When People Say “You Can Trust Me”, I Don’t

When people say, “you can trust me”, I usually don’t.  Trust is not something you have to say or talk about.

Trust is more of  an intuitive thing. It’s based on your experience with the person or similar people.   And there re many kinds of trust. Not just about money.

ImageIf I don’t trust their competence or their ability to get the job done, you might want to skip out on working with them.When I was really broke and living with H in a 6 mat room, I turned down a  2 week training job because I did not trust the guy who ran the training company.  As broke as I was, I’d rather not work on a job that I knew would be hell.

Last week, a young Korean lawyer who visited the gallery asked me “how do you get your artists to trust you.”

I had never thought about getting them to trust me.

I just trust them.  And hope that they will trust me.  And I don’t give them any reason not too.

We’re honest with them.  We [me and H ]help them with their careers.  We spend a lot of time, money and energy promoting their work.

In the art business it’s always about trust.  If something comes up that might lead to conflict, we talk about it and try to avoid misunderstandings.

We trust our customers too.  Today, a very good client came in and chose two paintings.  He wanted to hang them up this week for a party he is having.  He didn’t have any money and his credit card is “maxed out”.  We sent him home with the works.  He said he’ll pay us later and we believe him.  We didn’t ask him to sign anything. He really loved the works.  He’l pay.  We are glad to do this for our good customers. It makes everything so easy.

ImageWe’ve even done this with first time visitors who “couldn’t get their credit card to work in a foreign country”, We have never been stiffed.  As soon as they got back to England or Germany, they sent a bank transfer.

And this foundation of trust saves us a lot of time and makes things smooth. Yes, it is an “Asian” way of doing business, and yes, it is old fashioned, but it works really well for us.

I’m always a bit surprised when people ask me to sign a contract or receipt, especially if it is for a small amount. I always consider my word more important than a signed piece of paper.  And I can’t imagine that the piece of paper would be worth anything if I reneged.  Is someone going to go to the trouble of suing me?  I doubt it.

Trust. It feels good. And something else.  It saves time.

Maybe we should consider trust a time management strategy.


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