How to Accelerate Relationship-building w/ Keith Dugdale [Episode 356]

Among the topics that Keith and I discuss are the activities and mindsets that work best for relationship-building, when sales training is premature, and how trust means ceding control to the customer.

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Keith Dugdale, CEO of The Business of Trust, which is a sales consultancy based in Brisbane, Australia, and coauthor of the book, Smarter Selling: How to grow sales by building trusted relationships, by David Lambert and Keith Dugdale.


Focus on helping a client succeed, and building a relationship of trust, and that will create an environment where they want to buy from you.

The ‘I owe you’ approach is that the salesperson owes the customer everything, for their present commitment of time, and potential future commitment of money.

Top executives place a higher premium on their time than on money. They will give time to the person who gives the most return for it. This requires deep advance research.

Look at the drivers of the person you are speaking to, the person’s business role, their organization, and most importantly, global and local issues within their industry.

The standard sales development process many companies use that focuses on setting up meetings is not about relationships. Behavioral change is needed. Don’t invest in training until other key pieces are set up.

Have a business strategy, a key account strategy that everyone believes, and long-term market share and revenue goals. Identify the key players, and who in your organization will build the relationships. Then align your infrastructure.

Use questions that aspirational CEOs want to hear. Don’t ask what is their biggest challenge. Ask what is going really well, and, is there anything that could go better?

We are losing our curiosity. What are the traits a salesperson needs, to ask the questions that build relationships.

Trust, for the salesperson, is ceding control.

No one likes to be sold to, but everyone likes to buy.


What’s your most powerful sales attribute?


Who is your sales role model?

Alan Ross was my mentor for years, in Asia.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results, by Brent Adamson and

Matthew Dixon.

What music is on your playlist right now?

“I Wish You Were Here,” “Bat Out of Hell,” “Rumours.”