Developing Trust As a Salesperson

The post below is an article courtesy of David Masover, the author of Mastering Your Sales Process.

“Trust me”

Funny how hearing these two spoken words almost always has exactly the opposite effect of their meaning.

If we believe that a sales effort will be more effective if the relationship between the buyer and the seller is based on trust, but simply saying the words doesn’t get you there – what does?

“Back in the day”, salespeople were taught to look for clues in the clients office around which to start a trust-building conversation: A picture of a child, a hobby or an award. If the salesperson could just start talking about something near-and-dear to the client, then the relationship would be off on the right foot, and the “sales” stuff would happen much more easily.

Times have changed. I won’t waste your time explaining why, but if you don’t believe me, try it and see what happens. If you are lucky enough to have a first meeting anywhere other than the sterile meeting room next to the reception area, you might get the chance to try.

To find the answer – how can a salesperson establish trust with a client – let’s think about ourselves from the perspective of the client. We all buy things, so this should not be such a stretch.

Do we trust the salesperson who starts off by trying to get all chummy with us and tries to be our friend? Maybe.

Do we trust the salesperson who force feeds us with technical information about their product from the minute we seem interested? Maybe.

Do we trust the salesperson who is so confident in his abilities and so successful, that he seems almost indifferent to our needs? Maybe.

Is there a better way for a salesperson to generate trust in their prospect? Definitely!

All good salespeople know that once they have a qualified prospect, their next task is to do a thorough needs analysis. It is impossible to sell a solution to a problem unless you know what the problem is that needs to be solved.

Great salespeople have learned that when they are experts in their subject matter, they probably know more about what they are selling than their prospect. They spend more time with it, and they have seen their product or service used – successfully and other wise – in a variety of situations. This experience allows them to ask really, really good questions.

Great salespeople also know that they need to learn about the problems that the prospect needs to solve; the obstacles that could keep the solution from taking hold; the various elements of the environment in which the solution will be used, to allow the most appropriate configuration of the solution.

A funny thing happens when a great salesperson starts asking thoughtful, relevant questions about a prospects situation. When these questions are asked with the idea that the salesperson is trying to find the best solution for the prospect, and the prospect senses this, mostly because it is true, then it is easy for the prospect to trust the sales person.

So trust comes from a salesperson having the expertise to ask the right questions, and the self perception of a subject matter expert who works hard to help the client make a good, well informed, appropriate decision about using the products or services that the salesperson represents.

So allow your prospects to gain trust in you, not because you tell them they should, but because you show you that they should. Do this by being interested in solving their problems, and demonstrating through a well executed diagnostic process called “needs analysis” that you are capable of doing so.


David Masover is a sales consultant and the author of Mastering Your Sales Process. Click here to try the first 30% of the book free, or here to read other blog posts.

Chris Hughes

Chris loves learning, going on adventures, surfing and having fun. Chris on Google+

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Debbie Stevens - April 28, 2010 Reply

Hi Chris,

This is a great post. People want to be connected to others. When we care about what is going on in their lives and help them find practical solutions, then it works. Thanks for this great post!

kboode - April 28, 2010 Reply

Great article. Isn't it amazing what doors open up, when you actually try to help solve someone's problem(s). Of course that builds trust, and for all the right reasons.

social bookmarking - April 28, 2010 Reply

Great article. Isn't it amazing what doors open up, when you actually try to help solve someone's problem(s). Of course that builds trust, and for all the right reasons.

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