Sales Prospecting

3 Sales Strategies to Build Trust WhenYour Prospects Don't Believe You

Building TrustWe were just approaching Des Moines, traveling at 72 miles per hour on I-35 when it hit me. My husband, who was driving, didn't even notice. But for me, the effect was jarring.

"Holy cow!" I exclaimed. (That's really appropriate when you're in Iowa.) I held up Wikibrands, the book I was reading. "Did you know that the Edelman Trust Barometer says that only 8 percent of people trust what companies say about themselves?"

My husband shrugged his shoulders and gave me that "Duh" look. Clearly, wasn't impacting him the way it did me. All I could think about was what salespeople were saying and what their prospects were hearing.

Seller: We offer state-of-the art technology.
Prospect: I don't believe it. And even if it's true, it won't last.

Seller: We really care about our customers.
Prospect: That's what they all say to get the order. Then they ignore you.

Seller: We're #1 in the XYZ Ranking.
Prospect: Statistics can easily lie.

Seller: We offer a unique approach to solving your problems.
Prospect: Sure. You, along with everyone else.

This is serious. 92% of the time you talk about your own company, you're not believable. And they more wonderful things you spout, the more unbelievable you are.

So what's the answer?

Here are three strategies you can use to be more believable.

  1. Don't say anything nice about your product/service.
    Not one blasted thing, because it only destroys your credibility. Don't pass out any of your "aren't we wonderful" marketing brochures either. They have the same negative impact. This is especially important in your early conversations. 
  2. Focus on being helpful in every interaction.
    Let your prospect know about the results your other clients have achieved. Talk about their critical business issues. Share ideas, insights and information that you think would be beneficial to them. Ask questions. But most of all, make sure they have no doubts that your intent is to provide value to them. 
  3. Be truthful, even when it hurts. 
    Your product, service or solution is not perfect for everyone. When you're under corporate or self-induced pressure to close more sales, this can be really hard to do. There are times you might even recommend a competitor because it's the right thing to do. 

Developing trust is essential. Without it, you don't have a chance to get the business. With it, you'll have an opportunity to grow long-standing, highly profitable relationships. It's worth the effort.


After a successful career in the sales world, writing five books, and speaking internationally, Jill is now tackling an even bigger challenge. She's focused on bringing the "millions in the middle" together to solve some of the biggest issues facing our country and the world. Jill truly believes so much more is possible if we can work together.