"Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest." Author and entrepreneur Seth Godin stresses the importance of placing trust before all else. People not only buy from people they like, but from people they trust to deliver results and meet their needs. However, there is a significant gap between how we as sales professionals view ourselves and how prospects view us in terms of our trustworthiness:
- Based on a survey by Harvard Business Review, top performing salespeople chose trustworthiness as a top response when selecting from a list of qualities they thought prospective customers admired most about them.
- Research has revealed that while 70% of business buyers say it is important that their sales representative act as a trusted advisor, only 3% of prospects consider salespeople to be trustworthy.
It's crucial to build trust with each new customer from the very beginning so you can close this self vs. customer perception gap. Here's How:
- Think about the customer first. It is so easy to focus on your company and the features, advantages, and benefits you offer. This information won't help if it isn't relevant to your customers. Every sales call should start with the sales professional listening to understand. In Carew's sales training, we focus on getting in the mindset of your customer and exploring until you uncover their real challenges and needs.
- Be credible. Customers are more likely to trust you if you're an expert in their field as well as your own. This requires having a keen understanding of each customer's needs, industry, competition and their customers. Even before your initial exploratory discussion with the customer, research ahead of the initial sales call will allow you to ask intelligent questions and provide relevant insights.
- Connect on a personal level. Dedicating time and engaging your customers like real people is critical to building trust.
- Demonstrate integrity. Honor your commitments and honor your word. Don't promise things you can't deliver. Own your mistakes. Be as transparent as possible.
Customer relationships based on trust won't develop overnight, but they are worth the effort because they are stronger, more loyal and longer term. Keep these strategies in mind to help you reach your sales goals.