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Be Trustworthy and Likable

Originally published: 09.01.16 by Pete Grasso

Salespeople get a bad rap. Most people envision that slick, cheesy, pushy used car salesman stereotype portrayed by Robin Williams in “Cadillac Man” when they hear the term salespeople. Or, perhaps they picture the hard-selling, arrogant salesmen from the classic movie “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

I’ll be honest — I sometimes carry that preconceived notion with me into a situation where I’m required to deal with someone trying to sell something to me. And, really, that only makes the salesperson’s job that much more difficult, because it’s an automatic obstacle they need to overcome before they can even get to their pitch.

In reality, most salespeople aren’t like that. Don’t get me wrong, some are, but the good ones today are actually likable (and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great ones in my career).

Think about the last time you had a positive interaction with a salesperson. Chances are, you had a positive experience because that salesperson was genuine and made you feel comfortable with your decision.

That’s the kind of people you want your sales team to be — positive, friendly, likable people.

Your sales team is not only responsible for bringing in revenue, they’re out in the field representing your brand. If you want customers to respond positively to your company, then you need people who are likable.

The toughest part of the sales process is, perhaps, that initial interaction. If the customer doesn’t have a positive encounter with a salesperson during that first meeting, in most cases, the sale has already been lost.

Most people make up their mind within those first few minutes. I shouldn’t have to tell you how important it is to make a great first impression.

A recent study found there was serious money to be made if a brand was seen as trustworthy, or if it was seen as drastically improving a customer’s quality of life.

It seems like common sense — if a customer trusts you or believes your product/service will improve their quality of life, they’ll spend money with you.

The study, conducted by the Havas Media Group in collaboration with GSK, is summarized in an article on According to the article, the study asked 300,000 respondents how they felt about each of the 1,000 biggest brands in the world by market value when it came to attachment and effect on quality of life.

“Brands that enhance the well-being of people, communities and societies are more meaningful,” Maria Garrido, global head of data and consumer insights, says in the article. “In high-growth markets, the relationship between people and brands is one that focuses more on personal benefits.”

The study also looked inside the brands’ performance on key sales indicators to further illustrate the results and show just how much “meaningfulness” actually drives sales.

This is a very broad spectrum analysis, but one in which the key takeaway is crucial for your business. Customers want to do business with trustworthy companies and people.

This brings me back to your salespeople. They are in control of that all-important first impression with your customers. Do they appear likable and trustworthy?

Is this a quality your company strives toward? Maybe it should be.

As Ron Smith says, “If your company consistently provides quality work, on-time delivery, ethical corporate behavior, and is convenient to do business with, the subject of price often does not come up. Price becomes an issue when a company fails to provide any or all of the four items that customers want.”


Pete Grasso is the editor of HVACR Business magazine and the Ahead of the Curve enewsletter, as well as web content editor for and author of the blog Keeping it Simple.


About Pete Grasso

Pete is the former editor of HVACR Business magazine. He has spent his career working in and with trade media, both as a public relations practitioner and as an editor. He gained a great deal of expertise in the B2B arena, within large and medium sized advertising agencies. Be sure to follow Pete on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn!


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