Trust continues to be one of the main themes in doing business within sales. Many of you have expressed that trust is an essential ingredient for the role of a sales professional to be effective.  Though we were all in agreement, there is little discussion about how to go about building trust.  Arguably, there are many ways to do so, and through my recent experiences as a company representative, public speaker, and author I submit the idea that you can increase trust – and fast!
Operational Definition
Deutsch, Coleman, and Marcus gave us a measurable definition of trust, which simply states that trust is eroded when expectations are missed.  The converse is assumed to be true as well, trust increases when expectations are met.

Image artwork of chain link as metaphor for trust. You can build trust and fast!

Note that there is no discussion about solving problems, providing concessions or refunds. In addition, there is no discussion about the origins of the expectation or  effort to achieve them. The formula can be simple, introduce an expectation the customer can have that you are 100% sure you can meet.
My Latest Example
In a particular case with one of my mentees, he had a customer where he was having some challenges. He started calling, emailing back on a daily basis on statuses then moved to send articles and content on how he was engaging.  Each time he would set the expectation that he would call them back with something, met the expectation, and while on the phone, introduced another 100% feasible promise.  Two months ago, they did not want to talk to him – ever again.  Now, the customer is willing to talk and be available, as many times as he needs them to, and as of recent, he has introduced other areas of discussions.  I believe he is on the road to recovery through gaining trust.
Practical Application
When transacting with a customer, or anyone for that matter, that has low trust in you:
  1. Create many small situations that you can meet or even exceed expectations. Don’t wait for the customer to ask since what they may ask might be difficult to meet.
  2. Create your own task and then quickly meet it.  For example “Mr. Customer, I commit to calling you back tomorrow to let you know what the status is of this issue” then call them back, state whatever the issue is, and don’t be concerned that the answer is not ‘favorable’ since trust is not rooted in favorable answers but in matched expectations.
  3. While on the phone, create another task, which you are certain to meet, “Mr. Customer, by close of business tomorrow, I will send you an email with the latest information.”
    The idea here is that you are creating expectations for the customer that you know you can meet 100% of the time.  Do this many times and each time you will gain more trust and move your relationship further (quickly) and have more productive conversations.
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