I am quick to remind salespeople that TRUST is one of the key reasons residential and commercial buyers do business with them, but I probably don’t spend enough time discussing ways to earn it. Conversely, I talk a lot about the value of asking questions, but rarely connect the dots between questioning and trust-building, soI want to highlight eight aspects of trust that will cement client relationships, and show you how sincere questioning can help guide the process. I started all of them with the letter ‘C’, so they might be easier to remember.
1. Crusading– Making honest choices, even when they aren’t in your favor and may even inconvenience you. A crusader is someone who totally supports a cause and is a champion for it.I learned when I started in sales many moons ago that my reputation is everything; and yours is too.
Here’s something that happened to me about a year ago and how I responded as a crusader.A small business in another state placed an order for a half-dozen of my books from my website. The order was shipped the following day, along with an email confirmation providing thescheduled arrival date. A few days later I was contacted by this client telling me that when the package arrived it looked like it had come via Afghanistan. It was ripped open and tattered, containing only one book, which was soiled. I immediately responded by personally apologizing and taking responsibility (although it wasn’t my fault), re-shipping the entire order with prepaid next-day service (which I don’t offer), AND returned their entire payment. I know I didn’t have to do all that, but I’m a crusader and always give customers more than their money’s worth.
Although you might not have considered it, questions may make a big difference in your trust building. Try this; “If, heaven forbid, therewas some sort of screw-up, when and how would you want to be alerted?” I think you will find that prospects aren’t used to hearing that from a salesperson, and will view it as a building block toward trust.
2. Confidential– Maintaining a “If I told you, I would have to kill you” perspective. Too often salespeople divulge prospect information to competitors and vice-versa to inquisitive prospects. To earn the maximum trust and walk the appropriate proprietary line, questions again can rescue you. For example you might try, “Is it OK for me to share any of this if a competitor were to ask?” OR “How much of this am I able to divulge to others?” This is a great way to know for sure where the out of bounds lines are in order to gain the trust you covet.
3. Convenient– Always be available to talk, and more importantly LISTEN to prospects, without interrupting or judging. This is important at all times, but is really imperative at the beginning of each first-time sales appointment as you determine the needs, wants and desires of each prospect. As you’ve heard before, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
A good way to build trust is to start your needs assessment by stating, “I’m not here to give you a sales pitch, but instead would like to ask you a few questions about what you’ve been experiencing, to determine if I’m the right guy to be able to help you; fair enough?” If you will begin a prospect meeting like this, the trust you will begin to accumulate will shock you; because prospects and buyers that you call on are just not treated with that level of respect by others in the selling universe. Like buying a suit from the Men’s Warehouse, “You’re gonna love the way you look.”
In my next post, Part II, we will continue this discussion with the other five aspects of trust.
To help your sales team improve with trust-building and many other communication and selling skills, should you consider participating in a weekly 30-minute video chat coaching session with Doug? Check out a short video explaining how Doug does it, as well as a 4-minute clip from an actual sales coaching session.
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