If you want to build trust and credibility with your customers, and hold on to them for life, follow these 10 important tips: 

1. Avoid selling a solution that isn’t in the customer’s best interest.

Sometimes you just don’t have the right solution at the right price. If that is the case, it is always best to be honest with the customer, instead of proposing something which you know will not fully deliver the outcome the customer is looking for.

2. Never misrepresent the features, advantages and benefits of a product or service.

Customers don’t want a product or solution that only comes close to meeting their needs, or that usually functions properly. Give them the whole, unvarnished truth, and let them decide if the proposed solution will work for them.

3. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.

Some sales professionals find it very difficult to say no to the customer about anything. Telling the customer that a certain solution with specific features and benefits will be delivered by a specific deadline, when you know you can’t deliver, is a recipe for disaster.

4. Accepting or offering bribes or gifts is always unethical.

There is perhaps no brighter ethical line sales professionals must not cross than the one prohibiting off-the-books inducements.

5. Keep pricing consistent to all departments within the same company.

You will poison the relationship and kill the account if the discrepancy is ever discovered.

6. When problems develop after the sale, don’t make excuses and don’t place blame; fix the problem.

You are the face of the company; it is your duty as sales professional to deliver on the promise you made.

7. Don’t withhold bad news.

If you think the customer will be upset when you tell them the bad news, just imagine how much more upset they will be when they find out you knew the bad news three weeks ago and hid it from them.

8. If and when you must speak of the competition, be respectful at all times.

Some sales professionals seem to think that “trash-talking” the competition will make their own products and services look better. Usually, it only makes them look petty and immature in the eyes of the customer.

9. Always honor the relationships that other sales professionals on your team have with their accounts.

Stealing accounts from your team members is just that–stealing.

10. And finally: make promises and keep them.

Above all, you must do what you say, when you said you would do it.  This one skill alone will put you head and shoulders above your competition.

Developing skills and strategies that help sales professionals build credibility and deepen trust with customers is just one component of the Sales Mastery processes and tools perfected by CloudCoaching International. In this series we are sharing strategies and skills to help you differentiate your organization from your competitors by creating a strong brand based on collaborating with the customer to help them achieve their most important objectives.

Walter Rogers, one of the sales world's most prominent thought leaders, is now a Salesforce Sales Community contributor. This community is a new collaborative networking group for sales executives sharing best practices and innovations in sales leadership. We encourage all salesforce.com customers to join Rogers and other top sales thought leaders in the new Salesforce Sales Community. 

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Walter Rogers has created and led businesses in 13 countries on three continents, has been interviewed on over 100 shows on CNN, CBS, and ABC on the topics of sales, CRM, sales management and corporate productivity, is on the Advisory Board of DePaul University Center for Sales Leadership and was a Texas eCommerce Awards finalist for two consecutive years. His passion for CRM enabled sales performance transformation inspired his two books, Pathways to Growth, co-written with business partner Tony Robbins, and Spark!