I once heard an excellent saying from a very successful businessman. He said that small business owners decide with their wallets whilst people in large businesses decide with their jobs. Whilst this may not be totally true, it helps us understand why trust is especially important when selling to corporates.

Having a trusted relationship will not guarantee the sale but without it you will be at a severe disadvantage when competing for work with corporates.

Trust can take years to build and seconds to lose. If you follow the 5 tips below, however, you will find trusted relationships quicker to win and easier to grow.

Treat every client as if they are important
Some people treat their big spending clients a lot differently to those only spending small amounts. Yet small accounts can, over time, grow into large accounts. They also treat the decision maker differently to other people they interact with. Yet some people might far more influential than we realise. Also people can get promoted and move companies. We should treat everyone as if they are really important to us – one day they might be!

Say what you mean and mean what you say
Assume clients will judge us by our actions. Being dishonest to a client is not a good way to develop a trusted relationship. Very few people can get away with being dishonest without giving things away through their body language or subsequent actions. We want clients to fully believe what we say and so we should always ensure we follow through on our commitments.

Deliver on your promises
When we win a sale, we are expected to deliver on what we have promised during the sales process. Making promises which cannot be delivered might win us the first sale but it will cause problems for us winning subsequent sales opportunities with that client.

Set expectations
Reliability is more than just delivering on promises made during the sales process. It’s about correctly setting expectations. It is better to err on the side of caution than to promise something and fail to deliver. For example, if we say we will resolve an issue in a week and it actually takes 2 weeks then it makes us look bad. Yet, if we set expectations for 3 weeks and it takes us 2 then we look good!

Be consistent
When the stakes get really high for our clients, 90% reliable means 100% unreliable. People will make up their minds about us over time and we need to ensure that we are not only reliable during the sales process but we are consistently reliable on an on-going basis.