According to the Golin/Harris Annual Trust Survey, it appears that trust is a significant issue for most business sectors. This annual survey identifies the degree and direction of trust across more than 25 different business sectors.
A negative index number signals trust challenges that should be addressed "immediately, conscientiously and consistently." The higher the negative index, the more severe the trust problem.
The trust survey indicates which industries Americans trust the most and trust the least, and determines the extent to which trust in them has increased or decreased over the past year.
Using the trust survey methodology, businesses are identified by how well or poorly they are trusted, the direction in which trust in them is heading, and the key actions that should be taken to become a trusted brand.
The trust survey uncovered at least 14 business sectors that have scores of -25 or less – with an average of -20 for all companies studied. Some of these sectors include:
Source: Golin/Harris Trust Survey - 2002
A poll conducted by Gallup shows trust is also a significant issue for various business professions. The opinion poll asked the public to rate the honesty and ethics of 21 professions.
Fewer than one in five rated the following business professions as "high or very high" in terms of honesty and ethics:
These surveys show there is a fundamental problem with trust today. Of course, 100% of the people reviewing this chart will say they're in the 20% to 6% minority depending upon profession. And if you asked one hundred professionals, all one hundred would say they are trustworthy. Unfortunately for all of us, trust is a reality based solely on the perceptions of potential buyers. And the reality is that prospects don't trust us as much as we think they do.
In fact, when we are selling, we significantly overestimate the level of trust we have earned with prospects. According to one study of interactions between buyers and sellers, sellers overestimate the trust buyers have in them by 30%!
The good news, though, is most companies and business professionals are in the same boat in that their trust levels are relatively low in the minds of prospects. The better news is for those companies and professionals who use this information to proactively take actions that will result in them being truly trusted by prospects.