How to create instant trust as a sales rep – 4min read

What does it mean to be trusted by someone? What does it take to be trusted by someone? What does it take to be instantly trusted by someone you’ve never met before? Learn how to develop ready-made solutions to create more trust tomorrow than you did today by using the Instant Trust Triangle.


“Trust is the foundation for everything we do.”


–Prof. Frances Frei from the Harvard Business School, during a TED Talk on trust and how she helped rebuild Uber’s business culture. She is a best-selling author of Uncommon Service:

 How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business.


Skynamo mobile sales app



The 4 Rs of Trust

To answer the above questions about trust, let’s take Prof. Frei as example. Why are we inclined to trust someone like her to advise us on business culture and related matters?


1. Reputation

Our beliefs or opinions about Harvard as an excellent academic institution lend credibility to Dr. Frei’s opinions.


2. Reference

Dr. Frei’s professorship, success of her published works and achievements with major corporations testify to the recognition of her abilities by both the academic and business communities.


3. Relatability

As someone who understands the daily challenges people in business face, she is not simply coming at it from a theoretical academic perspective.


It’s one thing to rely on perceptions developed over time, but what does it take to be trusted in an instant, in person?


Sales reps face the challenge of having to win someone’s trust within minutes from first introducing themselves. Competition in the sales industry is fierce and often times very little distinguishes the reputation of one brand, product or service from another.


Sales manager, Christoff Sonnekus at Triangle Lubricants, a Shell distributor and Skynamo customer, argues that “customers first buy your rep, then they buy your brand, and only then do they buy your actual products”.


People choose people they can trust.


Read the full Triangle Lubricants case study here…


 4. Rapport

Frei’s actual delivery when she steps on stage for her TED Talk backs up what her CV suggests, with substance. She is present to her audience. She speaks both with authority and humility. As an expert, she communicates a genuine concern for the challenges her audience might be facing and the questions they might be asking.

It’s easy for her audience to conclude, “she’s on our side”.

Building a good rapport is all about showing up, looking the part and backing up a good first impression with substance. It opens people up to trust and immediately creates the perception that the first three Rs are intact.


“A depth of trust is grown relationally, over time. Instant trust is necessary for a depth of trust to develop” – Julian Diaz, Skynamo Head of Marketing 


Frei’s research suggests an Instant Trust Triangle as foundational to good rapport. When people sense the presence of this triangle, they trust instantly. When any one of its legs wobble, trust is threatened.


Skynamo Field Sales Transparency Gap Report

Download the Skynamo Transparency Report here.


The Instant Trust Triangle

Frei’s challenge to each of us is to create more trust tomorrow than we do today. The way she suggests we do this is to understand where trust wobbles and to develop ready-made solutions to counter that.


 i. Empathy

If someone believes your empathy is directed towards them, they are more likely to trust you. Herein lies the most common trust wobble. People struggle to believe that we’re truly in it for them.

With your busy schedule, it’s so easy to crowd out the time and space that empathy requires. You move from visit to visit and are easily distracted from customer needs to your own.

The ability to articulate a potential customer’s needs to them and show a true understanding of the challenges their business face, upon first meeting them, is crucial to building instant trust.


Skynamo solution:

“As a rep, my favourite feature on Skynamo is being able to access customer visit history to refresh my memory on what happened the last time I met with them. It communicates to the customer that I care about their business needs. It allows me to assist them in their business decisions.”

Interstat, Skynamo customer

ii. Authenticity

Being at ease with yourself is appreciated more than you might think. If people sense you are being authentic, they are more likely to trust you. Humans sniff out inauthenticity and find it highly frustrating. It’s a real trust killer.

Be certain of yourself. Know your products. Believe in your brand. Showcase only what you actually have to give, but give it with confidence in all its glory.


Skynamo solution:

“We have adequate control of our systems and processes. Skynamo enabled our reps to guarantee what we can offer, and we are able to deliver on those promises. We trust our systems.”

Triangle Lubricants, Skynamo user

iii. Logic

Trust needs to make sense in more ways than one. When people sense we have real rigour in our logic with which we present something to them, they are more likely to trust us.

Logic wobbles come in two forms: it’s either the quality of logic or the ability to communicate logic that fails.

Frei suggests an easy method to ensure that sound logic is well communicated. Instead of talking your way towards the point you wish to make, avoid the logic wobble and start with your point. Deliver your selling point in a crisp, short phrase. Only then deliver your supporting evidence to make your case. In this way, you ensure that potential customers have access to the most helpful information they need from the interaction.


Skynamo solution:

“Skynamo provides our reps with more accurate and updated information, technically strengthening them to deliver services according to customer needs. Skynamo ensures that reps are informed and able to operate as consultants out in the field.”

B2C Premium Drinks, Skynamo user

Instant trust is all about building a good rapport. It is about showing up, looking the part and backing up a good first impression with substance. Good rapport is communicated through the Instant Trust Triangle: empathy, authenticity and logic.

Understanding where instant trust wobbles in our daily communications with others, allows us to develop ready-made solutions to create more trust tomorrow than we did today.

Read a response to this article by one of our readers on going Beyond Instant Trust: cultivating confidence in business relationships

Have you read the UK Field Sales Trust Gap Report yet? Download it here for FREE!