Those 3 Magic Little Words


Know, Like and Trust. I had worked in corporate jobs for more than two decades before I ever heard these words, mentioned casually by someone who threw them out, assuming everyone understood their significance.

The longer version is: People do business with people they know, like and trust.

At first I thought the aphorism seemed over simplistic, until I started paying attention to my own behavior and realized how much I preferred some business relationships over others.

And how in certain circumstances where I am not the expert, I need to trust someone else’s expertise.

A lot of this has been swirling in my head again recently because we are getting ready to sell our house and relocate. We have been talking to a lot of different people during this process, and meeting a parade of various specialists with sometimes differing opinions about what we should do to prepare.

It’s stressful because some of the decisions are important. Trusting the expertise of someone else?

So much easier when I already know, like and trust them.

I believe savvy businesspeople intentionally seek ways to be known and liked, and as a result trusted.

To me, a corollary to this magic is that it will also build customer loyalty. When no one is making much of an effort to be known and liked, it not only doesn’t build trust, it also doesn’t create loyalty in me.

When we first moved to the Cincinnati suburb where we’ve been living, I looked for a dry cleaner near my home. I found a convenient one so I kept using them for a few years. While I wasn’t a raving fan, I don’t have to be to do business with someone who has services or goods I need. However, I realized later, that’s true only until something better comes along.


The various employees in the shop seemed indifferent as to whether I came in or not and whether I was happy with their service. They seemed a bit indifferent about how they kept their store, as well. So when I found another dry cleaner out another direction that was equally convenient, I quickly made a switch in part because of the effort I felt they were making with a spic’n’span shop and pleasant employees.

All of this thought got me thinking about how I show up for my clients and prospective clients. What do I do to build trust, and make sure I don’t let that trust erode?

While one could argue this is different for authors, I’d say that at least for some authors, the same principles apply. The more your readers know, like and trust you, the better they will be drawn to your books. Nonfiction authors are experts in their field, so reader trust is even more important.

So how do you accomplish it? Meeting people face to face is wonderful, as is participating in local community and charitable events. When in person isn’t possible, social media can be a great avenue for letting people get to know you a bit better. Emails like this one, blog posts, and even media interviews are other great ways to build on know, like and trust with your audience.

Soon my husband and I will be customers in a new community again, reacting to the experiences of new-to-us businesses.  I’ll be looking for the ones who are trying to be known, liked and trusted.

Originally sent as an email to the Buoyancy community on July 23, 2021.
Joni Sullivan Baker
jbaker@buoyancypr.com