VRS558 - Mastering Trust: Strategies for Success in Short-Term Rentals with Yoram Solomon

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This episode is sponsored by Lodgify, an all-in-one solution that will help you start, manage, and grow your short-term rental business.

Use Code VRF10 for 10% off their Professional and Ultimate yearly plans

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Trust is the cornerstone of our business.  Owners needs to trust managers and OTAs to market their properties successfully, guests have to trust their hosts to deliver on their promises, and mutual trust underpins the relationships between the community and the short-term rentals that operate in their locales.

In this episode Heather delves deep into the concept of trust with Dr. Yoram Solomon, an innovator and globally recognized thought leader. Yoram, celebrated for his extensive work on trust and its pivotal role in organizational success, brings his insights into the vacation rental industry, sharing invaluable strategies to build and maintain trust with guests and property owners alike. He discusses the essential nature of trust in all business interactions and its profound impact on a company’s reputation and operational success. With his rich background in technology, business management, and as a prolific author, he offers practical advice that can be implemented immediately by vacation rental managers.

Whether you’re a seasoned vacation rental manager or just starting out, this episode is packed with actionable insights that can help you set your business apart by cultivating a trustworthy brand. Dr. Solomon’s advice will not only help you improve your interactions with guests and owners, but also boost your overall business performance by fostering a culture of trust.

Key highlights of this episode include:

  • The foundational importance of trust in the short-term rental business model.
  • The dynamics of trust and its relativity in business interactions.
  • The importance of personalized communication and how to leverage it to enhance guest and owner relations.
  • Managing online reviews and turning potential negatives into opportunities for demonstrating reliability and responsiveness.
  • The concept of transferable trust and how vacation rental managers can leverage existing customer trust to attract new business.
  • Insights into the importance of tailored communication in building trust.
  • An exploration of how technology can be utilized to build and maintain trust with guests and owners.
  • How to integrate trust at every level of operations, from marketing strategies to customer service and management practices.


The Book of Trust: Build Trust, Be Trusted, and Know Who to Trust (Solomon)

The (mini) Book of Trust (Solomon)

The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything (Covey)

Trusted Leader: 8 Pillars That Drive Results (Horsager)

Who's featured in this episode?

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Mike Bayer:

This episode is brought to you by Lodgify. Lodgify is your all in one platform for managing and scaling your short-term rental business. From easily publishing your own bookable website, to managing all your day-to-day tasks in just in one place. Whether you're a seasoned host or starting out, Lodgify can simplify your journey to building your thriving vacation rental business.

And with Lodgify, you can accept direct bookings and payments, sync your reservations across all major booking sites, and automate your workflows, helping you save time while increasing your revenue. It's the smart way to grow your business, keep your guests satisfied, and enjoy what you do. So get started today, and make sure you use the code VRF10, that's VRF10, for 10% off your professional and ultimate yearly plans when signing up.

Heather Bayer:

In this episode, we're joined by Dr. Yoram Solomon, an innovator and thought leader, renowned for his work on trust and innovation. Recognized globally, Dr. Solomon is the author of 19 books. He's been named one of the top thinkers on culture by Thinkers360, and he's been a trusted advisor for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

He also teaches entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University and has a rich background in technology, law and business management. Join us as we dive into the importance of trust in all of our relationships.

This is the Vacation Rental Success Podcast, keeping you up-to-date with news, views, information and resources on this rapidly changing short-term rental business. I'm your host Heather Bayer and with 25 years of experience in this industry, I'm making sure you know what's hot, what's not, what's new, and what will help make your business a success.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the vacation rental success podcast. This is your host Heather Bayer. And as ever, I'm super happy to be back with you once again. And today we're talking about trust. I spoke about this in a presentation at the Canstays Rental Alliance Conference in Banff a few weeks ago and I shared some information on trust and neuroscience and how our brains react to different trust signals in a website.

But there's so much more to it than that. And trust underpins everything we do. It's in our relationships with guests, with owners, with the community in which we operate, and the teams with whom we work. And trust is just a core value and a principle that helps us be successful. So I'm honored today to have a global expert in trust with me.

Dr. Yoram Solomon has published 19 books. He has 22 patents and was one of the creators of Wi-Fi and USB 3.0 technologies. I have to share with you that while I was in Banff a couple of weeks ago, my son and business partner Mike and I were sharing a condo and we got back to the condo in the evening and I said, Mike, I'm interviewing Yoram Solomon this week, and I said, I can't remember what the topic is.

It's one of those senior moments I think. And Mike said, that's no problem, we'll look him up on Google. And a couple of minutes later Mike said, Mum, seriously. In fact, I cannot repeat what he said. It was wholly something. And he said, Mum, do you know who you're interviewing? He said Dr. Solomon was one of the creators of the expression Wi-Fi and USB 3.0 technologies. And I'm going, Oh, that's important, is it?

