Building Trust in Sales: A Guide for Sales Professionals

Trust is the foundation of any successful deal. Think about it: you wouldn’t buy a car from a sketchy salesman or a house from a realtor you don’t trust. Why would your B2B sales prospects be any different?

In B2B sales, the quicker you build trust with your prospect, the more likely it is that you will close a deal. Yet, it’s easier said than done. In fact, only 3% of buyers trust sales reps (source).

If that statistic has left you shaken, fear not. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to building trust in sales. Keep reading!

1.    Secure a referral.

For the seasoned B2B sales rep, there’s no denying the power of referrals. In fact, asking for referrals is one of the easiest – and most effective – sales strategies at your disposal, with referral business closing and converting more than 70% of the time (source). The reason for these staggering results is simple: Prospects trust the opinions of people they know.

Before making your initial call, take the time to network and research your B2B sales prospects to uncover any commonalities. Specifically, take a look at their social media accounts like LinkedIn – do you happen to have any mutual connections? If so, consider asking for an introduction to break the ice. If your connection is a happy customer, they’ll more than likely be happy to do you the service and your prospect will be primed to hear your pitch.

2.    Do your homework.

All too often, a B2B sales rep will begin the outreach process without taking the time to understand who they’re contacting. In 2017 it’s not enough to have a prospect’s name and phone number—you need to dig deeper and uncover their biggest challenges, their pain points, what technologies they use, and most importantly, their buying motivators. That way, once you have them on the phone you can speak to their specific needs.

There is no such thing as being too prepared – especially in the sales industry.  To do this, cover all your bases—look them up on social media, do a quick google search, check out their company’s website, examine their employment history and take a look at what their competitors are doing.

3.    Establish your credibility.

To put it simply, B2B sales prospects don’t want to do business with an amateur. If they’re serious about a purchase, they want to be sure they’re working with the best, most knowledgeable rep available. If you want to earn your prospect’s trust and close a deal, you’ll need a way to prove you’re credible. Here are a few ways you can begin to do this:

Customer Success

Case studies, reviews and testimonials are an extremely effective trust-building tool. Consider these statistics:

  • Nearly three-fourths of consumers say good reviews play a role in making them trust a brand. (source)
  • 88 percent of people trust customer reviews as much as word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family. (source)
  • 89 percent of marketers say that customer testimonials and case studies are the most effective content forms for influencing purchases. (source)

Don’t be afraid to showcase your customer success stories to potential buyers, but remember to do so strategically. Do your research and provide case studies of companies within the same industry or space as your prospect.

Your marketing team has already devoted time and effort to create and curate this type of content. Collaborate with them to develop a content library that your B2B sales team can easily access and share with prospects.

Leverage Brand Awareness

You may be a great salesperson, but unless you’re an industry celebrity, chances are your B2B sales prospects have never heard of you before. Think of it this way: your prospect probably doesn’t care about Mike the account rep. It’s more likely that they care about the company Mike is calling from.

For this reason, it’s important to state where you’re calling from within the first few seconds of the conversation—before you lose your prospect’s interest.

Optimize Your Social Presence

Just as you research a prospect before a scheduled call or meeting, your prospect is researching you. Be sure to optimize your web presence accordingly—especially your LinkedIn profile.

Clearly state your job title, your area of expertise and your company’s value proposition. You want to make it clear that you’re an experienced professional with a reputable organization. For an in-depth guide to profile optimization, check out The B2B Sales Rep’s Guide to LinkedIn.

4.    Be genuine.

Prospects are people and prefer to be spoken to as such. Ditch the cold, robotic script in favor of a more personable approach.

Be friendly and genuine throughout your correspondence – and don’t be afraid to show your true personality! Your prospects can sense when you’re trying to be something you’re not. And when it comes to earning their trust, a ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset won’t suit your efforts well. Embrace what makes you, you. Your prospects will appreciate it.

5.    Be mindful of your non-verbal cues.

More often than not, B2B sales professionals fail to realize that it’s not always the message that turns a prospect off, but rather how it was delivered. Believe it or not, our non-verbal cues can have a huge impact on how trusting a prospect is.

When meeting with a prospect it’s important to be mindful of how you present yourself. Subtle changes in body language throughout a conversation can make a world of difference with your prospect. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind for your next meeting:

  • Demonstrate your undivided attention and put any distractions out of sight, including your phone.
  • Refrain from fidgeting, as this can indicate impatience to your prospect.
  • Simply uncrossing your arms can signal that you are open to the points a prospect is making.
  • Make a point to acknowledge what your prospect is saying by offering a simple nod or another similar gesture.

6.    Be honest.

This last point may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many sales reps have been caught in a lie. After all, the ‘slimy, used car dealer’ stereotype didn’t come from nowhere.

Always be honest with your prospect. If you don’t have an answer to a question, don’t make one up that suits their agenda. If they choose to go with your solution, the truth will eventually come out and will only spell more trouble for you and your organization in the long run.

Your product or service won’t be the perfect fit for every prospect. Acknowledge your shortcomings and be receptive to feedback—your B2B sales prospects will appreciate your no-nonsense attitude and your willingness to improve.

Final Thoughts on Building Trust in Sales

Consider the times you’ve interacted with a sales rep and had a positive experience. Was it a smooth-talking rep who told you everything you wanted to hear? Or was it an honest conversation about your specific goals and needs?

You already know the answer, but when you’re selling day in and day out, it becomes easy to forget that your prospects are just like you—human.

Contact ZoomInfo today to learn how to increase your B2B sales productivity.