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Trust in Selling is Becoming More Important Than Ever


Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

trustI loved this short, but perfect post from Seth Godin's Blog last week.  It's about the importance of trust.  Please read it before proceeding.  It's also very consistent with the late Steven Covey's philosophy as related in his book, The Speed of Trust.

Trust is becoming more important than ever.  Companies are focusing more on integrity and values, and that's from both sides of the door.  They are looking for salespeople, vendors, suppliers, partners and trusted advisors who have strong integrity.  And they are also hiring the people (in this case, salespeople) who are deemed to be of a higher integrity.  Trustworthy is the operative word here.

There are certainly companies and people that don't measure up when it comes to the high integrity profile and that is what makes prospects so skeptical.  Bad experiences.  It only takes one shoplifter for a retailer to install a video surveillance system and/or detectors, lock their display cases, hide their merchandise and distrust all of its customers.  Just one bad apple is all it takes to ruin it for everyone.

Yesterday, we had an internal conversation about our website, collateral, videos, blog articles, white papers, emails and of course, phone calls and face-to-face visits.  The question of the day was, "Do potential clients trust us when they don't really know us that well?"  

We wondered aloud whether credibility and trust were really the same thing, related, or completely separate conclusions.  Personally, I believe they are separate.  I believe that someone could be credible as an expert, yet still not be completely trustworthy.  I also believe that we could meet someone who was completely worthy of our trust, but not be completely credible as an expert.  Separate issues.  The problem is that many companies lump these two issues together and assume that if they are credible, they have built trust.  Here's something for you to consider.  Let me know if you agree with my definitions.  I believe that credibility is an earned, time-tested, combination of experience, expertise and success in a specific field or subject matter.  I believe that trustworthiness is the ability to convey personal values and integrity through words, body language and actions.  Do you agree?

You can have all of the latest systems, processes, tools, and applications, along with the best products and services.  But if your prospects don't trust you, your intentions, your company, your promises or your eagerness, they won't buy from you.

I would like to remind you of a white paper on trust that I published a couple of years ago.  I conducted a study and we got some incredible, eye-popping data, that shows who trusts whom, by industry, and exactly when and why salespeople are distrusted.  It's a must-read.  You can download it right here.

© Copyright  Dave Kurlan All Rights Reserved

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 09:50 AM


Well, Trustworth works in the sales process, and even apart from that; But it's necessary to convey 2 main aspects, the worker profile and it's own real human personality, because one minus the other it may bring a suicide to the whole process;

posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 10:17 AM by Dário

I disagree that the two concepts are totally independent. In order to establish trustworthiness, I believe that one must first establish credibility. And, in order to be credible, I don't think you necessarily need to be an expert, or have a track record of success. Rather, I feel that credibility comes from conveying views which align with a prospect's own views. For example, I personally, would trust an investment advisor who tells me that in working with him, some years we will do better than the overall market but in some years we will not, even if he is not that well established and does not have a long, established record. I would be less likely to trust an advisor who tells me that he will always do better than the market - even if he can demonstrate experience, expertise and success. Finally, by your definition, can anyone starting out establish credibility?

posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 10:46 AM by Ken Leeser

Hi Ken, 
Great points. In answer to your question, can anyone starting out establish credibility? Yes. If their company is credible, and they rely on the resources of their company, and they aren't the one that will be providing the technical aspects of the fit/spec/delivery, and they are trustworthy, I believe they can be very successful.

posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:09 AM by Dave Kurlan

Back to you: What about an entrepreneur where even his company does not have a track record? What aspects (and how does he/she convey them?) of credibility and trust can be established without a track record?

posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:16 AM by Ken Leeser

In that case Ken, I propose that the entrepreneur's company may be new, and even the product might be new, but the entrepreneur probably has a solid track record that he/she can point to in that industry or a similar industry. 
Obviously, entrepreneurs have been doing this for years and many of them get off to rather slow starts, taking several years before their company takes off. Could it be because of credibility?

posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM by Dave Kurlan

Dave, Generally yes. But I would say it this way: Sales success is the result of building trust. Trust is built on (among other things) credibility. Credibility can be established by demonstrating a track record (which takes time)OR by offering viewpoints which make logical sense to prospects.

posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM by Ken Leeser

One more thought: Credibility results from some external validation: references, track record, or concurrence with personal experience. Trust, on the other hand, is an internal emotion based on credibility and other factors.

posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 11:58 AM by Ken Leeser

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