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The Secret Ingredient to Build Buyer Trust

When you hear the word “trust” what do you think of? For most people the words honesty and integrity immediately come to mind. These two words are, for some, completely synonymous with trust.

What most sellers don’t realize is that there are 10 additional dimensions of trust – 10 more ways to build trust on top of being honest and exhibiting integrity. In our research with buyers, there’s one particular dimension that buyers zero in on and that many sellers are oblivious to. This lack of seller awareness about one particular dimension of trust results in a lack of buyer trust.

trust graphic The missing ingredient in building trust is often a seller’s inability (or unwillingness) to be accurate in self-assessment. Like it or not, all buyers enter into all relationships with all sellers with an inherent skepticism. When the buyer senses that a seller doesn’t know or won’t acknowledge his or her own limitations, the buyer’s early skepticism evolves into doubt, disbelief and distrust.

Sellers convey that they are not accurately assessing themselves in the following ways:

  • By flaunting a sales bravado that is meant to inspire confidence but, instead, looks like pretentious posturing. Savvy buyers want substance over style. They believe that sellers who are over-confident or cocky actually have something to hide.
  • By not having the business acumen to fully translate how the products’ features are going to be of value to the buyer. This includes not knowing enough about competitors’ offerings to compare and contrast effectively.
  • By not openly acknowledging, on the front end, that there could be challenges in delivering exactly what the buyer wants. Being overly accommodating to make the sale can cause a buyer to be wary, wondering what you’re not sharing when you don’t push back on multiple demands.
  • By not being sincere in scheduling follow ups, some sellers chronically appear to be inaccurate in assessing what they are capable of managing. This does not inspire buyers to entrust bigger responsibilities to sellers.

To build buyer trust, sellers must be accurate in self-assessment and forthright about what they can and what they cannot do. That can’t be done unless a seller is willing to invest the time and effort needed to reflect and gain this understanding first.

Ask yourself these questions to improve your accuracy in self-assessment.

1)      How often am I feeling over-committed?

2)      How often do I over-promise and under-deliver or miss deadlines?

3)      How often am I caught unawares at the end of a quota period, surprised that I didn’t quite get there?

4)      How often do I get carried away and overstate my capabilities?

5)      How often do I have to scramble to bend the rules and get internal departments to stretch their capacity in order to fulfill the promises I’ve made?

If your buyers are picking up on these signals that you’re not quite accurate in your self-assessment, they will not be able to fully trust you. To convey accuracy here, you’ll have to work on assessing your own capabilities and capacity.

The CONNECT2Sell Blog has been discontinued as our focus has shifted to leadership at every level. Research with buyers demonstrates that buyers respond favorably when sellers show up as leaders. If you'd like to step into your full potential as a leader (and boost sales!), take a look at our free and affordable courses on