How Jesus Established Trust, and How it Can Drive Sales

How can a Christian business owner or sales professional learn from Jesus’ example when it comes to building business relationships? After all, aren’t business relationships very different from personal friendships or Christian charity? Certainly, they are different from one another. However, they are not as different as we believe. The research shows that treating business relationships more like personal ones is more effective to boot. Why? Because business relationships are still human relationships — and humans respond emotionally and act instinctively, whether in their business or personal life.

The example of Jesus is, in fact, highly instructive as we think about building effective business relationships, especially for sales.

Here are four key points to ponder, strategize, and put into action:

1. Prospects are Everywhere, Not Just Where You Think

Jesus didn’t just look to build relationships where he thought it was most valuable, relevant, or ideal. He built relationships everywhere — and won hearts and minds everywhere as well. While ministry certainly has a broader ‘target market’ than selling a specific product or service, the idea applies: New opportunities can arise from just about anywhere. Stories abound in the business press about particularly enthusiastic and engaged executives and sales professionals who encountered major business opportunities outside of the office — at the soccer field, in a restaurant, on a flight, or in church or civic settings. The key lesson is: Always be open to new introductions and new relationships. You never know where they might lead.

2. Establishing Trust Begins with Empathy and Engagement

One other advantage to being open to new relationships in a wide range of contexts is that it conditions you to develop relationships across a wide range of settings and circumstances — which tends to make you a better listener. And the next key lesson that Jesus’ example offers is that listening and observing are essential to building trust. Assuming you understand the other person and jumping to conclusions based on a few quick observations or ideas damages relationships. Remember, you can’t judge a book by its cover — and Jesus never did. He always asked probing questions, learned about each person’s unique circumstances, avoided passing judgment, and demonstrated empathy and true personal engagement every time — even when those closest to him were encouraging him to move on.

3. Examples and Stories are Essential to the Discussion

Storytelling also creates more intimacy and engagement on the part of the other person in the conversation.

In addition to his unique way of listening, Jesus also demonstrated a unique way of speaking — always presenting stories and examples (often by way of parables) that made his ideas clear and his concepts memorable. That approach was effective enough to make Jesus’ stories last 2,000+ years, and it is equally relevant to your work today. Studies show that when you tell a story to illustrate a business concept or point, you increase the likelihood that it will be remembered by up to three times. Storytelling also creates more intimacy and engagement on the part of the other person in the conversation. We’re naturally wired to remember stories rather than just facts — and with the increasing complexity of today’s products and services, often loaded with features and benefits that are impossible for anyone to remember — storytelling becomes even more essential.

4. You Must Believe in the Transformative Power of Your Solution

Finally, Jesus was absolutely convinced of the value of what he had to offer. He believed to his core that the solution he offered to each individual was the right one, and was unquestionably going to make their lives better. You may intellectually believe that your products and/or services are valuable, but unless you really empathize with your customer and become personally engaged in understanding and responding to their needs, you will not be able to deeply demonstrate a personal belief in support of your solution. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to create, tailor, and configure solutions for your clients, rather than just selling products or services.

By taking these four steps — being open to new and diverse relationships; demonstrating empathy and engagement; crafting and telling compelling stories; and creating solutions that you can passionately believe in — you will successfully incorporate some of Jesus’ most powerful and dynamic leadership principles directly into your work.


Deb Brown Maher
Deb Brown Maher
Deb is the owner of Deb Brown Sales ( where she lives her passion to help small business owners succeed through improved sales performance. She has over thirty years of experience in all levels of sales leadership, training, and coaching. Her clients boast that she successfully moves them from “stuck” to “productive” by empowering them to change the way they approach sales. She’s leveraged her sales experience to help companies of every size, from start-ups to multinationals. Deb is committed to helping people sell from a position of integrity. Her methods are detailed in her book, Sell Like Jesus: 7 Characteristics of Christ for Ethical Sales which was honored as a finalist in two categories at the “American Book Fest 2020 Book Awards.” A cum laude graduate of Allegheny College, Meadville PA, Deb is a voracious reader who values life-long learning. She especially enjoys learning about sales psychology, sociology, how the brain works, quantum physics, and effective communication strategies. She diligently incorporates what she learns into her ever-evolving training and coaching approach to help people communicate more effectively in any circumstance. Beyond the books she reads, Deb is quick to say that she learns the most from the people she meets, engaging strangers and friends alike in conversations that always leave her enriched. Deb is a devout Christ-follower who enjoys worshiping the Lord with a paint-brush and canvas, painting what the Holy Spirit reveals to her during Christian gatherings ( She is also volunteers doing inner healing prayer and deliverance ministry where she helps people learn to hear the voice of God and develop a deeper relationship with Him.

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