I found Dr. Solomon when I was researching Trust for the presentation I did, and I had no idea of Dr. Solomon's previous work with Texas Instruments. It really is quite absorbing, and I left Mike to do the research on it. But I am so happy to be able to introduce you to Dr. Solomon, and he's going to share some of that wisdom that he has on the world of trust. So without further ado, let's go on over to the interview with Yoram Solomon.

I am so delighted to have with me today Dr. Yoram Solomon, who is, I think, the world expert on trust?

Yoram Solomon:

I wouldn't go that far, but an expert on trust.

Heather Bayer:

Say, global expert on trust.

Yoram Solomon:

Let's say this, somebody who's committed to trust.

Heather Bayer:


Yoram Solomon:

And for those of you who could not see and only listen, I just showed my hand tattoo that says trust. That's the only tattoo I have on my body.

Heather Bayer:

And a very worthy tattoo it is as well. You must have a picture of that you can send to us.

Yoram Solomon:

I actually don't, I'll take a picture. I never took a professional picture of my trust tattoo.


Just take a selfie and then that will be fine. Dr. Yoram, can I just call you Yoram?

Yoram Solomon:


Heather Bayer:

That fine, Yoram? Thank you. You, I've been researching a lot. I've looked at all your TED Talks and listened to a lot of podcasts. You have done a lot. Your careers spanned all sorts of different things.

You've got technology, there's education, organizational management. What got you into the world of trust?

Yoram Solomon:

It's kind of a funny story, because I was working on my PhD re dissertation and I was on the phone with my mentor and trying to come up with the topic for my dissertation. Now if you ever do a PhD or anybody who's doing a PhD You will know that one of the things they tell you about the dissertation is that a good dissertation is a done dissertation because most people will never finish it because, you're on your own.

You have your own schedule. And so I'm trying to come up with simple topics. My mentor is trying to push me to come up with something bigger and better. And at some point I came up with the topic, you already mentioned that I started with engineering and a lot of technology in my background.

And I was always involved with innovation. I have patents that I issued. I have at some point when I worked in Texas instruments, they even each created a brochure with my picture called It's TI's greatest innovator. And so innovation was always my thing. And what I realized is I worked in a lot of small startup companies.

I worked in a lot of large companies. Not a lot, but a few large companies. And I could feel differences in the level of creativity. And so my question was, why is the level of creative? Why are people so much more creative when they work in small startup companies than when they work in large mature companies?

This ended up being the topic of my dissertation. And as it turns out the rest of my life professional career. And it came down to what I define as a culture of innovation. And as I kept on researching culture of innovation, what I found was that it's not only innovation, it's innovation, it's productivity, it's creativity.

It's a lot of things in the organization that are really at the... you don't start with innovation, that's the second floor of a building. The first floor is the culture and the foundation is trust. And that's what I found. I found the trust was the foundation and I started researching trust.

I started doing some initial research. After some initial research, I realized that I'm in a junction and I asked myself I actually not just myself, I asked 20 of my closest friends and family members, what do you think I should do? Should I stick with innovation or switch to trust? 19 out of 20 said stick with innovation.

So I switched to trust.

Heather Bayer:

I like the way you move with that. You've said in some of your TED Talks and your podcasts that you look at trust differently.

Yoram Solomon:


Heather Bayer:

Can you explain what that is? Because over the past six months, it's just in the past six months that I've really got into that trust is really at the.... it is one of the pillars, one of, it is the pillar of our vacation rental industry. And I've done a lot of reading and talking to people in this business who focus on trust. But then I hear you say, we're not perhaps looking at it the right way. So can you explain that?

Yoram Solomon:

No! Okay. Yes, I will. To me embarking on the topic of trust, I've, I did what you're probably doing now. And that's read everything that there is to read about trust, whether it was Stephen M. R. Covey's 2006 book The Speed of Trust and Horsager and others.

So I started reading a lot about trust and reading articles, and then I paused. And I asked myself, how do I see trust? So I read a lot of research articles. Not just popular reading, but research articles. How do they define trust? And then I asked myself, I looked in the mirror and I asked, am I looking at it the same way?

Because if I'm looking at it the same way, I really don't want to be that person that says what everybody else said before him. And I realized that there are several ways in which I look at it differently. One of them is that trust is relative. That's one of the biggest ones. Trust is relative. Up until now, everything you're going to read about trust will give you a list of qualities.

Horsager has these eight pillars and Covey has these four main qualities. And the thing is the way they look at it is, here's the checklist. If you can check every box as good in that list, you're going to be trusted. If you don't check all of them as good, or the fewer that you check as good, you're not going to be trusted.

And the thing is that's good. If you assume that everything is absolute and universal. Now telling the truth is absolute and universal. You're not going to trust somebody who knowingly and intentionally lies to you, but how about risk taking? How about being a risk taker? Is that a quality that would make you trusted or not trusted?

