3 Steps to Build a Culture of Trust-Based Selling in Your Team: Why is Trust Important to a Salesperson

Trust is the key to making sales in today’s world. Unfortunately, when a buyer feels they are being sold to there’s a lack of trust because they feel like their objectives don’t align with those of the seller.

The goal of the buyer is to buy something and get a great deal. The goal for you, as an entrepreneur or business owner, is also to make money.

When there is alignment between buyer and seller, distrust evaporates.

How do you build trust with the buyer? Why is Trust Important to a Salesperson?

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Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Risk and Reward

Do you remember that commercial where they tell you to buy their insurance because its better than your current one?

Why didn’t you act on it?

When someone who is not in the same profession as you recommends a book that “changed their life.”

Why didn’t you read it?

You didn’t act because the risk wasn’t worth it to you at that moment.

Your insurance company has an objective that does not align with your own. They want you to spend money on things like life assurance, but what you really care about is having the correct amount of coverage for a reasonable price.

One reason people might not buy the book is that it will require money to purchase and time to read.

The unknown element in this situation is a risk for no reward.

There have been many B2B salespeople who are willing to take on risks for the potential of larger rewards, but they often get penalized if things don’t work out.

No customer ever spends money without expecting some sort of benefit in return.

We know that in each sales interaction, there is an inherent balance of power.

It’s a difficult conversation, but imagine having it with your parents when they suggest you start saving for retirement even though you’re young.

This advice is so much more powerful because of your personal experience.

It starts with small things like getting some water on the floor, which is then tracked around the office.

Why would you move?

That’s because they want the same thing you do.

The Defender Of Dryness at work may be telling you to stay away from the water because they’re just looking out for your best interests.

Trust is the risk-reward balance.

Let me ask you again, why is trust important to a salesperson?

If you know there’s a low risk and high reward, then the trust level is higher in any interaction.

The 3 Main Components of Trust

Trust is made up of three parts: honesty, loyalty, and reliability.


Trust is something that you can only grow from a human relationship. You cannot use it as an incentive for corporations, robots or rocks.

You may not trust a certain company, but that reflects the feeling you have for them.

Stability, empathy, shared values and sacrifice are what creates trust. They’re the qualities of great relationships.


To build trust with someone, you need to be confident and show that they can rely on your expertise. If the person trusts what you say and thinks that their assets are safe, then it will help them feel more comfortable.

It’s all about making sure that the buyer is comfortable with what they’re buying.


Trust is strongest when there’s an element of assurance.

“We have your back – if anything goes wrong, we’ll catch you and make it right.”

It’s about giving the buyer as much information as possible to feel confident in their purchase.

Three Steps to Building Trust and the Importance of Knowing why is Trust Important to a Salesperson

1. Align objectives.

If you want to gain your customer’s trust, it is important that their objectives align with yours.

You need to focus on revenue, but that obsessive drive is holding you back. Article: I know you are part of a business and want to make money, but the obsession with driving down costs is holding your company back.

The more you focus on making money in the short term, the worse off you’ll be for it later.

The key to a successful sales team is removing quotas and targets, focusing on the customer instead.

Wait for it.

Being customer-centric.

BOOM! Oops, that’s not a Boom. That doesn’t even seem new anymore… Everyone knows the importance of being customer-centric so why are we all focusing on our company’s needs?

We can’t give up control because we need to make sure that things go smoothly and nothing changes. We don’t want the risk of something going wrong.

But try this on for size.

If your customers don’t trust you, they won’t buy anything from you.

The more a buyer trusts you, the higher chance they’ll send your way opportunities to sell them something.

The more you focus on delivering their desired outcome, the better the results will be. This will increase your credibility and allow for a stronger relationship with them.

As trust builds, clients start to see you as an adviser rather than just a provider. They come back because they want your support.

It’s a virtuous cycle, and every time you go around it the company is sustaining itself. It creates revenue each time.

Change your culture

The first step is to create a culture where it’s more about the customer than revenue and control.

You need leadership management buy-in on your long-term objective. Without it, the company will never grow.

Books such as The Trusted Seller can help you show the importance of aligning to a customer’s desired outcomes.

