Don’t fake it: How to earn trust

S&A Coaching’s Susanna Statton takes a look at trust and how you can earn it before you’ve delivered.

It’s received wisdom that people don’t buy products as much as they buy from people. We purchase from people we like. More importantly, we purchase from people we trust. So looking after your existing customers, and keeping the relationship with past customers open is crucial. But what do you do when you’re engaging a new customer who’s never heard of you before? How do you build trust?

building trust

Here is my quick five-point plan for being able to build trust with new customers quickly:


Authenticity and passion encompass a lot. Would you do business with you? Would you buy your product or use your service? Why? If you’re not passionate about your offering, selling it will be hard.

If you don’t enjoy selling what you’re selling, you won’t engender trust. It’s difficult to fake it no matter how good an actor you may be. The customer will see through it. So sell what you love and sell why you love it. Bring your own personal values to the fore.

So, find yourself in your offering and then be yourself – it’s a recipe for success.


This is the service bit. How much do you really care about your potential customers, their lives, and the problems they’re trying to solve? How much do you want to solve their problems for them? How important is it to you that your offering can help them?

The temptation to look for the opportunity to be the solution to just any potential problem can cause the over-enthusiastic sales person to jump in too quickly with the sales pitch. Listening deeply, with curiosity, and asking lots of broad, open questions will help potential customers to talk through their issues, and help them decide what they want. Once you’ve honestly been the one who’s helped them establish that clarity, and you’re sure your product or service is the answer, ask a few more specific questions that you might even already know the answer to. One way or another you now have the language the customer uses to describe their own problem, and you can use it. At this stage, if your product or service is the answer, it will be obvious to the customer as soon as you make your offer.  And even if your offering isn’t the solution for them, they will love you anyway and they might still be back.


Whether you’re the managing director of the company, or just answer the phones, personalisation goes a long way toward building trust and rapport. You can personalise just by using someone’s name the way they like it.


There is nothing like the testimonials of previous clients singing your praises. They know like-minded people: your potential customers. They are the generators of your strongest leads. When you start out, take the opportunity to give these people discounts for honest, valuable feedback. The negatives can inform improvement. Help them feel like they’re helping you design your service. They feel a sense of loyalty. The positives can sell your service. And why not tell all your customers that you take the positives and the negatives, and use them to continually strive to be the best? Another opportunity to gain their trust.


Ultimately, you need to be someone of your word. A customer or client receiving poor service and left feeling unsatisfied will tell people, and the word will spread like a virus. A job well done may get talked about slightly less, but when someone’s looking for your service, they’ll ask your clients about the service level, and that’s when your customers will sell you. So aim to under-promise and over-deliver.

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