Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

We talk about the value of networking, but let’s be clear: We’re not talking about the old days, where you’d go to a cocktail mixer with a pocketful of business cards that you’d lob at passersby like a ninja hurling stars at victims.

Let me start by saying, when I first started using Twitter in 2008. I didn’t really know who I should “follow” or what it was all about. But I can still remember, as I was listening to some of the ongoing conversations, I kept hearing one person’s name being mentioned over and over again. And thus, I “followed” @ChrisBrogan because everyone was talking about him.

I wanted to find out who he was for myself.

Over time, Chris really began to earn my trust through the value he provides daily through his content posts via Twitter & his blog. Thus, over 18 months later, I decided it was time to read his book – Trust Agents (co-authored with Julien Smith).

I really enjoyed this book because of the stories and life illustrations Chris & Julien use. They give you basics on building trust online in every day examples that are easy to grasp and understand.

Being a Trust Agent is someone who looks out for others interests, connecting others within his/her network. They are usually looked upon with admiration and respect with a true sense of integrity and humanness in how they do business. Our goal as online connectors should be to build trust in our networks.

A Trust Agent Thinks Differently

Has a different mentality. A “help everyone achieve and grow” mentality. Rather than cutthroat and back stabbing. Chris sums up this thought by saying:

You guys can try your tactics or do whatever you’d like. While you’re doing that, I’ll be over here improving my business.’ Take the high road. ‘I’m trying to raise the level of what I’m doing, so you have to compete with me, not the other way around.

Why we trust people is the same; it’s only the ways we come to be trusted that have been changing, and that’s because communication has been changing.

With the move toward online, instant communication where updates, deals, ideas, news all find us…trust is still the main component of building a solid relationship, but how we should be going about this has changed entirely.

I recommend reading this book. Especially if you are looking to get your brand online and begin connecting.

The last thought I’ll leave here is one that I hear often from clients wanting to hit the big homerun at the first at bat. Julien & Chris really speak to this by writing:

So if you’re looking for a lot of attention from a lot of people, start by having one small success that gets you some, maybe even in one small community. After you find that one success, let it propel you towards others. Keep working until you have that first victory, and then use it to leverage yourself into the next one. After that, the key is to maintain your momentum.

Build trust by being human in your business, leveraging your successes, connecting within your networks, and building an army of supporters. It’s not an overnight, easy process, but stick to the fundamentals in this book and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Trust Agent in your field.

  • Chris Walsh

    Sounds like the same concept as ‘Referral of a Lifetime’, need to build relationships of honor and integrity, and business will naturally follow. Will probably carve time out to read this.

  • Tim

    Chris, this book is slated directly toward online relationship building. Definitely a good read if you’re looking to learn more about how we as people interact online.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Chris Brogan…

    Super happy to hear your review. Thanks for it, and I’m glad you got something out of the book. Thanks, also, for following. : )