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An Ongoing Trust in Selling Research Study

Goal: To better understand what role trust plays in business-centered relationships which result in corporate decision-makers giving business to trusted sales/service resources.

In high-stakes purchases of goods and services it is commonly believed that corporate decision-makers are more likely to give purchase orders for goods and services to sales people whom they trust ,versus salespeople with whom they have only a casual relationship. It is believed that a salesperson needs to earn the right to be awarded business.

What do we want to know?
The following areas related to business trust need to be probed to determine how trust relationships are formed and strengthened, and to what extent they can evolve into loyalty between parties.

  1. Are there distinct stages of trust? (i.e., beginning trust—a fragile relationship composed of various interactions; informed trust—based on a time of acquaintance; lasting trust—a sustaining friendship).
  2. How does a decision-maker begin to trust? (What elements need to be in place?)
  3. If there are levels of trust, how does a salesperson graduate from one level to another?
  4. If trust has a peak relationship, does this result in sustained loyalty?
  5. What can endanger a trusting relationship?
  6. If a trust-base is endangered, can trust be restored to its former level? Beyond its former level?
  7. Are there limits to trust?
  8. Are there any instances where trust is not an issue in a relationship?

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