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First impressions matter. You must look and present yourself professionally, even on casual days. Your image reflects on your company and on the product you’re selling. Greeting a customer with a positive attitude sets the tone for the entire interaction. If you bring optimism and professionalism to every customer exchange, why wouldn’t every customer feel comfortable working with you? Why wouldn’t they trust you?  Think about the last time you made a large purchase. What attitude did the salespeople convey? Did you trust them based on your first impression?


One of the most important parts of any customer relationship is trust. It has to be earned through honesty and a sincere interest in the customer. It has to be handled with the utmost care as it is very fragile. When secured, it has many benefits including sales, repeat business, referrals and loyalty. What most sales professionals don’t understand is that to truly gain a customer’s trust requires a three-part approach. The customer has to trust:

  1. The product or service
  2. The business
  3. The salesperson

At APB, we call this the Trust Triad.

When trust is lost in any of these three areas, customers may leave, and sales and revenues decline. Worse yet, word-of-mouth can have a long-term negative impact on business.  Mistrust can be caused by perceptions, misperceptions or real experiences. It can be influenced by a diverse range of factors like appearance, attitude, knowledge, manners, mannerisms, presentation, promises and more.

Earning Trust

Trust starts and ends with you. Period. It requires thoughtful, planned, and sincere interaction, regardless of your job.

First impressions matter. You must look and present yourself professionally, even on casual days. Your image reflects on your company and on the product you’re selling. Greeting a customer with a positive attitude sets the tone for the entire interaction. If you bring optimism and professionalism to every customer exchange, why wouldn’t every customer feel comfortable working with you? Why wouldn’t they trust you?  Think about the last time you made a large purchase. What attitude did the salespeople convey? Did you trust them based on your first impression? Why? Identify how they earned your trust and emulate them.

First impressions must be supported with exceptional service. Remember, a salesperson’s job is to help customers find the product or service that meets their unique needs, wants, and desires. By listening and focusing on this need, not on selling, you will deliver a superior experience.

Exceptional treatment must be delivered consistently. This requires clear communication, active listening, and an honest understanding of customers’ unique reasons for buying. Exceptional treatment must be given to every customer, whether they buy now, today, next week, or next year. Customers shouldn’t have to transact business to receive exceptional service.

Delivering consistently requires a clearly defined process, a positive attitude, and continuous measurement, improvement and education. A process ensures that you ask specific questions, collect information that will help guide your strategy, find the right product or service, and deliver a proper selection, exactly same way every time. This consistency helps you exceed customer expectations and strengthens customer trust in you.

Measuring performance is essential in determining how well the process is followed, its effectiveness, and how it can be improved. This leads to continual learning, every day, from good and bad experiences. It’s vital and it must occur daily. How much education is needed is your choice: do you want to be adequate or exceptional? To be exceptional you must take the initiative to learn every day.

When it comes to learning the three most important letters in the alphabet are WHY. This word is fundamental to learning. As children we used it incessantly. As adults we don’t use it enough. Like children you should always ask why?  Question everything and everyone so you can learn from successes and mistakes. Like a child, learn by watching others. Look for people who’ve mastered the challenges you struggle with. Ask questions, pick their brains, bounce ideas around, and identify techniques you can use.

Building the Trust Triad, while a never-ending process, is achievable. It demands your commitment to a professional image, consistent, exceptional service, and ongoing education. The rewards from building this level of trust with customers can be very profitable.

About the author

Richard F. Libin

Richard F. Libin

Richard F. Libin has written two acclaimed books that help people of all walks…

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