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Trust is Earned in Less Than One Second

Yesterday, I stumbled on a Princeton Study about First Impressions. Turns out we're much faster at judging than I'd ever imagined. Psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov now say it takes us 1/10th of a second to gauge trustworthiness! Here's how it worked: Willis and Todorov placed a series of photographs of faces in front of volunteers. Regardless of whether the photograph was in front of them for 1/10th of a second or if the participants could decide when to move to the next photograph, the results were the same. The faces that were judged as highly trustworthy by the participants who were given 1/10th of a second, were also identified as highly trustworthy by the volunteers who had a lot of time to look at the pictures. What does this mean? We are remarkably quick to judge each other based on some deep-seated predispositions. As a salesperson, how do you build and sustain trust?  Sure, first impressions may be lasting (and those first impressions might be quickly made), but there's more to it than a snap judgement. We believe that trust can be increased over time. If you come out of the gate with a high level of trust, that's all the better; however, even if you don't, it's possible to build some with a prospect. Here's how: We like to call it Trustability. And it's a combination of three things:

  • Openness: This involves honesty, a willingness to admit fault, and an absolute resistance to hiding anything (even if it's detrimental).
  • Consistency: This means following through on commitments. Every time.
  • Credibility: This requires a reliance on a third party when it's necessary. In some cases that's a client testimonial, in others it's simply your prospect's willingness to take a risk with you.
One of the best ways to build trust (and rapport) is to be professional in every interaction with a prospect. It's always better to be trusted than liked. After all, approval-seeking salespeople have skinny kids.

What implications does this have for your selling career? - @JebBrooks