I recently read a short article from the Ken Blanchard Companies called Building Trust and how important it is in building high involvement and high-energy in the workplace. To quote: “Trust is a primary factor in how people work together, listen to one another, and build effective relationships.” Build trust in sales is important.

There has been a lot of talk on social media questioning whether relationship selling is dead. No one will ever buy if they do not trust you. Yet I have seen very little in sales courses or sales books that talk about trust rather than establishing and building the relationship. Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has been studying first impressions alongside fellow psychologists Susan Fiske and Peter Glick for more than 15 years; they say when a person first meets you there are two questions people immediately ask:

  1. Can I trust this person?
  2. Can I respect this person?

Developing a relationship through social media does not mean that someone will or can trust you. Even when you meet someone in real life, you can have a good relationship with but not trust or respect them.

How do we build the level of trust and rapport necessary to get new business? Don’t think it is by lowering prices. I think most sales are lost because the respect and trust was not well established. Here are 5 tips on building trust when you first meet someone:

  1. Watch your body language and gestures. Fifty-five percent (55%) of communication is body language. Is there an online statistic that cites this, backs it up? Be aware of your body language and the prospect’s body language.
  2. Listen, hear and observe what your prospect is saying. Make a conscious effort to hear every word and let them finish their thoughts. An effective listener notices all aspects of communication and is aware of voice tone, facial expression, repetitive movements, and muscle tension.
  3. Be Competent. Know your product, know your industry and its challenges.
  4. Show a keen interest in them on a personal basis. This is not as difficult as one may think when you first meet someone. In general, people like to talk about themselves. Knowing where they came from, what got them in the business, and how the business affects him/her and the family is a key component to establishing a relationship. Be sincere about your interest.
  5. Keep consistent contact. Build trust by keeping your promises and following up on a regular basis. Following up does not mean checking in and touching base. Have purpose. Make yourself a touch list. Use your CRM (customer relationship management software) to make periodic phone calls, send e-mails, or send interesting articles or information which pertains to the prospects problems and challenges. DO NOT send jokes, religious, politically slanted information.

Perhaps you know of other techniques that help to build trust. Please share your comments.

Contributed by: Allan Himmelstein, www.salescoachaz.com