In a recent Gallup poll on professions that people trust, sales ranked in the lower 10 percent. Clearly, the profession of selling doesn’t get high marks, but therein lies the opportunity for sales professionals who understand the importance of trust.
Most sales interactions begin with high tension and low levels of trust. Moving your prospects and clients from a low-trust, high-tension level to a high-trust, low-tension state is crucial. When you reach a level of high trust and low tension, your customers stop resisting and objecting. Even better, they start accepting and confirming your offerings. Maintain that trust and they may become buyers for life. Here are three core principles for accelerating trust.
First, who do you know who knows who you need to know? Most of us used this technique without realizing it when we were budding sales professionals selling Girl Scout cookies or candy for Little League. My dad told me if I wanted to sell a lot, I should go to the people I knew and the people they knew. I sold out in two days, weeks ahead of schedule.
The big question that should be part of all of your prospecting initiatives is, Who do I know who knows who I need to know? Those connections will give you confidence when making initial calls and move your prospects from high tension to high trust because of the “social proof” of the referral.
Second, the more you know about the people you serve, the better you can serve the people you know. Selling is about relating, not persuading. Selling is providing meaningful solutions based on a dialogue. Give up trying to impose an agenda. A far more potent way to build trust and reduce tension is to genuinely listen to your prospects’ needs.
And finally, advice is more important than price. Price is usually the first thing to come up: “How much will it cost me?” We often dodge the price question to avoid running prospects off before we have a chance to explain the value of the offering. But an abundance mindset responds with, “Here are your options. I’ll advise you on which one is the best fit for your needs—even if that means introducing you to another company.”
This innovative technique highlights your intentions and builds more trust, more quickly. Remember: A needy salesperson is not needed.
If you don’t follow up with them, they won’t follow through with you. Getting the sale, growing the relationship with the buyer and creating long-term loyalty are a function of your commitment to following up. And yet, 99 percent of salespeople surveyed say they need to improve in this area. Follow-up is a daily discipline. But for follow-up to work, it must be rich in value. For example, it took me three years to sign one of my top clients. During that time, I sent something every quarter that they could give to all their salespeople as gifts. As a result of that persistent follow-up and perceived value, I have done business with them now for 15 years.
Sales are made when trust exists. And the faster you can create trust, the more quickly sales will happen and the faster your personal business will grow. Follow these three tips for building high trust, and success will follow you!