Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Yoram Solomon. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Yoram, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. What’s the backstory behind how you came up with the idea for your business?
I was always involved with innovation. Whether as an engineer in companies I worked for, or later by helping other companies generate creative ideas. When it was time to come up with a topic for my PhD dissertation, I was aiming low. “A good dissertation is a DONE dissertation,” I was told. But my dissertation mentor was expecting more of me. “I want you to research something that will improve the lives of others,” he said. So, I came up with topic ideas, and he kept knocking them down. That went on for a few minutes, while I was becoming increasingly frustrated with him. Until, at some point, he asked me one of the most pivotal questions in my life: “Yoram, what pissed you off?” “Well, you!” I wanted to say, but the words that came out of my mouth were, “why are people so much more creative when they work in small startup companies than when they work in large mature companies?” You see, I worked in many startup companies but at the time I was working in a company with 35,000 employees which was anything but a startup. There was quiet on the other side of the line, and then he said, “I think we have a topic.” I spent the next two years interviewing people who worked in both types of companies all over the U.S., Canada, China, Europe, and Israel. I can summarize that 348-page dissertation in two words: innovation culture. That’s when I realized I’m on to something. So, I started helping companies build a culture of innovation. Then, one day, after I sent my seventh book, Culture Starts with YOU, Not your Boss!, to the editor, I met with a prospective client. To my amazement, I found that the company had none of the positive components of a strong innovation culture, and all of the negative ones. As a true researcher, I was more interested in understanding why than in closing business. The more I asked questions, the more I realized that the reason was that they lacked trust in the company. Management didn’t trust the employees, the employees didn’t trust management, and nobody trusted nobody else. I was fascinated, and that was when I first wrote a chapter called Building Trust and added it to the book, that had just came back from the editor. That’s why all the typos and grammatical errors are concentrated in that one, six-page chapter. At that time, I started researching trust. Learning what it was. How it behaves. Why are some people trusted and others are not. I felt that I reached a fork in the road, so I asked 20 of my closest friends and family members if they think I should stick with innovation, the topic I’ve been working on for several decades, or switch to trust. Nineteen of them urged me to stick with innovation. So I switched to trust… The uniqueness of my fresh perspective on trust is that I believe that trust is relative, and not universal, absolute, or static, as most prior work on trust suggested. In fact, the same thing that might cause one person to trust you, might cause another person to distrust you. Over the years of researching trust I observed the 8 laws of trust, developed a 6-component trust model, and a 7-step process to form habits that build trust.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
When I turned 50, I started wondering what I should do in retirement. There was no way I would lie in bed and watch TV all day. So, I asked myself what my most satisfying activities are. There are three: I love to study and research, speak and teach, and write. Why not turn that into a business? So, that year, 2015, I left a job as an Executive Vice President in a public technology company and started my business. The core of my business is the half- or full-day Trust Habits workshop which I give companies and organizations, in almost every industry. It is made of three parts: Inspiration, Education, and Application. The inspiration part is also what I do when I deliver a keynote, which I’ve done a lot. It tells the story of why I chose this topic, engages and inspires the audience, and leaves then with two insights: that trust is relative, and that the building block of trust is their trustworthiness. The second part, Education, explains my 6-component model of trustworthiness, and helps participants understand their own trustworthiness, as viewed by people they want to be trusted by. The outcome of this part is that every participant identifies one thing that they are doing that’s holding them back from being more trusted. The third part is the Application part. Here, I use a 7-step process I developed that allows every participant to develop their own plan to form a new habit that will make them more trusted. To complement my workshops, I published 16 books, more than 20 online courses, have a podcast and a YouTube channel (both called The TRUST Show), through which I deliver new and fresh trust-related content.
What’s been the most effective strategy for growing your clientele?
I was told that to get new clients you must make calls. You call all the time. I don’t like calling, and I don’t believe that cold calls work. In fact, I wrote about that in The Book of TRUST. I asked myself, would I prefer to cold-call someone who may not be in a position to hire me for a gig, doesn’t have the budget, isn’t interested in my topic, or not looking for a speaker/workshop facilitator right now, or have someone who is in a position to hire me for those, has the budget, is interested in my topic, and has done their research and found that I’m the right person for them call me? Obviously, the latter. So, how do I get them to call me? Simple! A lot of work. Instead of calling them out of the blue, I make sure that when they are looking for an expert on trust, they will find me. It starts with creating a LOT of content, and all the time. Every week, I write a trust-related article, record a podcast on that topic, and a video on it. I edit them, split the video into 3-5 parts, so I can post those separately. I use YouTube, Apple (and other) Podcast platforms, my website, LinkedIn, and Facebook to push my fresh content. Customers find me. I establish my credibility before they ever call. But it’s a lot of work. I often find myself speaking with aspiring speakers, who believe they can develop their speaking business while working full time for another company, and will transition to fulltime speaking once they generate enough income from it. I ask them if they are willing to spend one hour every weeknight and five hours every weekend to build their business. They hesitate from making such a commitment. Well, I tell them, if you did that, you would spend some 500 hours a year building your business. My business started growing to the point I knew I was going to be successful once I reached approximately 12,000 hours. If you spend 500 hours a year, it will take you 24 years to get to that turning point.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
When I started this business, I looked up to people who have done it before and were successful. I took their advice and changed things all the time, just to learn that the changes didn’t work for me. It was a very frustrating process. My biggest lesson was to never take advice. See what other people do. See what would work for you, and what wouldn’t. Sometimes, all you have to learn from someone else is what NOT to do. That’s still learning. But you always have to keep in mind that you are not them. What works for them may not work for you, just like what works for you might not work for them.
- Website: https://www.yoramsolomon.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoramsolomon/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBookofTrust
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yoramsolomon/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/yoramsolomon
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheTrustShow
- Other: Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-trust-show/id1569249060 eSpeakers: https://www.espeakers.com/marketplace/profile/29339