You probably learned in your very first sales training class that trust is the foundation of any sale, but did anyone ever share why trust matters so much in the sales relationship? Or the specific strategies you need to build trust with customers?
Why Trust Matters In Sales
Sales is, in effect, a consulting relationship. When you make a sales call, you ask questions to define the problem, then you dig a little deeper to figure out the root cause, and then your job, as the sales professional, is to provide solutions to those problems.
Solutions that your customers feel comfortable and good about buying.
The more your customers connect with you, the more comfortable they feel, the more openly and transparently they will answer those questions. The better they answer the questions, the higher quality information you have to provide better solutions, increasing your customer’s success.
Your customer's success expands the trust they have in you which will bring more opportunities to work with your customer, increase the likelihood they will refer you, and provide you with the track record and case studies you need to grow.
Get the first step right of building trust with your customers, and the rest of the sales process almost takes care of itself.
Sounds easy right?
Well, as you know building trust with your customers these days is far more challenging than it used to be. In a recent survey conducted by HubSpot, only 3% of prospects said they trust sales reps. In addition, 55% of customers no longer trust companies as much as they used to. While trust pays huge dividends, you need to do some work on the front end to make it easy for customers to trust you.
Building Trust with Customers Before The Call
Winning a customer’s trust starts long before they ever meet you, and long before you ever engage in that first sales call. If you want people to trust you, they need to have heard of you and about you.
Step One – Build Your Reputation
According to SiriusDecisions research, 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. That means that buyers are more than half way through the buying cycle before they ever interact with a sales person.
That means they are online googling for information, looking for solutions to their problems, and trying to identify both a person and a product that can help them achieve their goals.
And the information they discover, the articles they read, the social media posts they find, the podcast interviews they uncover will determine who they listen to, follow, and want to learn from.
So the question on the table to you is, what information are you putting out there for your prospects to find? How are you positioning yourself as both the one who understands their challenges and has the solutions to their problems?
Building Trust with Customers During The Call
The stronger your reputation, the more you position yourself as the expert in their industry, the easier it is going to be to get in the door with customers. And once you get in the door you want to slow the sales process down.
Step Two – Sell Small To Sell Big
That’s right, even though you are the expert, even though you know the challenges their facing, never walk through a customer’s door ready to talk more than you listen.
Listening is one of the most powerful ways you can build trust with customers, and to listen you need to slow the sales process down. Ask questions to hear what your customer is thinking about, worried or excited about in that moment.
Customers will never fully trust you, will never take your advice, and will never invest in you if you do not invest in them first. Until you uncover their most urgent need, the one that is top of mind for them in that moment, and you acknowledge it and solve it, you will never build a solid foundation of trust.
Selling small is about solving your customer’s most pressing problem, and that builds the foundation of trust giving you the runway you need to expand the relationship and sell big.
Building Trust with Customers After The Call
Building trust with customers actually is more important, in my opinion, after the first sale then it is even at the beginning of the relationship.
When customer’s buy a product from you they chose you over the competition and their expectation is that you value and will care for that relationship.
Step Three – Follow Up to Expand
As sales people, we have the to understand that our customer’s are constantly changing. Their businesses are growing, their challenges shifting and the lifecycle of their organizations brings new opportunity and new obstacles.
They are busy dealing with all of that, and they believe that when we have products or services that can help we will proactively reach out to share those.
The worst thing that can happen to you as a sales person, is not that you lose the sale, it is that your customer’s find out about a product or service they need from someone else other than you. That will break trust, and break the belief that they can count on you.
Yes, trust if the foundation of any strong sales relationship. You need to build trust with customers first, strengthen it during the relationship, and expand it as the relationship continues to grow.
Invest in building trust with your customers, and they will invest in you.