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Want to Grow Sales? Stop Acting Trustworthy

November 12th, 2015

Let’s face it: most buyers do not trust salespeople. And for very good reason.

As a group, most salespeople start each day with one goal in mind—to get purchase orders. In this pursuit, most will tell stories, provide slick demos, pitch, act, prod, ask leading questions, manipulate, and convince. Some will go further by using sleight-of-hand, smoke-and-mirrors, and other magic sales tricks. I’ve even known several sales reps that have studied hypnosis in an effort to control and manipulate.

So is it any mystery that buyers don’t trust salespeople? Do you trust salespeople?

It doesn’t matter much what your title is or how your business card describes you. When you approach someone with an intention to sell, buyers are justifiably pre-disposed to beware. You are guilty by association. 

The fact is that most buyers hate to be sold, but all need to buy at some point. Business cannot be conducted and consumers cannot consume without buying. 

At this point, you may be thinking, “why do people buy” and “why should they buy from me?”

Many salespeople (and executives and owners) believe that people buy because they need something and that buyers buy from people they like. Unfortunately for those who believe either of those reasons (but fortunately for you), neither of these popular beliefs carries much weight. In fact, tons of research has proven that people do not make buying decisions for rational reasons; they do so for emotional reasons. People pull the trigger on buying decisions in order to avoid pain or gain pleasure.

And they don’t buy from people they like. They buy from people they trust.

Since buyers instinctively don’t trust salespeople, most prospects are extremely reluctant to share their true buying motives with salespeople. This begs another important question: “How can I get buyers to trust me?” 

Over the last several years, I heard about and read dozens of articles about clever techniques that salespeople should use in order to get buyers to trust them. These include advice discussing the proper way to stand, direction to look, how to hold your head, words to use, etc. - all designed to generate trust. While some of these tactics may help a bit to facilitate better communication, they do not create trust. The best way to develop trust is to stop acting trustworthy and to start being trustworthy.  Stop acting. Start Being.   

Due to self-talk, mis-information, and bad habits, being trustworthy is unfortunately tougher for many salespeople than it should be. The entire premise of trying to convince someone to trust us is completely upside down. In other words, “acting trustworthy” is an oxymoron and besides being the wrong thing to do, buyers can see your act coming a mile away. They’ll see through you as if you were cellophane. Say goodbye to trust and effective discovery. So why would a salesperson do something that is both wrong and ineffective?

Being trustworthy is even more difficult for many “seasoned” salespeople, especially those who have learned all of the “tricks” and have become addicted to the habits of convincing, acting, and manipulating.

If you happen to be one of millions that possess this convince-aholic addiction, there are many things you can do to overcome it. A great start is by defining what I refer to as your Personal Constitution. Your Constitution is your crystal clear, concise commitment to yourself outlining who you are, who you do (and don’t) help, how you communicate, your personal belief system, the process you use for effective mutual discovery, and the integrity with which you always behave and live. Your Personal Constitution should be clearly communicated early to all sales prospects and suspects as part of your Ground Rules of effective communication.

Sharing your Ground Rules with integrity will differentiate you, help remove the buyer’s embedded fear of trust, and go a long way toward dramatically improving the effectiveness and efficiency of your sales interviews and business conversations.

If you (or your salespeople) are having issues getting prospects to trust you, to have adult conversations, or to share true buying motives, ask yourself if you have an Unconditional Commitment to your Personal Constitution, and whether or not you are communicating your Constitution concisely to your potential buyers.

Feel free to email me with your thoughts, questions, or addictions:


Continued Success!


Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2015.   All Rights Reserved.