Build trust for high-performance sales

Build Trust for High-Performance Sales

Activities to Teach Trustworthiness

A 1999 poll carried out by the New York Times and CBS asked, “What percent of people in general are trustworthy?” It found that people believe only 30% of others are trustworthy. When asked how many people who they know are trustworthy, people answered 70%. The lesson we can take from this is that when people know you, you are more likely to be trusted.

We also know that trust is a driver of sales. For example, research from Salesforce found that trust in an organization makes customers behave positively. The 2018 survey found that when customers trust a company:

  • 95% say they will be loyal

  • 93% say they will recommend the organization

  • 92% say they will buy more from the organization

  • 91% say they will buy more frequently

In short, if your salespeople are trusted by your customers, you will sell more at better prices and gain more customers.

The Factors of Trust

Trust in sales is built by developing rapport – when people know you, they are more likely to trust you. There are four pillars on which this trust stands: capability, dependability, integrity and intimacy. Customers must:

  • Trust in a salesperson’s capability

  • Feel they can depend upon the salesperson

  • Believe that the salesperson is honest with strong moral principles

  • Like the salesperson with whom they are dealing

You can help your salespeople to understand the importance of trust in the customer relationship by employing activities to teach trustworthiness in your sales team.

5 Activities to Teach Trustworthiness

“Trust me.” I was once told that if a salesperson ever says that to you, the last thing you should do is trust them. Instead, trust – like respect – must be earned. Salespeople must demonstrate that they can be trusted. Actions speak louder than words. Here are five activities to teach trustworthiness that will help your team understand the nature of trust and the importance of building a trusting relationship with customers.

1. Minefield

Split the team into pairs. One of each pair is blindfolded. Scatter objects on the floor. You now have a minefield. The partner of the blindfolded person must verbally guide him or her through the minefield.

2. Eye Contact

Another pairs activity. Have each pair stand facing each other and staring into each other’s eyes for one minute. Eye contact is important when building rapport, and this exercise ably demonstrates this.

3. Proximity

Ask each pair to stand a comfortable distance apart. After a few seconds, ask them to move closer to each other. Ask how it feels, before asking them to move further apart. This exercise should help salespeople understand the effect of physical proximity, and learn how proximity can shape emotional responses.

4. Blind Walk

Blindfold the group and get them to link together by holding the hand of the person in front. Now lead them on a walk. Start with a five- or 10-minute walk, only speaking to the person behind you to warn of obstacles or provide instructions. This message must be passed down the line, from person to person. Let the group discover how much easier it is to walk blindfolded when they trust the person in front of them: the walk should become progressively easier to complete as trust builds.

5. Running Free

Returning to an exercise executed in pairs, one member is blindfolded. The pair hold hands and start walking together. As trust grows, the pace should pick up, until the pair are jogging or running.

Understand the Nature of Trust and Sales Performance Will Follow

Activities to teach trustworthiness serve to help salespeople develop understanding of the nature of trust, and how it shapes confidence and belief. When a person trusts another, they will be comfortable to be guided. Their confidence in their partner’s capability grows, and they learn that the advice they are given is dependable as their partner acts with integrity.

From here, the sales manager can help develop the behaviors that build trust in sales relationships, providing sales teams with the tools to create positive emotions that will drive sales. Contact us today, and discover how we help sales teams develop trusting relationships with their customers.


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