Know Like Trust – The Sales Journey


I have to start by saying that I hate the phrase “sales journey” – it’s so American (with apologies to Americans reading this!) and so contrived, but actually you can waft through your business life hoping to attract customers, or you can address that issue in an organised and constructive manner; dare I say in a contrived way.

For almost every business, the sales journey starts with Know, moves on to Like and concludes with Trust.


When was the last time someone randomly made contact with your business and gave you money? Never, I assume. They need to know you, to know you even exist. That’s where marketing starts to earn its return on investment. You need to get your name “out there”. That can be in person, or on social media. It can be at large events or small ones. It can be on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, or on one of the countless lesser known and less utilised social media channels.

How do you know which to use? I could ask the question – how do you kill a buffalo? The easy answer of course is that you go to its watering hole and shoot it between the eyes. The hard answer is that you first need to identify its watering hole.

Who is your customer? Where to do they go, be that in the real world or the virtual one. If you are targeting FDs of mid-sized companies, maybe the Institute of Directors is their “watering hole”. For entrepreneurs running one man businesses, maybe Business Biscotti is a better option. Traditionally Twitter and LinkedIn are B2B channels, while Facebook is more B2C. If you’re not sure, maybe take advice from an expert. Perhaps Outsource PA Services are worth having a conversation with. 😉

When you’re at the watering hole, speak up. There’s no point being in the room (be that real or virtual) unless you say something which attracts attention to you. The point is for people to know you exist – make that happen!


Whether or not people like you shouldn’t really matter, but it does. People should make buying decisions based on price, on quality of product and on quality of service. Perhaps they do, but only once they’ve travelled the Know Like Trust journey.

Making people like you shouldn’t be hard, or contrived. We all do it all the time. We try to be appealing in one or more ways. You just have to do that in a networking environment. If you’re friendly, receptive, listen to what people have to say, that will be a good start.

In person, you need to consider what you’re wearing, how you’re groomed, your positivity, your smile, your humour, how attentively and actively you listen, and most importantly what you say. Online, it’s primarily about what you say, but you have an online persona and need to make sure people like that well-rounded individual.


Absolutely the hardest part of the journey.

For people to hand over their hard earned cash, they need to trust you. You need to invest time and energy (and resources) to make that happen.

For those with tangible products, that’s easier than for those without. If you’re selling a baseball cap, people can see it, feel it, try it on, consider the range of colours etc etc. If you’re selling business advice or a mentoring service, or perhaps social media guidance, it’s far harder to develop trust to the point that someone will invest in you.

Either way, you need to be an expert in your field and somehow get that message across. That can be by talking the same jargon as the prospect, so they know that you know what you’re talking about. It can be by giving examples of how you have helped people with challenges similar to theirs – as well as just telling them, you can point them at testimonials and recommendations.

Most of all you need to invest time in developing the relationship. The time is perhaps proportional to the value of an order. No-one wants three meetings to be sure that they want to work with you if they’re considering spending £20. If they’re considering spending £20k, and will be working closely with you over the next six months, that’s a different matter.

Perhaps the best way to develop enough trust for business to happen is to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and ask yourself the question “What would this person have to do or say to convince me to run with them?”. If you can answer that, and then give them what they want, you’ll be a long way towards securing some valuable business.

Why am I here today?

There are two reasons – one is me and the other is Vicky.

The first reason is that you might not have known me before, but because this is published where I’ve not been published before, you now know me. Hopefully, given the tone and style of writing, you’re starting to like me. Given the content, perhaps you’re starting to trust me. Who knows where that might lead?

The second reason is that I know Vicky White, who runs Outsource PA. I’ve known her for more years than either of us would care to mention, with both of us having gone through many career changes over those years. I’m prepared to say I know her well.

I’m not shy about saying I like her. She’s good company, has a wide range of interests, makes me smile, and every now and again she does something nice for me, like letting me post a guest blog, or referring one of her clients to me if she feels that might be of benefit to them.

And of course I trust her. I’ve referred a number of clients and prospects to Outsource PA Services, not just because I know and like Vicky, but because I have confidence that they will deliver against my client’s needs. They know what they’re doing, they have a string of successes, they’re growing, they’re successful – they wouldn’t have done any of those things if other businesses didn’t know them, like them, and trust them.

Mark Harris

Enterprise Doctor