Sales Training Lesson 2: Understanding Trust

On your journey of learning how to sell or be more persuasive, you need to follow the mechanics of trust and any other attitude you will use to move others. Selling, persuasion, like the success of a good magic trick, depend heavily on powerful psychological biases – understanding these biases is vital to this process.

Let’s get on with it. Welcome to your second lesson.

NOTE: Every lesson contains, amongst other parts, exercises and the reasons for the activities in those exercises. Whenever possible, I will suggest additional reading.

Why Is Trust Important To Selling?

As per our first lesson, the definition of selling we want to observe is persuading or convincing someone of something’s merits. I’ll ask you this: when was the last time you accepted anything from anyone you did not trust?

I will ask that question differently: when did you accept anything from anyone without a factor influencing your acceptance of that thing or person? These influencing factors could be simple motivators like your liking of the item or person or a need to accept what that person offered.

I want you to take some time now, to consider what factors could lead you to take someone’s offer. Could you think about different proposals made to you by different people and the factors that would influence your decision about those proposals?

Take your time.

Exercise 1 (Level: Basic)

In your first lesson, you did your best to identify the reasons you might trust others, and you remembered the last time you convinced someone of something.

We will go inside now to do our best to understand how trust feels to you and to identify it in others.

I want you to think about someone you trust. It would be best if you imagined accepting an offer from that person; the more complicated the proposal, the more complex the feelings about it will be; I recommend starting with a simple idea.

As you go through this process, do your best to identify what feelings arise in you, notice how your body and face react to those feelings. Whenever possible, do this part of the exercise in front of a mirror and observe those feelings’ physical signals. What are your eyebrows and shoulders doing? What is happening in your face? Make a note of the changes you see.

Do this part several times; it is not easy to spot subtle signs of emotion.

When you have performed the first part of this exercise enough times to identify how trust and acceptance feel to you and remember the vital role honesty plays in this process, I want you to do it with a friend.

Ask a friend, or a cohort, if you have access to several people willing to play with you, to do the first part of this exercise and notice how they react to it. Ask them what they feel and pay attention to how their faces and bodies respond to those feelings.

Make notes about this part and do it enough times to become familiar with the process.


It is imperative to the endeavour of persuasion to identify how people feel and provide the best possible feedback to those feelings. Nothing will put up defences faster than feeling disconnected from the person with whom we speak.

Whilst it is true that people react to emotional stimuli differently, this exercise will help you establish a baseline of the feelings and behaviours of trust and acceptance. Knowing that someone is feeling something, whatever that may be, can help you determine your next step towards convincing them of what you want them to believe.

Learning to read people, as many love to call it, is an essential part of selling. We will work on this skill extensively as we move through these lessons.

I cannot finish stressing the need to remain honest about what you think you see and understand about yourself and others. Self-honesty will invariably make the difference between success and failure.

I will add here that knowing how to identify and decode signals of emotion well will improve your general life-experience. This ability to understand what people are feeling/thinking is what many experts call emotional intelligence, which is a superpower for the person wanting to affect psychological change in those around him.

Make sure to complete the exercises suggested here before moving onto the next lesson. Let us know how this works out for you.

Suggested Reading

On Microexpressions:

Dr Paul Ekman:

Reading facial expressions of emotion:

Spotting Lies and Barriers to Persuasion:

Published by Invert City

Changing the conversation about what effective coaching is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: