Sales excellence requires trust – 7 tips to build trust

Building trust in sales

Building trust in sales

While developing trust has always been important for sales success, today developing trust has taken on a new urgency due to a shift in customer expectations.

Today, customers want fresh ideas and creative insights for addressing a set of needs and opportunities that are both new and challenging.  Increasingly customers want sales reps to be trusted advisors not product facilitators. 

The level of trust … let’s call it Trust 2.0… required for the advisor role is substantial.  It doesn’t just evolve over time. It takes time to develop, requiring explicit thought and action.  Yet it can be lost in a wink of an eye!  However, once trust is achieved everything on the road to sales excellence is a little bit easier. Without it, some aspects of the trusted advisor role are difficult to achieve; others are out of reach.

Developing Trust 2.0 requires more than being talented at some inherent relationship trait.  It requires a repertoire of actions based on a set of sales skills.  And, it’s not just about the knowing; it’s about the doing and the doing must be consistent.  Here are seven skills to get started.

7 skills to help sales reps build trust with customers

  • Do what you say you will do.
  • If you don’t know, don’t pretend.
  • If you make a mistake take responsibility – and avoid repeating it.
  • Understand the difference persuasion and manipulation.
  • Demonstrate competence while expressing humility.
  • Make exceptional things happen but avoid overpromising.
  • Extend trust first.

If you buy the notion that the sales reps achieving the greatest success in the future will be those that assume a trusted advisor role, then it is well to recognize that being a trusted advisor requires more than simply being “the smartest person in the room” – it requires trust.  And, there are “no tricks for developing trust.”  It’s about awareness and skills.

There is no industry where this idea of a trusted advisor is more important than healthcare.  For insight into the importance of Trust 2.0 when selling in the healthcare industry, take a quick read of this short article written by Tom Peterson.  The article was written for those working in the industry but we thought the application to those desiring to be trusted advisors in the industry was particularly relevant.

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©2015 Sales Momentum, LLC


About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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