And the answer is, it depends on who you're asking because the same behavior, and that's one of my biggest beliefs, the same behavior that would cause one person to trust me would cause another person to distrust me. So if you don't mind I'll apply to your industry, the short-term rental industry and tell you that not all customers are the same.

And what you do could get you the trust of some of them and not others. Another way where I look at it differently is that trust is really not only dependent on your trustworthiness. So we like to think that if I'm trustworthy, then everybody's going to trust me. We already know that it's relative, but even without it, the level of trust that one person has in another, let's talk about your client has in you, is the product of your trustworthiness, no doubt about that. And their 'trustfullness', their willingness to trust people. And, whenever I give keynotes or workshops, I give several examples of, we are the sum of our experiences and you may decide that, I don't trust people from Texas. Why, I got exposed to a few people from Texas, I had bad experiences from with them. I don't trust them. I, for example, has exactly the opposite opinion on people from Canada. I think Canadians are the nicest people ever. Whenever I think about a Canadian, your starting point in trust for me is already higher than especially people from New York.

But the so there is that part of trustfulness. The last thing where I differentiated myself there are more, but the last big thing where I differentiated myself is by saying, it's not enough if I tell you. What in your specific situation in a specific relationship, what you have to do to be more trusted there knowing knowledge is not enough.

And what I did was, and this especially goes in my workshops and masterclass, not so much in, when I give a keynote, it's what I call trust habits, and it's a process that I developed that helps people form new habits. That change all behaviors. And build trust. So it's the actionable part of trust and not just I'll tell you what you're doing, I'll tell you what you're doing wrong, and that's it, you go figure it out.

Heather Bayer:

So let me give you a situation here, it's something that everybody in our industry, certainly those who are acting in a very professional manner are struggling with, and that is the might and the power of Airbnb. Airbnb came along in 2007, by 2014, it was a powerful force in the market. And they have spent billions on getting guests to trust them with going to a stranger's house by virtue of simply putting a listing on a website. But the way they have versed it, it is, you can trust us because we have safety guarantees and we have other trust signals that tell you tell you're going to be okay. So when a host or a property manager decides that they don't want to use Airbnb, they want to go it alone, create their own website. This is where the big challenge is, because how do they get these same people who are the Airbnb trust signals to come to their website and to trust them when Airbnb is saying Don't trust those little people, because we've been doing this for a long time. I've actually been in this industry for 28 years now. Long before Airbnb. And people were way more trusting back then. They would book a property from a tiny little classified ad.

Now it's a different process. So can you give me some help on how these property managers and hosts can make themselves more trustworthy?

Yoram Solomon:

Definitely. So one thing that I didn't mention is that over the years I have observed eight laws of trust. Now I didn't make them up. I didn't invent them. I didn't create them. I just observed them and reported them. And I reported them in The Book of Trust and a few others after that. And I'll touch on trust law number five. Trust is transferable. And I typically I start with an example typically from a slightly different industry, but relatively close to yours. And I asked people, When you were young, did your parents tell you to never get into a car with a stranger? And, obviously you were, and everybody was told by their parents, never go into a car with a stranger.

Probably not in Canada. In Canada, you can, because they're all nice there, but you never enter a car with a stranger. And then I asked the audience, did you get this advice when you were kids? Yes, And do you go into a car with a stranger? And before you answer, I put a logo of Uber. So they go into a car with a stranger.

My podcast, The Trust Show is in its 13th season. The first episode of this season, I would encourage everybody listening to us right now to listen to that one, episode one of season 13, because it is about transferable trust. So what do I mean by transferable trust? Why do we trust a Uber?

Let me switch back to your industry. Why do we trust Airbnb? We trust Airbnb because they're big. We trust them because one thing that they do is they brainwash us. They have the money to put.... look, you have a small company that has some rental properties. Can you afford a Superbowl ad? And the answer is no, but Airbnb can. So there is an element of brainwashing, but there's also an element of quantity versus quality. Because when you go there, tell me that you're not looking at the reviews. Of course you are. And you got a lot of reviews and those are people that you don't know.

So you the renter, you don't know those people who rented before you, but there are many of them and there are many five star reviews. So you trust people that you don't know. And basically, you don't trust them very much, but there are many of them. There, there's 500 reviews. So you trust the fact that, 500 people cannot be lying to you. You also do trust Airbnb as a company. And you say, if they said this is a good rental place, then I trust them. But there's an alternative to that. The alternative to that is quality. And that is if you look at me as a speaker, I'm not on this Airbnb type thing, where there are hundreds and thousands of reviews of everybody who ever attended one of my keynotes, because there are probably hundreds of thousands of people that heard me speak in a keynote, but they don't all put reviews in whatever website and people will hire me based on that. They hire me based on quality of a much smaller number of people. So I think where it goes to your industry, to the short-term rentals, this is where you go through a lot more of word of mouth. How do I use the word of mouth to get from one customer to another customer? This is how people reach me, by the way. So, I'm going to combine a couple of things. One of them is the more personal reviews, so more on referrals rather than, 'anonymous never heard of them before' type of reviews, which is again why I would recommend going to that first episode.

