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Customer Trust of a Salesperson

Going beyond paper!

Customer Trust of a Salesperson

By Doug Hall Author of Meaningful Marketing

Building trust with customers is most critical to sales success. It’s commonly thought that becoming likeable by customers is the most important trait. But, research indicates that likeability is the least important when it comes to creating rapport with customers.

Researchers asked 187 industrial buyers to rate the most recent salesperson who had called on them. They provided eight different ratings of their trust in the salesperson. Results and importance versus likeability were as follows:

  1. Dependability (320% more important than likeability):
    Following through on promises and being reliable. Create a pattern of dependability by making small promises and overdelivering on results.
  2. Honesty (130% more important than likeability):
    Telling the truth, not exaggerating, and being open about strengths and weaknesses of the offering. Instead of being a “professional pitchman”, be an honest advisor. It’s better for customers to learn about your weakness from you rather than discover it themselves later.
  3. Customer First (80% more important than likeability):
    The buyer’s perception that the salesperson puts the buyer’s needs ahead of making a sale. You cannot serve two masters. The best way to serve your company is by putting the customer first. You may lose the sale today, but long-term rewards will provide greater benefit.
  4. Competence (30% more important than likeability):
    The salesperson’s knowledge about his company’s products and/or services. No one should know more about your offering, and your competitor’s than you.
  5. Likeability (Control):
    How friendly and approachable the salesperson is. Likeability is about connecting to customers through common interests and goals…and, making efficient use of the buyer’s time, being courteous and polite.


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