Brief: How Virtual Selling Leverages “Swift Trust Theory”

Trust building is a long-term endeavor. People need time to share experiences, fulfill promises, and reciprocate openness. But what happens when a group must develop trust under circumstances that do not allow for long timelines or in-person meetings?

A small team of social psychologists at Stanford attempted to answer this question.
In doing so, they developed an idea called “swift trust theory.” This theory emerged from their discovery that fast-forming groups can quickly develop the trust that many originally believed was only possible among those with long, shared histories. However, the researchers explain that this is “a form of trust that has some unusual properties.”

Here, we show how sales professionals can leverage three key principles of swift trust to sell in a virtual setting. With these principles, sales professionals can embrace the new challenge of creating trust over a short period and a long distance.

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