2. Align the infrastructure.

Once you have leadership buy-in, the next step is to design how it should be administered. You need to remove all of the obstacles that stand in your way.


The best way to motivate your sales team is by paying them well and rewarding them proportionally based on their performance reviews.

Let them do what they are best at – solve customer problems.

When they focus on customer service first, instead of just the sale, customers will be more likely to trust them.

The quota system is really bad because it’s based on a salesperson’s OTE (On Target Earnings), which they plan their life around.

Doing the right thing for your customers and not hitting your quota is a fantasy. If you’re trying to do that, then stop it.

OTE sets the size of your mortgage, savings each month, and how much you can afford to spend on vacations. Missing that quota could mean not paying off my mortgage or having enough money in my pension which is what gives me security.

It’s a terrible feeling, sure. But it’s made up for when they hit quota.

It’s not enough to feel like you can make your OTE because it doesn’t really motivate salespeople. So get rid of the bonus system.


Most companies have a sales process. We do too, and it is necessary to track revenue.

I’m guessing that your process is fixed, with steps 1-3 being “hire” or something similar.

Your company’s rigid sales process is not customer-centric. It only focuses on your own needs, not the customers’

A customer-centric sales process is flexible and evolves as the needs of customers change. What if they want to start with contracting? Or do a capability gap analysis first? These changes happen all the time.

A customer-centric process is one that can’t be linear. It has to take into account the preferences of your customers.

If you try to force your timeline, it will be harder.

One of my good friends told me a story from their past. They used to run the relationship between two mega-companies (one is Fortune 10 and one is as well).

The salesperson called her multiple times during Thanksgiving dinner, and she finally picked up to tell them that it was not a good time. They told her this contract needed signing immediately or the deal would be off.

The seller had to make a certain number of sales in order to meet their quota by the end of the quarter.

She was very angry, and she ended up causing a lot of problems with that individual for a long time.

In conclusion, align with their budget cycles and timeline. Make it easy to buy from you.

3. Activate your sales teams true potential

In order to help motivate the team, I stopped rewarding individual performance and started focusing on how well they all did as a group.

When you were a kid, remember when you had to do your music exam? Or go for the swimming test? Remember going to school and taking exams too?

If we don’t have school, it is understandable that when an individual leaves education they will expect to be rewarded for their work. But in the workforce, there are many other factors at play.

In all other areas of the company, we work in teams. That’s like taking an exam and having your whole class there to help you when you need it.

We need to focus on diversity during the hiring process so people can have an opportunity for a better life.

If sales are not about driving revenue anymore, then why not leverage the whole sales team to deliver customer desired outcomes?

Got through the exam together!

I would like to move from a golf team, where the success of one person doesn’t motivate you to work hard for your own success, and instead make it feel more like we are all on a soccer team.

Salespeople today are often superstar individual performers, so they want to remain recognized as such. They don’t want their success diluted by being part of a team.

If you change your model, they might leave.

A few people will leave, but if your base pay is competitive and you give them a good commission structure, many will stay to see how it goes.

And they like it.

I found that having colleagues to help, coaching and being coached, sharing opportunities with the team and leveraging diversity was rewarding in itself.

The longer they stay, the more comfortable and familiar with one another people will get. This leads to increased performance as a team.

The more specialized your team is, the better off you’ll be.

A final suggestion

Customer-centricity was a buzzword for many years but not much has been done to capitalize on it because the culture, infrastructure and team mechanics were never aligned.

The first thing you need to do is get leadership on board with the idea. Once that’s done, it becomes a matter of making sure there isn’t any old company-focused infrastructure standing in your way. Then, once everything has been set up for success (which takes time), you bring all your people across.

Getting management approval on something as big and complex as this isn’t easy. So, instead of asking for it outright, why not ask to experiment with some new ideas?

  • Create and design a new operating model, team structure, process etc.
  • Get permission to test it first in a smaller environment.
  • Collect the data.
  • It is important to recognize what you are doing that is working and not.
  • Keep testing different variations of your experiment until you find what works best for you.

Once I have shown the initial results, it should be easy to convince management to fully implement this idea.

Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.