Why Salespeople Struggle with Trust

Salespeople tend to be either the most undermanaged or overmanaged people in the entire company. In some ways, this makes sense because their roles and responsibilities require a lot of autonomy, judgment, and duties that are executed outside the view of management. Naturally, there are bound to be trust issues from both salespeople and management. Let’s not forget the intense level of stress and competition that exists for salespeople as well. Their opportunities are always under constant threat from internal and external forces whether it is a competitor or a production team that can’t deliver on the salesperson’s promises. Salespeople struggle with trust every day, and the more they struggle with trust, the more their performance and results suffer. 


Salespeople can develop trust issues with a variety of people they deal with. Co-workers, supervisors, production, and even customers at times. A salesperson that can trust the team they are assigned to can, and usually does, become a high-powered sales machine. One of the main reasons that a salesperson struggles with trust is that they believe that either no one really understands the issues they face, they don’t care, or they are unwilling to help. That’s just how salespeople are wired and, for the most part, they must develop their own coping mechanisms to deal with those issues. However, there are some issues we can mitigate for them to help reduce stress, create transparency and focus on their sales goals. 


Inconsistent & ineffective leadership – Make certain that whoever leads the sales team does so with integrity and consistency. Once salespeople stop trusting their managers, they usually start seeing everyone and everything else with suspicion. 

Lack of engagement – Don’t be aloof with your salespeople. Let them know that you are aware, interested, and understand their needs. 

Broken promises – Do what you say you are going to do and don’t play games with compensation. 

Micromanagement – Spend more time coaching the salespeople than managing them. Salespeople always respond better to coaching than management. 

Gossip – Treat your salespeople with respect and do not engage, foster, or indulge in gossip.

Inequality– Are you playing favorites with the sales team? Or is there a family member present on the team that appears to be getting special treatment? Be sure everyone is handled the same no matter what.

Mistreatment – Don’t be abusive with salespeople. Sometimes management sees them as easy targets because they are a front-line response to customer issues but stop taking everything out on them. Once a salesperson feels like they are being abused, they almost always stop performing for a period due to a lack of motivation and, in some cases, retribution.

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