Know, Like, and Trust: Unpacking the Importance in Face-to-Face vs. Social Selling in B2B

By leveraging face-to-face and embracing the benefits of social selling, sales reps can foster meaningful connections.


Tony Hackett


a B2B sales rep standing in front of a sign that says yes
a B2B sales rep standing in front of a sign that says yes

Building customer relationships on the “know, like, and trust” pillars. How these elements are developed and expressed may differ between face-to-face and social selling approaches.

In this post, we will compare the importance of “know, like, and trust” in both methods to understand how they contribute to effective B2B sales.

Importance of “Know”

Building a foundation based on knowledge enables sales reps to demonstrate their expertise and understanding of clients’ needs. In face-to-face selling scenarios, personal interactions allow sales reps to convey their knowledge through active listening and tailored solutions.

Actionable tips:

  • Research prospects before meeting them

  • Prepare relevant product/service demonstrations

  • Engage in meaningful conversations to uncover pain points and align solutions

Power of “Like”

The likability factor plays a significant role in face-to-face and social selling environments. Buyers engage with individuals they like or share common interests or values. In face-to-face meetings, charisma, body language, and genuine connections help build rapport.

Actionable tips:

  • Establish a genuine connection by showing interest in the buyer’s business challenges

  • Share personal anecdotes or stories that resonate with the buyer

  • Practice active listening skills to show empathy and understanding

Trust: A Cornerstone for Success

Trust is the most critical element in face-to-face and social selling contexts. Buyers want assurance that they can rely on sales representatives as trusted advisors who have their best interests at heart.

In face-to-face interactions

  • Sales reps can leverage non-verbal cues to build trust, such as maintaining eye contact and confident body language

  • Promptly addressing customer concerns and offering transparent information fosters trust

In social selling

  • Trust is established through the quality of content shared, including thought leadership articles, case studies, and customer testimonials

  • Engaging with prospects on social media platforms by providing value-added insights helps establish credibility and trust

Unique Advantages of Face-to-Face Selling

Face-to-face selling offers particular advantages in building relationships compared to social selling:

  • Personal connections formed through real-time interactions are stronger and more memorable

  • Sales reps can adapt their communication style based on immediate feedback from the buyer’s non-verbal cues

Benefits of Social Selling

Social selling has its unique perks for developing “know, like, and trust”:

  • A broader reach: Social media allows sales reps to connect with a larger audience globally

  • Content sharing: Sales reps can establish themselves as industry experts by sharing valuable content online

  • Global accessibility: Virtual meetings bring down geographical barriers, enabling sales reps to engage with prospects regardless of location

While the importance of “know, like, and trust” remains consistent in face-to-face and social selling approaches, the methods used to cultivate these elements may vary. Understanding the dynamics in each scenario will help B2B sales reps tailor their strategy. By leveraging the unique advantages of face-to-face interactions or embracing the benefits offered by social selling platforms, sales professionals can foster meaningful connections that lead to long-lasting business relationships.