But the other thing is what is on your website? See, I trust you based on, and I built this model of trust. And I trust you based on six components. Three of them are who you are. Three of them are what you do. The, who you are, they're made of competence, personality, compatibility, and symmetry.

Symmetry is more of a situational thing. You are who you are. They are who they are. Competence and personality, compatibility, are things that you can convey through your website. Now, the last thing that I would tell you to put on your website is 'Trusted by, many people'. We're past that. We're past that. Everybody uses this. We're the most trusted. Says who? Who said that you're trusted? You can instead put indicators to why I should trust you. So this is before I ever get exposed to you. The second part is what happens after I got exposed to you. The positivity, the time and the intimacy.

So for example, whenever somebody reaches out to me to consider hiring me to do a keynote, what I tell them is let's have a Zoom call. I just need to know your price. Let's have a Zoom call. Let me first know what is it that you're looking for. Once we have the Zoom call, and I'm sure that you can feel right now how passionate I am about trust, and if I started throwing numbers from all of the research that I've done, I will add a lot more to my credibility.

There are really two things that I'm doing here. It's one of them is no BS. You don't get BS. When I say Trust me, I'm trusted, that's BS, and everybody knows that. Don't use it.

Empathy. Big thing is empathy, and empathy is not compassion. It's not pity. It's not sympathy. Empathy is your ability to see things from the other person's perspective, as if you were them, not you, and it's your ability to really read and understand the person who's hiring you, or not hiring you in this case, renting from you. See things from their perspective and speak their language. What I'm doing right now is empathy, because I've been doing some research before I came in to this show, to know your podcast, to know your audience, to know what they care about. I'm not making stuff up for them, but I'm focusing on what they care about, your audience, rather than generic things. And then there is the time and intimacy. The more time you spend with someone, the more you trust them, the more intimate. And that's why I said to have a Zoom call rather than exchange emails, you get that too.

One little thing that I would tell you, or you know what, two things that I would give you as real advice along the lines of this model. One of them is put videos on the website, but don't put videos of the properties. Okay? We all know how videos of the properties are taken.

By the way, one important thing, and that is there's the trust before the transaction, the trust after the transaction. Trust before the transaction, it's really the trust that I'm getting more value than the value that I attribute to the amount of money that I need to pay you. The trust after the transaction is, was the value, not less than what I got than what I thought I was getting when I signed up. Was the price, not higher than .... so was the value not lower, was the price not higher than what I thought I was paying. Put some great shots of the property, and then I go into the property and it doesn't look anything like the pictures or the video.

Guess what the probability is that you keep me as a customer? By the way, guess what the probability is that I give a good review. How would you like to have this review? The property doesn't look anything like what was advertised. So I'll give you a few possible reviews. One of them is, property was dirty, was not maintained, looked so great on the website, looks I don't know what, when I visited. How would you like that review? How would you like a review that says the property was pretty much like I saw on the video. How would you like the review? The video doesn't do justice to how good this property is. Those are very powerful testimonials, by the way.

So videos, but not videos necessarily of the property itself, but videos of people, videos of the people who run the property. Videos of actual customers being happy. That is that component of intimacy. And that, that just increases trustworthiness, even though you're small, you're not Airbnb. That was the long answer.

Heather Bayer:

That was a great answer!

Yoram Solomon:

And that's all the time we have.

Heather Bayer:

It sparks up all sorts of questions, so you just hang around.

Yoram Solomon:


Heather Bayer:

I'm going to take a short break just now to hear about our sponsor. We're going to be right back with more from this great interview in just a few moments.

So once again, I'm welcoming Dennis Klett from Lodgify. Dennis, great to have you back. How does Lodgify facilitate guest communication and experience? Because that's so important to hosts these days.

Dennis Klett:

It is. We facilitate this using what we call our unified inbox. So that's essentially a place where all guest communication, no matter whether it's come from your website, Airbnb, Vrbo, or, they all enter as a unified inbox in Lodgify, which eliminates the needs to jump between multiple booking platforms to communicate with your guests. The second thing would be what we call scheduled autoresponders, which is a thing you can set up using email templates. And you can then say send these emails whenever a certain trigger appears.

For example, if a guest makes a booking, we would automatically send a specific email that you have set up, or when a guest makes a payment, or when, let's say, guests arrives, it's 5 days before arriving or 3 days after departing. That's a great way to automate your messages.

And then the last thing we just recently launched is the AI assistant. It's a tool that actually generates responses for you. So it understands the question that the guest is asking you, we feed the AI with information about your short-term rental. Property details, it understands the context of the booking and then it drafts a response that you can still review and edit if you want.

And that's a real time saver and the early adopters are super happy and are power users of that. And we also just introduced a feature when you still opt to respond manually yourself, you can also click the AI system and it would just improve what you just have written. So you can just quickly respond in bullet point form, but then the AI would actually convert this into a real response.

