How to establish trust with customers

Trust plays a major role in our prospective customer’s decision-making. Here are a few of the most important ways in which salespeople can establish trust:

  1. Tell them what they need to hear, not what we hope they want to hear – Weak salespeople often fall into the trap of telling the customer what they hope they want to hear, but this strategy does nothing to establish long-term trust, and almost always rebounds in a bad way sooner or later. We must always honestly communicate what the customer needs to hear, even if this is initially uncomfortable.
  2. Be honest about the challenges of change – If we are trying to persuade our customers to change, we do ourselves no favours if we suggest that the journey will be smoother than it actually is. Customers have learned through bitter experience to be cynical about sugar-coated stories of friction-free change and will distrust salespeople who suggest the process is going to be unfeasibly easy.
  3. Always deliver on our commitments, no matter how small – How we behave during the pre-sales process gives our prospective customer a clear indication of what it will be like to deal with our organisation after they have placed their order. We must always do what we say we are going to do, when we say we are going to do it, and ensure that our colleagues do the same.
  4. Leave them feeling smarter – In every conversation, our goal should be to ensure that our customer goes away having learned something interesting, unexpected, and useful that is helpful to them. If our customer believes that the conversation was a good use of their time, they are more likely to want to continue the discussion.
  5. Encourage feedback – We must resist the “itch to pitch” and always seek to foster an honest, two-way conversation in which everyone involved feels that they have been given the opportunity to make their point, and that their inputs have been respected.
How to establish trust with customers infographic