The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the B2B and B2C selling process as we know it. Many people are currently working remotely, either permanently or for the foreseeable future and consequently face-to-face conversations are now screen-to-screen. This goes for buyers and sellers too. What hasn’t changed in the sales process, however, is the fact that trust-based relationships are crucial.
Strong relationships, whether personal or economic, are built on trust. Indeed, 73% of respondents from a recent Dale Carnegie study indicated that trust is “very” or “extremely” important to them for building relationships with salespeople. Further supporting the critical role trust plays in a buyer and seller relationship (and driving profitable sales), the same study found that 71% of respondents said they would rather buy from a salesperson they trusted over one who gave them the lowest price.
So, what exactly is trust? In sales, trust ultimately boils down to the customer’s perception of the salesperson’s credibility, and whether they believe the salesperson is acting with their best interests at heart. While today’s remote landscape in the COVID-19 era certainly requires more attention and care to build the foundations for a solid, trusting relationship, it’s clearly worth the effort. Now more than ever, buyers are looking to minimize risk in their purchases, and this is exactly where trust comes into play.
Supported by additional finding from the study, here are three more reasons why trust is key in driving profitable sales:
Trust creates repeat business
One of the biggest long-term outcomes of a trusting, professional relationship between a buyer and a seller is repeat business. In our study,81% of respondents indicated that they would likely buy again from a company represented by a salesperson they trust.
Trust leads to recovery
Humans are not perfect. No matter a salesperson’s best efforts or how good their intentions are, there will be times when the customer is dissatisfied. The good news is, when the trust is there, customers are more willing to forgive a mistake or a bad experience. In fact, customers who trust their salesperson are three times more likely to forgive a single bad experience, while 44% said they would be very unlikely to forgive a single bad experience if they do not trust their salesperson. Furthermore, only 17% indicated that they would still be very likely to consider buying from a competitor if they trusted their current salesperson.
In a time when the need to stay ahead of the competition is crucial, customers who trust their salespeople can provide that competitive edge – their feedback. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents said they would be “somewhat” or “very likely” to share a concern or complaint if they trusted their salesperson. The value lies in the fact that at this stage, the customer is not lost. Because the customer is willing to share their concerns with a salesperson they trust, there’s still a chance to recover them.
Trust drives loyal partnerships
The impact of trust manifests itself in both customers’ attitudes and behaviors that are beneficial to the seller. For example, a trusting, loyal customer is likely to spready positive word of mouth. About 77% of survey respondents who trust their salesperson said they are “somewhat” or “very likely” to refer their family or friends. In addition, 63% said they are “somewhat” or “very likely” to write a positive review if they trust their salesperson.
Trust is your most powerful selling tool – it creates repeat business, leads to recovery and helps drive long-term loyal partnerships. While customers are still price-conscious—especially in the COVID-19 era—a solid business relationship built on trust consistently contributes to long-term behaviors and emotional attitudes that result in profitable sales.