After recently reading a simply horrifying fact that *allegedly* only 3% of clients would trust someone who works in Sales, I concluded that my next blog simply must be on building trust. Hardest to gain and easiest to lose!
This is really one of those things that there is no shortcut to; all good things take time, and this is no exception. However, there are most definitely some tools to assist you on your journey to Trustville.
Knowledge of your client – earn the right to sell to them
You really shouldn’t be starting off a conversation with a prospect with ME ME ME MY MY MY. You wouldn’t talk to your close friends or loved ones like this, so why a potential client? Take interest in your buyer’s pain points and challenges, and then – you would not believe how many people don’t do this – LISTEN! Their answers are your ace cards; how can your product or service solve their problem? Use this opportunity to demonstrate your insights and wider knowledge of their business too and how you might be able to see a successful partnership between the two of you. Ask your prospect questions to confirm that you have understood what they are telling you. This is a great example of Pareto’s Law, and a translation of that into the client doing 80% of the talking. All you have to do is listen! A golden rule: our ear to mouth ratio is 2:1 so follow that; listen more and talk less.
This can take a number of forms but it is absolutely crucial. They are a client, not a robot or a stranger. Engage with them on multiple topics that don’t all necessarily centre around the service or product that you are attempting to sell. Have a conversation with them, follow their approach, and see where it leads. Offer them recommendations and be honest with them if you feel that what you are selling may not solve all the issues that they have. Whilst this may lose you a sale in the short term, it will build the foundations of trust and could lead to future business either with them, or they may well refer you based on your honest and open approach. Show them that you have their best interests at heart.
Tailor your communication
I can appreciate that this may well be somewhat challenging on your first attempt. However, befriend the gatekeeper and you may well then know exactly when your prospect may well be available! Then, as you can get to know your client, learn their preferred method of communication, the best time and day for them and their approach. Some may well enjoy a leisurely conversation on a rainy Wednesday, others may well be time-poor and are happy to purely email. This doesn’t mean you can’t build that trust, you can do so by delivering what you promise on time and keeping in regular contact with them. Be consistent! This shows how dependable and capable you are, thus reducing the likelihood of them engaging with alternative suppliers.
Whilst these are just starting points, they are the foundations of that long-lasting and mutually successful relationship. An overly aggressive approach to an end goal will never get you anywhere, but consistency and honesty will get you everywhere!
As always, make sure you are following Kimberley Barnes and reading her blog posts too!
And of course, if we can help you grow your sales teams or support you to find your next step in your sales career – get in touch – we would love to help.