Heather Bayer:

That sounds great, Dennis. Thank you for sharing that.

Heather Bayer:

You mentioned earlier on about indicators on a website. Maybe that's what I've been calling trust signals and videos for sure are one of them. And I've seen sites where there are video, there's video feedback from guests, which is, and they are making the video while they're still at the property. I'm here, we're having the greatest time. That, to me, transcends the few lines of text. Way transcends that. But what other indicators should we have on a website? I was doing a presentation at a conference just recently, when I was talking about websites and saying, what my particular bugbear is seeing all the things on the footer of a website.

You've got your associations that you belong to and maybe somewhere that you've been featured then you go click on them and it takes you outside the site to somewhere completely different. Or you click on it, it doesn't go anywhere at all. I'm interested in hearing from you, are these useful at all? Should we do anything else with them?

Yoram Solomon:

I think that it's really a matter of Do your customers, again, this goes back to empathy. Do your customers consider those important? Do your customers even know what they are? Sometimes they don't even know what they are but they still are like, Oh, this is cool. I've been a member of the National Speakers Association for the last, I don't know, seven or eight years. I have never had someone ask me, Wait, before we hire you, are you a member of the National Speakers Association? Because otherwise we're not going to hire you. No, nobody asked me that. So, I'm not saying you should not do that, but you have to give that the right proportion from the perspective of the person.

This entire website is for what? To make you feel good, to make you look good. No, it's to get customers. It's that simple. It's to get customers. And so what are the kind of signals? First of all, are you considering the customer when you design the website? Is the website designed for a customer?

One thing that I'm not sure if you mentioned that in the introduction, I'm also a professor of entrepreneurship. And one of the things I tell my students is one of the main reasons I'm going to take points off any assignment you're going to write is the use your use of subjective adjectives.

What does this mean? We have a world class team says who? How about you let me decide that you have a world class team? Our CEO is the former X, Y, Z this, who. Now, I think that you have a world class team, but saying that you have a world class team saying that we are trusted; says who? If you can get a video of a customer that says I trust them, I would go there again in a heartbeat.

I would only hire something. There are companies that I buy from that I would only buy from them. There are alternatives, but I would only buy from them. That's the kind of testimonial that you want to put there. One of the best testimonials that I got after a keynote was, one of the questions that the organizers asked, this is an association and one of the questions they asked were, they asked questions about my own session and my delivery and how valuable was the content and so on.

But then they asked general questions about the entire event and they asked what other topics should we bring in the future in future conferences? And I got one person wrote, I don't care, as long as you can bring Yoram back to speak. That's what you want too, but those are the type of testimonials that you want to put there.

When I read that, I go, you know what, that's who I want to rent from. And again, you have, especially today, you have to always consider there is what happens before we buy. There's what happens after we buy. So subjective adjectives, take them out. They do not talk about how good you are. Let others talk about how good you are, provide evidence to how good you are.

The biggest thing here is really that Is there a way for you to create a network where you would actually know that somebody you know had visited there and the technology is there to do that? Just think about LinkedIn and Facebook, right? So if I'm on LinkedIn or Facebook, and, I get a request from you, Heather you want to join me. What's the first thing that I look for? How many people do we have in common? So is there a way for you to use the same technology? And when somebody goes to your website, you already have this little bar at the bottom that says accept cookies. So you're going to put a cookie there and when somebody goes up there, you're going to tell them, Oh, by the way, these are, or if your friends have visited or rented from us, BAM, this is way better than a thousand reviews on Airbnb.

Heather Bayer:

You got me there because that's what I do on LinkedIn. You say I have 123 connections. Oh yeah. Click.

Yoram Solomon:


Heather Bayer:

Really without even looking to see what their resume is and it's just, Oh, you we have the same connections. Therefore I'm trusting you to add you to my network.

Yoram Solomon:

Yeah, I have more than 8,000 followers on LinkedIn. Doesn't matter because you don't know them. 22 of them, and when you see these names, you go, these are people I trust. Therefore I trust this website. So that would be one thing that would be a very powerful thing to do.

Heather Bayer:

Yes, exactly. I want to just shift a little bit to look at a different type. We've been talking about guests, for property managers, their other client are their owners. People who own properties. We'll go to the property management companies and say, here's my $2 million property. Take it. Rent it. Doesn't quite happen like that. There's a lot of trust involved, and I'm looking at your T-shirt where it says Trust Premium, Sell on Trust, Not Price. And I was listening to a podcast this morning where I was hearing you talking about trust preferences and trust premium, and I thought, This really links in. You've got two property managers in the same location, both charging the same commission. So you know where I'm going with this. How does this work? How do you get to this selling on trust and not price and gaining new clients that way?

Yoram Solomon:

First of all, this one by the way, it's a polo shirt. Maybe in Canada, they call all of them T-shirts, but here in the US we call these polo shirts. But anyway, this, by the way, is a perfect example. And I have to give you another story. I have to answer a question you didn't ask even though you asked a very specific question.

