by Mark Marone  |  June 4, 2020  |  10 Minute Read

Does trust even matter anymore? It does and here’s why:

  • If they must choose, the majority of customers will do business with those they trust over where they can get the absolute lowest price
  • Having trusted business relationships with your customers, through your sales people, gives you three key advantages your competitors can’t take from you

With more and more transactions in our lives becoming self-service, anonymous and remote, it’s not crazy to wonder whether trust even matters in the buyer-seller relationship anymore. But it does. In a recent study, Dale Carnegie & Associates examined this concept with a survey of more than 1,600 consumers in the largest markets worldwide (USA, China, Japan, Germany, UK, and India).

Customers still value trust over getting a lower price.

Trust is critical in an economic relationship. In fact, 71% of respondents to our survey said they would rather buy from a salesperson they completely trusted than one who gave them a lower price.

Why? Because humans want to avoid risk – and purchases, whether small or large, B2C or B2B, carry elements of risk. Among others, buyers incur financial risk, risk wasting time and risk that the purchased solutions won’t solve their problem as anticipated. Business buyers have the added risk to their professional reputations. When you add it all up, there can be a lot at stake. Buyers want to feel confident they are making the right decision, and that’s where trust come in.

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, including business relationships between your salespeople and your customers. Unfortunately, more than 60% say it’s not the norm to trust their salespeople – it’s a widespread issue – and salespeople who exhibit the wrong behaviors can kill a sale.

Why Sales Teams Often Struggle Building Customer Trust

There are lots of reasons for why companies struggle incentivizing their sales team, including weak sales enablement programs, a lack of urgency in responding to requests and questions, inflexible policies and misaligned incentive programs. The solution starts with having the right mindset.

Through uncovering the needs of the buyer, demonstrating an understanding of their perspective and communicating through a unique selling proposition the value that will be delivered are critical steps in building trust and mitigating buyer risks.

Why Your Sales Team the Key to Improving Trust with Your Customers?

Having strong, trusting relationships with customers gives your organization at least three key advantages that your competitors can’t take from you.

  1. The first one is obvious, customer are more likely to do business with your company again when they trust your salesperson. 81% of respondents said they would be likely to buy again from a company represented by a salesperson they trust, and only 17% said they would still be very likely to even consider buying from competing companies for the same product when the trust is there. On top of that, we all know the power of positive reviews and recommendations to family and friends – and guess what? You’ll get them more often when customers trust their salespeople.
  2. When customers trust their salesperson, they are more likely to give your company a pass when you make a mistake. Despite our best efforts, we don’t always deliver a great experience to every customer, every time. Not even the very best companies bat a thousand. It’s good to know then, that customers are three times more likely to forgive a bad experience when they trust their salesperson compared with when they distrust them.
  3. In an era when the need for continuous improvement to stay ahead of the competition is so important, customers who trust their salespeople can give you a secret weapon – their feedback. And I don’t mean after-the-fact in a crushing online review. I mean the kind of feedback that is exchanged when there’s still a chance to recover an unhappy customer, because they are sharing their concern with hope – because they trust the person they are sharing it with. In fact, 65% of respondents to our survey said they would be “somewhat” or “very likely” to take the time to share a concern or complaint if they trusted their salesperson. That’s a gift that provides valuable opportunities to recover customers before they are lost to the competition – as well as improve going forward.

Convinced of the need to help your salespeople build trust?

Now that we’ve established the importance of building trust for creating strong customer relationships explore our training programs and other resources that can help you and your sales team develop the skills and behaviors for making trust a part of your sales process. If you have questions or comments, let us know. We’re always happy to help.

An online survey was completed in May 2018 by 1,610 consumers (aged 21 and over) from the top six consumer economies across North America, Europe and Asia.

Written By

Mark Marone

Mark Marone, PhD. is the director of research and thought leadership for Dale Carnegie and Associates where he is responsible for ongoing research into current issues facing leaders, employees and organizations world-wide. He publishes frequently on various topics including leadership, the employee/customer experience and sales. Mark can be reached at

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