How to Train Outside Sales Reps to Build Trust With Prospects

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Your company may sell a fantastic product or service, but the truth is that people buy from sales reps they like and trust. In business like in life, relationships are key.

So how important is trust in the sales process? 79% of business buyers say that it’s crucial for a sales rep also to be a trusted advisor. Salespeople need to add real value to a prospect’s business during the process, not just blindly sell a product.

What Makes an Outside Sales Rep Trustworthy?

While it’s easy enough to track how much training a rep is receiving and how knowledgeable they are about the offering, trust is more abstract. After all, it’s a feeling. While the customer/sales rep relationship will feel different to each potential customer, there are some telltale signs of a sales rep that will inspire trustworthiness.

A trustworthy sales rep…

  • Asks essential questions that get to the heart of a prospect’s problem
  • Provides insight that allows prospects to understand their problem fully
  • Leaves prospects feeling clear about what to do and what to focus on
  • Uses terms that inspire confidence, such as “certainly” and “absolutely”

An untrustworthy sales rep…

  • Talks more than they listen
  • Focuses on their knowledge and the product’s stats, as opposed to customer need
  • Doesn’t offer a solution that will solve prospect pain(s)
  • Is unclear, so prospects are not sure how to move forward successfully

How to Train Sales Reps To Build Trust

Training is an essential (and ongoing) aspect of your sales team’s success. After all, high-performing sales organizations are twice as likely to provide ongoing training than their low-performing counterparts. The art of building and maintaining relationships is a skill your sales reps will have to perfect over time, but there are ways to get them started on the right foot.

Start from the inside

Being a helpful and trustworthy sales rep starts within the company. Open communication, respect, and teamwork within your organization set the gold standard for reps to live by. Managers should regularly check in with sales reps and be open to feedback, and reward integrity.

Set big sales goals

A trustworthy sales rep is an effective sales rep, and an effective sales rep meets quota. Setting big goals for your team, and rewarding those who hit them using trust, will inspire the team to put their best foot forward.

Focus on consistent communication

A key component in building and maintaining any relationship is regular communication. Your sales team should set up automatic reminders to follow up with prospects at all stages of the buying cycle. Making a buyer feel as though they matter enough for a sales rep to continually give them attention will build trust.

Encourage an interest in a prospect’s personal life

No, this doesn’t mean a sales rep should cyber-stalk every prospect. However, setting up an easy way for your sales rep to note details and stories from their meetings makes future small talk more tailored. If a potential client mentions that their kid has a big soccer tournament coming up, a sales rep can ask how it went the next time they talk to build rapport.

Make time for practice

When it comes to building trust with prospects, there’s no substitution for good ‘ol fashion practice. However, you may not want to use real-life customers for training purposes. Mock sales meetings within your team give managers insight into a sales rep’s current communication style. Are they asking useful questions? Are they giving the other person room to talk? Are they wrapping up the call with a clear and concise plan?

Another way to continually build your team’s trust-building skills is to provide them with a list of mock customer scenarios. Using the information about the customer and their problems, is the sales rep able to prescribe a personalized solution?

Want to learn more about setting your sales team up for success. Check out our guide to creating a sales playbook to achieve consistent results.


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