These shirts, and I'm not just kidding. I this firm is called Queensborough and they make custom shirts. I used to get my custom shirts elsewhere and I switched to Queensborough. Why did I switch to Queensborough? First, it was price really, it was smaller quantity, smaller, minimum quantity. It was better price. I could have six shirts, each one of them will have a different logo. The others didn't offer that. That was why I chose them at the first time. So one time I think I have 40 shirts from them and other apparels. And one day, I ordered a couple of shirts and again, it's over their website.

The shirts arrived. They were not what I thought they would be. So the fabric was not what I thought it was. The color was not exactly what I thought it was. Now, here's the thing. They sent me what I ordered. They sent me exactly what I ordered. Nothing more. Nothing less, I went back to the website. I looked more carefully and I'm like that was my fault; that was on me.

But I get an email from them. How was your order? And they only give you two options to check. Perfect, not perfect. What do I write? It's not perfect because that's not what I thought I was ordering. And so I wrote not perfect. Didn't take an hour before I get a call. What was wrong with the order?

I said first of all, it's not your fault. So don't worry about it. It's not your fault. My fault. What I thought was different fabric, slightly different color. When I got it, I went and I looked and you sent me what I ordered. There's no doubt. It's just that. What I thought I was ordering was different.

So don't worry. It's not your fault. And she goes, we're going to refund you. I said no, don't refund me, that's not your fault. She said, but it's not perfect. I said, you only gave me two options. Perfect or not perfect. It's not perfect, but it's not your fault. You should not be refunding me. She said, no, we're going to refund you.

I find myself in this absurd argument with them over whether I get a refund or not get a refund. And I'm the one saying, don't send a refund. And she just wouldn't listen. And I get a refund. It keeps the shirts and you get a refund. You know what Heather, I have never went to anybody else. I will always stay with them. That's the whole point of after the fact.

But before. Why did I choose them? Price. So take two providers, take two property managers. Okay. You don't know any of them. Which one will you choose? We already know that there is a trust component. And if you look at their websites, maybe it's going to give you some hints on to who you should choose a better than the other.

Now I have not done research on property managers. I've done research on other types and I'll give you, financial advisors, for example. That's the closest example that comes to mind. I did it for financial advisors. And I said, there are two financial advisors.

You're considering one. You just don't know. It's not that you don't trust them. It's not that you distrust them, that you actively distrust them. It's not that they've done anything to lose your trust, to betray you. No, you just don't know them. And then the other one is someone that you trust. Now, maybe this is just the, who they are right now.

You never communicated with them. Maybe you have communicated with them, but bottom line is you trust them more than the first one. The first component you mentioned was trust preference. What's the preference that I'm going to choose this one over the other one? 98.2%. Same price, everything else being equal.

98.2%. I'm going to choose the one that I trust more 98.2%. Now, what if they started raising their prices? So if you think about property managers their fees that they're taking, right? What if the fees that one is taking is higher than the fee that the other is asking for? With financial advisors, people were willing to pay 39.4% higher price. That's what I call the trust premium, that 39.4% gets you to being on equal footing with somebody they don't know. So if I'm a property manager that you trust, you would be willing to pay. This number is true for financial advisors, but could be a 40% higher fees over someone that they don't know.

Heather Bayer:

This goes back to the whole Airbnb thing, because we often, as property managers, we put across to potential guests, we say, we're saving you the booking fee, because Airbnb charges an additional fee on top of the rental rate to the guest. And I often hear people say, I don't understand it. I don't understand why they don't come through me they would save that booking fee, which can be up to about 13% of that rental rate, but still people will go back to them because of that higher price and that's that trust premium, right?

Yoram Solomon:

Yeah. And, it goes back to when you go on Amazon and you want to order something and there are two things that look very similar. One of them has and they both have the same. Level of review. It's 4.6, both of them are 4.6. One of them has 51,000 reviews at an average of 4.6. The other has 12 reviews at an average of 4.6. You're going to go with the 51,000. That's something that Airbnb has for people who care about the quantity of the reviews. You're not going to be able to compete on that, but you know what? That's okay. Know who you're not trying to compete over. Those are, by the way, the people that would only buy from you if you have a Superbowl ad, they would only buy from you if you're a billion dollar company. These are not the ones that you're after. And that is, again this is critical. And this is something that I teach in my entrepreneurship classes at SMU, that you have to define who is the customer that will appreciate what you do over what others do.

When my daughters went to college, my first daughter, she said, I want a small college where I'm going to feel more, it's going to be more intimate. I'm going to know all the professors. The professors are going to know me. My second daughter said, nope, I want a big college. I don't care about knowing anybody. Those are two different customers. Know upfront that the customers who care about the number of reviews and the fact that the management company, call them, that, has a Superbowl ad are not your customers. So now the question is, who are the customers who say, I would rather rent from somebody smaller.

