4 Tactics to Clinch Your Buyer’s Trust Fast

Before your prospect will consider buying from your sales force, they will need to trust them. Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training teaches that trust is earned through developing the two qualities of Likeability and Credibility, and in this post, we detail four tactics that help develop those qualities.

1     Recognize Shared Similarities

According one to many adages of our culture, “like seeks like,” “water seeks its own level,” and “birds of a feather flock together.” What we mean when we say these things is that we like people who are like us.

One psychological study narrows down this concept. It says that, really, activities are shared among relationships, not necessarily attitudes. Similar interests in activities provides an easy-to-navigate conversation topic. Prospect and buyer don’t necessarily need to agree on their attitude toward the topic as long as they can both talk about it or engage in the activity itself.

Carol Permer and Pat Wernelee’s study also supports that the activity similarities merely needs to be perceived. That means, in more casual terms, that you don’t have to play football in order to be able to bond over it.

So how can the sales force use this information to their advantage?

If we like people who are like us, it’s mostly because around people like us, we feel comfortable. Of course the sales force wants their prospect to feel comfortable!

Sellers should seek out and talk about common interests—professional or social—in order to identify with their prospects.

The sales force should be very careful not to spend too much time in the Shared Similarities zone, though. Buyers do like small talk, but not a lot of it. Too much time talking about shared interests derails the business relationship, and also the business meeting—and after all, business is the reason we’re meeting!

Recognizing Shared Similarities is the sales skill that most sellers best understand, and this is the one that is most utilized. But, over-utilizing this skill can be dangerous.

2 Declare Your Intent

Be open and honest, and do not make anyone guess at your agenda. Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training teaches that transparency builds our credibility.

CEO of MegaFood, Robert Craven, says the following about transparency in his article “Let’s Be Real: Why Transparency in Business Should be the Norm”:

Across all industries, transparency has never been more important to a successful business model. Withholding or cleverly reshaping information is no longer a viable option for this new era of consumers who are savvier than any generation before them and for whom skepticism seems to be a default setting. In order to build brand loyalty, companies need to first build trust.

As Craven says, prospects—and everyone, really—are now far more educated, and they can access more information more quickly, than ever before. If we hide our intent, it’s only a matter of time before it’s found out. In order to avoid the prospect feeling surprised and tricked, the sales force should be upfront about what they want.

3 Appeal to the Visual

Do you remember being in a lecture, and then leaving class, and remembering exactly nothing, even though you were listening?

Do you sometimes remember not exactly what you read, but where you read it? For example, I don’t remember the term that author used, but I remember the book’s cover was red, and she said it on the left hand side of the page, toward the bottom.

If this sounds like something you’ve experienced with your own memory, you’re in the majority: many people learn primarily through seeing, and they encode memories better that way. (For more information on VARK learning styles, click here.

Reasons for Using Visual Aids

The following examples show how utilizing a visual aid directly influences Likeability and Credibility, which are the main principles in establishing trust.

People generally process images much more quickly than we process words. A visual provides not only a quick understanding, but visuals also resonate for longer periods of time.

Providing a visual aid often demonstrates the expertise of the sales force. Not only do does the sales force really understand what they’re saying, but they have developed a system for helping other people understand it.

4 Teach Something Valuable

When a prospect feels like we’re trying to sell them something—whether it’s a product or an idea—we break rapport with them. When we teach something, though, we build rapport.

The Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing  calls learning in the business relationship, “ a network (which) involves a constellation of resource linkages among business partners tied together by interconnected resources. This has the potential of increasing the relationship value of a firm in terms of knowledge created through interactions among firms in the business network.”

What this means is that the business relationship develops. It becomes a fluid avenue in that the buyer feels as though the seller is also helping them. Of course, there is an exchange of money for a service or product. In this “constellation of resource linkages,” however, more than money and goods are exchanged. In fact, both parties exchange information. The seller learns more about the specifics of market and industry through talking to the company, and the buyer learns more about the generalities of the market and industry by talking to the seller.

When the sales force teaches rather than sells, they deliver an added value. Rather than just push the product or service on the seller, they make the time spent very valuable. In essence, by teaching something valuable, the sales force establishes themselves as indispensable think-partners at the very beginning of the business relationship.


In order to sell anything to a buyer, the sales force needs to establish their trustworthiness. Salespeople can establish trust through utilizing the principles of Likeability and Credibility. Our corporate sales training identifies that the four most effective ways of doing that are to Recognize Shared Similarities, Declare Your Intent, Appeal to the Visual, and Teach Something Valuable

Image by Tim Guow.