If Brian Williams were in a sales role selling to you, would you buy from him?

Would you be less likely to buy from him today than you might have been a few weeks ago?

The likely answer is “yes.” We would be less likely to buy from him, yet ask yourself this question: Has anything changed about Brian during that time?

The answer is “no,” but — and it’s a big but — how we see him and what we know of him has changed.



Amazing how a person may not change, but what we know about them does change and, therefore, we do view them differently.

Bigger yet is the the level with which we trust them.   This is the connection with sales — at the core of every sale is a level of trust.  Trust is the determining factor in how the customer understands and accepts value, and the level of value they see is the price they will pay.

Less trust, equals less value, which in turn equals less price.

It’s really a very simple equation, and yet it can be so difficult for a salesperson to understand it.

Going back to Brian Williams, I’m sure he didn’t feel any different about himself a few days before “he” became the news story.  In his mind, he still exuded a high degree of trust.   That right there is the silver bullet — trust is not what we think; it’s what the other person thinks.

Every action and every word is subject to be scrutiny by our customers.   I’m sure Brian Williams didn’t wake up one morning and fabricate a different story. No, the story came about in his mind one small move at a time until it became what it is today.

Same thing with salespeople.

It’s easy to make a passing comment about something to help close a deal.  You get the deal and all is forgotten.   Next sale, next comment and boom, what you said before to close a deal comes back up again and slowly over time it takes on a life of its own.

Sales is about integrity and trust.  It’s about being who you are to every person you come in contact with, regardless if they’re a customer, a prospect or just a person you pass by.

They say history repeats itself, and it’s a shame when we fail to take advantage of free learning — or in this case, another person’s problems.

Do I feel bad for Brian Williams? Yes, but in the end, it was his decision to say and do what he did.  The lesson for us as salespeople and for that matter everyone is to keep a picture of Brian Williams handy.

Why?  Simple — we need the picture to remind us daily to never allow a seemingly innocent comment to begin spiraling into a legacy of mistrust.

Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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