How Sales Managers Build Trust


Have you ever felt that your team members are not committed to your latest sales initiative? Maybe you sense they lack trust or confidence in you?

You’re not alone.

While rarely discussed openly, these are common feelings for many sales managers and leaders.

In the 2019 Edelman trust barometer, 65% of respondents stated that treating employees well is the greatest obligation for a business. In comparison, only 47% of respondents said that treating customers well is a business’s greatest obligation.

Business and the workplace are changing, and sales leaders need to adapt and ensure they are aware of the triggers that could lead to their sales teams losing confidence, which will ultimately impact on results, team morale and lead to potential retention issues.

Let’s explore the top three reasons why sales colleagues lose trust in their managers?

1. Lack of support and communication – Without the right engagement, openness and honesty, the manager will not be able to appreciate and address their team’s concerns. Every team member must know their line manager has got their back and is invested in their career and development for the long term. They need to know that it’s not just about the short-term day-to-day objectives for their manager. This involves the manager understanding and discussing individual team member’s motivations and, importantly, ensuring there is adequate opportunity for providing them with constructive feedback and recognising their training and development needs.

2. Do as I say and not as I do culture – Managers must lead by example. When they don’t, trust and respect are eroded, with questions raised over their ability to do the job and provide strategic direction. Once doubt and discontent set in, there is a ripple effect whereby everything is challenged. At LSOS, we follow a simple rule: we will not ask anyone to do something that we are not prepared to do ourselves.

3. Unable to translate business objectives into meaningful sales initiatives – When a manager forces their team to complete tasks without any context or understanding of their importance or how they will help achieve greater sales, individuals get distracted, lose focus and think small, rather than in terms of opportunity. It’s the manager’s responsibility to create the narrative that will help the team to grow. If the activity has no sales benefit, it is their job to challenge their manager to provide the necessary context and rationale before briefing their team.

LSOS Sales Manager Training Ethos

To build and nurture trust takes time. Over the years, I’ve often reflected on what single quality differentiates managers and makes team members more likely to trust, follow and commit to them. I believe that what every salesperson wants from their manager is for them to care and it is this quality they look for.

It might sound too simple and obvious, but caring is a powerful force for action. It demonstrates the manager’s commitment to the team and individual team members. It’s important to remember the highest-ranking sales performer doesn’t necessarily make the best manager. At the core of each successful sales manager is an innate sense of purpose to serve and support those that they are managing and leading.

Sales managers who are sensitive to their team’s development, wellness and focus are like gold dust. They will do what it takes in their quest to remove barriers and ensure their team members have what they need to succeed and grow.

These managers are not thinking about self-preservation. Instead, they are selfless in their support of those around them. This focus on caring should not be viewed as a weakness but their greatest strength because it enables them to see the bigger picture and the opportunity in developing those around them.

Vinit Shah

Get valuable insight into what makes you tick with our quick ‘Skills Scan’ here.