Trusted Advisors: The one thing that people want to buy, but you can’t sell

Consider these questions for a moment to assess your own approach to sales.

  • Are you order-taking from clients by fulfilling existing demands?
  • How well are you building relationships with clients? How do you know?
  • What are your clients buying from you?
  • Would your client trust you to advise them honestly on a purchase or a problem?
  • How client-focused are you in your day to day work?

The difference that makes all the difference

Do you know what makes the difference between a person that make sales in a downturn and those who take orders when demand is high?


People buy trust first, products second – if you can’t establish a bridge of trust, the chances are you won’t make nearly as many sales as you could. But you can’t sell trust. The difference between short term gain and long term success is formed of the intangibles, such as aligning the interests of the buyer and seller.

What do we need to do to build TRUST with our customers?

We can establish rapport by increasing the similarities and minimising the differences between you. There are four simple ways that you can start do this:

  1. Ask open questions and listen. Use small talk in the first instance about anything but the product. Limit the time you speak and encourage them to speak.
  2. Voice tonality. Match their pace of speech and the tone of their voice.
  3. Body language. Match their body language (NOT COPY), notice their rhythm, hand gestures, pace of breathing and whether they seem excitable or calm. Let your customers find meaning and good intentions in everything you say. SMILE!
  4. Use their terminology (even if it is incorrect) and treat them in a way that would make them want to be friends with you, comfortable in your presence.

I want…

The customer wants to know we are totally committed to getting them what they want.

A smart salesperson listens to emotions, not facts. Let your customer know you are interested in their situation and help them discover what they want.

Imagine you were selling carpets to the residential market. Here are some ‘WANT’ questions you might ask:

  1. What ‘feel’ do you want the room to have?
  2. What ‘look’ are you trying to achieve that will make the room special for you?
  3. What would you like to hear other people saying about this room?
  4. If visitors were to come into this room, what would you like their reaction to be?
  5. What would make this room special for you?

What ‘want questions’ could you ask your customers?

Mutual Value

Reveal your own interests – which should be – I am here to find a product that fits your needs and if I do a good job for you I get rewarded through pay. Caring is the binding force in buyer-seller relationships – it demonstrates you are sincere in your motives. You are demonstrating that by doing the right thing for them, both of you will benefit.

When you shift from being order-orientated to client-focused, you move from selling products to providing value to your customers. Once clients feel that you are trying to provide them with the best value you stop competing on price and product – all of which competitors could match or beat, if not now then soon. The field changes quickly so you need to put down roots with your relationships and ability to build trust. Emotions don’t change.

‘Being a Trusted Advisor’ is a client-centric culture that has most impact when the company adopts it as a whole to achieve mutual value for the client, employee, team and organisation.


Remember the basic principles of building trusted professional relationships.

  • Treat people the way they want to be treated
  • Be respectful
  • Listen to them and their opinions
  • Demonstrate through your behaviours that you care about their result
  • Make them feel safe with you and you will make the process easy for them

Positive Change Partners work with organisations to embed the positive behaviours that impact the bottom line through training workshops, coaching, strategic planning and consultancy. We are based in Surrey, England and have a prestigious client base in London and throughout the UK and Europe. We also work internationally with global organisations. 

If you would like to speak with us please call 01342 837660 or email