Bottom line, what they're saying is, your website on another screen, what is it that would make me say, I want to work with this management company. I have the property, the $2 million property, I want to work with this company and not with Airbnb. I'm going to get lost with Airbnb. And I have a good feeling about this other company.

Heather Bayer:

Yeah, so sticking with the owners, you talked about video and I've seen a few websites where there are videos of the owners sitting down in a nice environment and interviewing one of their owners. And the....

Yoram Solomon:


Heather Bayer:

.....owner is just loving it. We did this with my company.

I had a property management company for 20 years. And we did this occasionally. We would bring in some of our owners and we would give them some lunch. And then we would sit them down and interview them. And it was very powerful, and you talk about videos of guests, but it works with owners too.

Yoram Solomon:


Heather Bayer:

You've talked a lot about reviews. Reviews can be positive and negative. I heard from somebody recently. I think it was on a forum or a Facebook group. And somebody had said, I've got 500 five star reviews. And then somebody gave me a four star. And that's completely ruined my record. And a lot of people were coming back and saying, it's really good to have some negative feedback. Because I don't trust somebody that just has 500 five star reviews. What do you say about that?

Yoram Solomon:

No you touched it. You hit the nail on the head. It's somebody that has 500, all of them are perfect. Then that's probably somebody that I don't trust. I don't trust the review wherever the reviews are. Where are the reviews? Are they on your website? Oh, let me guess everything under five you took off.

Being a professor, there is a website called Rate My Professor. And I never heard of this website before until my daughters went to college. And then I went and I looked myself up and I found myself and I have a lot of five star reviews. I have one four star reviews and I think I have five, one star reviews.

I don't have two. I don't have three. What's the first thing that you do when you go on Amazon? I don't know what you do, but I know that you look at the reviews and which reviews do you look at? Do you look at the five star reviews? No, you look at the one star review. What are you looking for there?

One you're looking for. What was it that they didn't like? I own a Jeep Wrangler. I love the Jeep Wrangler. This is the longest I ever held on to one car, but before I bought it, the first thing that I looked for was what are the bad reviews of Jeep Wrangler? So somebody said, the ride is pretty rough.

That's why you buy a Jeep Wrangler. You don't like that the ride is rough buy a BMW. If you're short, then since the steering wheel is not telescopic, it's going to be hard for you to reach the pedals. I'm six one, not a problem of mine.

You start with the one star reviews, but you do something else as well. You look at, did the company respond? How did they respond? Look, there are people that just give bad reviews. That's no matter what, they're going to give bad reviews. By the way, research shows that we are pretty much three times more likely to put a negative review if we had a negative experience, then put a positive review if we had a positive experience.

Friend of mine was hired. Eventually he was the senior vice president Intel. When he left the company we both worked for, he joined another company. I was the only review, the only reference that the CEO checked. And the reason I was the only reference is the CEO knew me, so there's your fifth law of trust. Trust is transferable. He knows me, he trusts me. But the second thing is I did not BS him. I did not tell him things that, that person that you're considering is great and wonderful and there's nothing wrong with them. No, I told him what's wrong with him too. I told him what the downsides are and that gave a good, big round picture.

If you have 500 five star reviews and not a single four star review, it doesn't look credible. You want this to be in a more objective place, but those one star reviews or two or three or four, how did you handle them? Can the customer see that you handled them? And you know what, this can be a rabbit hole with, the customer, this customer is unhappy. And they're going to keep on saying, but this, but that, but your response on, we've tried to do this. We have refunded you or whatever. Take Queensborough, the one that's doing my shirts. They refunded me. I told them not to refund me. They refunded me. Does that mean they're going to be losing money? Heck no. I'm a loyal customer for life. All they did was refund me once. But what you need is, you need to know that they refunded me because if that thing ends up in, nobody hears about it, then it never happened.

There is a statement that I say, I have my own video studio. And I sometimes take pictures of what the video studio looks like, microphones coming from top and bottom and wires and cameras and the green screen behind and everything. And then you look at the video that comes out of it.

I'm in one of the studios right now and you can see how clean everything is. And what comes out of it, I didn't even need the microphone to be in the picture. And what I tell them is you look at the video and the video is so clean. You don't see all everything that's all around me here.

What happens one inch outside of the screen never happened. And that's something to always keep in mind. You got a one star review. You never responded to it publicly. You responded privately. You fix the issue. What does the potential new customer see or new property owner? What do they see? They see a one star review. They don't know how you handled it

Heather Bayer:

I think that's a perfect piece of advice. Just respond to everything.

Yoram Solomon:

Opposed to all the other pieces of advice.

Heather Bayer:

Yes, but respond not defensively.

Yoram Solomon:


Heather Bayer:

There are ways of responding.

I have to come back to a couple of things. One is Queensborough. You know what people say? Where were you when something happened? You mentioned Queensborough. I was walking my dog and I know exactly the spot where I was walking my dog when I heard you tell that story about Queensborough and it really stuck in my head. I'm a great proponent of storytelling because storytelling like that, just, I trust people when I hear their stories. And yes, so you mentioned that and I thought, oh, I remember where I was when I was walking the dog and listening to you talk about Queensborough.

