thousands of people reach higher levels of success, income and persuasion mastery. Currently, he is a speaker, consultant, and a Trainer for Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen Protégés.