Do you know what it’s like to have your confidence in people shaken by how they blindsided you with bad behavior—in a way that makes you feel skeptical in the future of any other person’s intentions? You may not even know that this still affects you. It affects you when selling, leading others, parenting, and it even affects the quality of your marriage. 

The people you employ may bring with them low levels of trust toward others, or authority figures, simply because of how they were treated at home. They could be a child of a divorce, the spouse of a cheating partner, or an employee of a dishonest manager at a previous company. Yet, there are some people who have never had a situation where someone misled them or hurt them, or they mentally processed it as an unusual incident—one that they will most likely not ever experience again.

It’s not a genetic trait you or they now have. It’s an embedded one that’s grafted into your psyche from the past and affecting your behaviors in future relationships. We can either be Pollyanna and believe people will always do what they say, or we can be skeptical and never believing. Ronald Reagan once said to Mikhail Gorbachev about nuclear arms disarmament, “Trust, but verify,” and that about sums up a good place to be on having a level of this trait.

Today, we’re focusing on a salesperson’s level of ”Belief in Others” and how it impacts their performances.

Belief in Others

As defined by the CTS Sales Profile, this scale measures a salesperson’s belief in both self and others. High Scorers are optimistic due to their trust in others and their belief that they are solely responsible for their success and failure. They tend to see everyone as a potential prospect and have no problem asking for referrals. 

On the other hand, Low Scorers may become negative if things aren’t going well, and they may stop pursuing a prospect or sale. They can be rigid, formal, and skeptical of others’ intentions.
The level of a salesperson’s belief in others can directly impact their relationship with their sales manager. Brian Tracy once said that, “The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” 

By demonstrating a strong belief in others, a salesperson can build a stronger relationship with their manager. One research study published in the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management found that salespeople who believe in others tend to have stronger relationships with their sales managers, leading to better overall sales performance (Jones, et al., 2008).

How Belief in Others Affects Prospecting

When prospecting and setting appointments, belief in others can make all the difference. Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” This mindset is centered around a belief that people will want you to help them. Reps who score high in this trait are more likely to approach potential clients with a genuine desire to serve, making it easier to set appointments and establish rapport with them. 

They believe that good things will happen because people will positively respond to them. This will even change the inflection in their voices and make them sound positive and more believable. I don’t know about you … but, some of my best prospecting days occurred after one positive experience when calling for business. One person’s reaction and acceptance of me and my call. This one call generated the optimism that others would follow and supercharged my calling time for the rest of the day and seemed to make other phone calls easier and more productive.

Approaching People and Developing Rapport

The belief in others also plays a key role in approaching people and developing rapport. High Scorers are more likely to have an optimistic attitude, which makes it easier to connect with potential clients. Sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer says, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” When salespeople approach prospects with a genuine attitude that they will be able to help them, they can quickly establish rapport and trust, leading to more successful sales interactions. The needs discovery stage in the sales process is helped, because a genuine belief in others can empower salespeople to ask sensitive questions and delve deeper into the client’s concerns. 

Ok think about this—if you were skeptical of people and their reactions to you and your questions, how would this attitude affect you?  Would it make you hesitate because of a lower confidence? According to Harvard Business Review, “Trust is the conduit for influence; it’s the medium through which ideas travel” (Cuddy, et al., 2018). When a salesperson trusts their prospect, they can create a safe space for open conversation, enabling them to gather valuable information needed to craft an effective sales solution.

Handling Objections and Concerns

As all of us know, objections and concerns are an inevitable part of the sales process—especially as the size of the deal grows larger. However, salespeople with a strong belief in others are better equipped to handle these challenges. By trusting the intentions and capabilities of their clients, they can address concerns with empathy and understanding. 

As Dale Carnegie, the renowned author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” once said, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” By believing in others, salespeople can effectively navigate the emotional landscape of objections, ultimately leading to better outcomes.

Asking for a Decision

High Scorers in this trait are more confident in their clients’ ability to make an informed choice, making it easier for them to ask for a commitment. They understand that their role is not to force a decision, but rather to provide the necessary information and support to empower the client. This approach not only increases the likelihood of closing a sale, but it also fosters long-term client relationships built on trust and respect.

While believing in others plays a vital role in various aspects of a salesperson’s performance, it also greatly impacts sales leaders’ coaching, because they believe reps will react positively. I’ve seen years of sales leaders being disappointed by those they hired, which led them to lower levels of belief in future hires. This carried over an attitude of distrust that negatively affected interactions with their team members. Previous bad rep behaviors affected the quality and spirit of their coaching, and the new reps had nothing to do with what had happened to this sales leader in the past.

Before we end, there is a negative effect to guard against when having natural high levels of trust in others. People can take advantage of you, so remember to trust, but verify. Verify the rep did what they said they would do, verify or ask prospects if they are still prospects and when, the timeframe within, they want to buy. Verify the budgets of your clients. Trust but verify. You might even trust some people on some things until you have a need to verify what they say. That will depend upon the magnitude of what they are doing and the impact on you, them, or others.

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