We're coming to an end of our chat now, which is a real shame, because I've got loads more questions. But anyway, you talked about eight laws of trust. You shared one of them with us. Where can people find out about the other laws of trust?

Yoram Solomon:

I would go with The Book of Trust. That's one of my, I have 19 books, so I have The Book of Trust, and it describes the eight laws of trust and the six components of my relative trustworthiness model, and even the seven steps of the trust habits process. The one thing I would suggest is don't get that book. Don't get The Book of Trust. It's 550 pages, close to a quarter million words, and so it's cruel and unusual punishment to read that book. So what I did was I, actually it's in the third edition right now. It is a big book. But I created The Mini Book of Trust and The Mini Book of Trust is a lot more digestible. It has 180 pages. It still covers everything, but it's more of a practical standpoint, more of a here is what it is. And what I tell people is start with that book, start with The Mini Book of Trust, and with The Mini Book of Trust, if you get to a point where you say to yourself, you ask yourself, wait a minute, how did he reach that conclusion? I want another level of depth beyond this, then get The Book of Trust and read how I got there. Read the research behind it, read one or two layers in depth. But your starting point should really be The Book of Trust.

I would give you one more. And that is, I have a mini book series called, Can I Trust You? And those are very specific habits, for people in different positions. So there's one book for leaders and one for team members. There is a book for salespeople. There is a book for consultants, advisors, and coaches. And I think that between these two, the one for salespeople and the one for consultants, advisors, and coaches, I think that these two would be very complimentary to The Mini Book of Trust.

Heather Bayer:

That's great, and links to all of those will be on the Show Notes.

Yoram Solomon:

And of course you can listen to The Trust Show podcast, which is for the most part, it's just me talking. That episode I mentioned before, the first episode of the 13th season is actually an interview where I interview Bill Cates. He's one of the gurus in the area of referrals, so that's one you may want to hear.

But in general I just share a lot. And for those who ask me, why do you have...., I have at this point about 200 hours of me talking on The Trust Show podcast, and I already told you about a quarter million words in The Book of Trust. When people ask me, why do you put so much there? It's simple, I don't know if I'm gonna wake up tomorrow morning. I don't know that I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning. If I don't, I need to leave this behind. So everything I know is being put into either the podcast or The Book of Trust.

Heather Bayer:

I'm an avid listener to the podcast now. I was listening to that episode with Cates, not Bill Gates....,

Yoram Solomon:

Cates. Yes. Not Gates

Heather Bayer:

....this morning. So I thoroughly recommend that you go listen to that. And since my audience trusts me implicitly....,.

Yoram Solomon:

The fifth law of trust.

Heather Bayer:

....I would imagine you're going to get a few more listeners. Yoram, Dr. Solomon, thank you so much for....

Yoram Solomon:

Yoram is good.

Heather Bayer:

Thank you so much for joining me. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you. Thank you for putting on your website, Do You Want Me On Your Podcast? I went, I've been following you and I saw that and went click, and you came back to me by return, and I really appreciate that. It's been such a pleasure.

Yoram Solomon:

You are welcome, and I enjoyed it too.

Heather Bayer:

Well, thank you so much, Dr. Yoram Solomon. It was an absolute pleasure, speaking to Yoram and hearing his take on the topic of trust. I have to say that since we started really concentrating on trust in our business, within our THRIVE training system and through just about everything else I'm doing.

I'm expanding and broadening my knowledge on trust. If you looked at one of my bookcases, you would see it's absolutely full now of different books on trust, and I will compile some of those and put a list out, in a blog post. I must do a blog post shortly about trust and pull together some of these resources because there is so much out there and I've really been enjoying taking it apart.

I've really enjoyed researching this topic. It really is fascinating. So I hope you enjoyed that interview, I certainly did, I learned a lot. Going back, probably buying some more books and we'll be doing more research, which ultimately I'll be bringing to you. Please let me know if you have a topic for the podcast that you would like me to cover.

And if you are a property manager out there that has a really great story, please let me know. Please connect with me because I'd love to hear from you. And over the course of the next few months, I'm going to be spending a little bit more time talking in particular to property managers who have that unique story.

So, thank you. Don't be shy. Send me an email. You will get a response from me. I promise.

Okay, that's it for this week. I have very much enjoyed that conversation, and enjoyed delivering it to you. And I'll look forward to be doing that again next time.

Mike Bayer:

This episode was brought to you by Lodgify, an all-in-one solution that will help you start, manage, and grow your short-term rental business. Use code VRF10 and get started today at

Heather Bayer:

It's been a pleasure as ever being with you. If there's anything you'd like to comment on, then join the conversation on the show notes for the episode at We'd love to hear from you and I look forward to being with you again next week.