Credibility & Trust - Don't Leave Home Without Them!

18th June 2013 | By Frances Pratt


In sales – trust is everything.  If they don’t trust you, your product and your company, they simply won’t buy from you. 

The good news is that trust has an equation so you can better understand how to build it in your sales skills.  This is part one of my sales tips for the trust equation, what each component is and how you can use these assets to build trust. 

Trust Equation *  =  Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy

* The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H Green, Robert M. Galford


Many people start businesses because they are technical experts, which gives them some credibility.  We are normally good at showing this by having letters after our name, or information on our qualifications in our marketing materials or on our walls. 

There are two components to credibility; rational and emotional.  The rational is relatively easy to deliver and maintain.  It starts with your qualifications and builds as you answer questions about what you do and how you do it.  

Emotional credibility is about perception.  So it is much harder to judge how you are going.  It is based on your client’s belief that you are telling the complete truth.  And often this perception is based on unconscious fears, making it all the harder.

Here is way to think about and address unconscious or hidden fears with your clients:

  1. Be open about the most common fears that people have in dealing with your industry, and how you are different or have overcome these for other clients. 
  2. Ask your prospective client about what has gone right and wrong in their past business dealings and address how you would deal with these as you discuss things with your client.
  3. Have some stories  about fears you have helped clients to overcome in the past and how you have addressed these.


Stories can help by talking about the problems and fears other clients have had and how you have helped them.  They help to normalise the fear for the client.  For both of these reasons, they are more likely to feel comfortable to share other problems with you.

Tips for building credibility:

  1. Tell the truth
  2. Be yourself
  3. Be prepared.  Show them that you have done your research into what their needs might be.
  4. If you don’t know the answer, say so.  Let them know how you are going to get the answer to this question and when you will get back to them.
  5. Have a picture of your ideal client.  If they don’t fit, be honest and say so.  This allows you to either help them find someone who does, or review their fit with your ideal client model. 
  6. Think about the informational and emotional needs of your client.  Look at ways to meet these in your meetings.


Tell me about your credibility traps and tricks !

Read the next article ... on Reliability

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