Trust Matters in Sales
Trust is an essential component of a successful sales equation. When buyers trust sellers, they give them access, they listen to them, they spend time with them, they depend upon them and, ultimately, they buy from them. What would happen to your sales cycle if your sales team could create trust with customers faster?
When sellers understand that their long-term success rests upon their building a meaningful relationship with their customers based on trust, they no longer simply push products and solutions; they work to help their customer succeed.
Building Trust During the Sales Process
It is true that it takes time to build trust because it is based on shared and positive experiences, each one reinforcing the last. But if you could create trust with customers faster, the sooner you can enjoy the position as a trusted advisor.
What It Takes to Build Trust
Based upon feedback from thousands of consultative selling training participants, here is what it takes to build and maintain trust with your prospects and customers:
- Solid Preparation
Never walk into a customer meeting unprepared. It will only highlight your lack of interest in the problems your customers are facing. Do your homework to learn all you can about your buyer’s industry, businesses, competition, marketplace, and customer needs. Only then can you begin to set up a successful conversation.
Then create a sales call plan outlining your objectives for the meeting. What would be a successful outcome – an invitation to follow up the next week, a promise to include other stakeholders in the next session, a presentation on how you can help solve their problems, a commitment to test a prototype?
- Deep Discovery
Ask insightful sales questions that demonstrate your knowledge of their business but show that you want to know more. You may have learned what issues they face in their industry, but do you know how those issues will uniquely affect their strategy, their customers, or their people?
Trust comes from your being able to show that you are thinking about their personal and professional success and not just the opportunity to make a sale. Learn what you can about strategic drivers, risks, rewards, stakeholders, and current priorities.
Effective solution sellers provide insight and value before being asked. While on one hand they work to become embedded in their customer’s business, they also have a broader view and are thus in a position to spot both risks and opportunities that may have escaped their customer. This ability to proactively demonstrate your commitment to your customer and share a point of view is just what will enhance the trust quotient.
But keep in mind that insights are of questionable value unless they connect to customer priorities.
Integrity is a critical component to creating trust. Honor your commitments by doing what you say you will do and do it well. Be authentic and always do the right thing – even if it is to turn down business for which there are better alternatives for your buyer.
Conduct yourself as if your actions were going to be printed on the front page of the newspaper the next morning.
Establish clear connections both on a personal and professional level. Spend time to get to know each other personally and appreciate what interests your customer outside of business. Professionally, link your solution directly to your customer’s needs so that it is it easy for your customer to understand how you are addressing their situation.
The Bottom Line
Are you doing all you can to build trust with your customers? It takes an ongoing investment in time and attention. But the rewards of a trusting relationship are worth it.
If trust is important to your bottom line, download 3 Critical Sales Warning Signs at Your Strategic Accounts