Have you ever lost a deal after a lengthy sales campaign that you thought you would surely win? Have you lost business to a competitor despite having a superior product that was a better fit for your customer and didn’t know why? Are you having problems scheduling customer meetings with the right senior executives? It may be time to face the fact that your customers don’t trust you!
You may think you are doing all the right things and implementing effective sales techniques, however, if you don’t have credibility and do not earn the trust of your customers, you are destined to fail. Trust has universal relevance for all relationships in life and is critically important in sales. It’s an intangible asset and the glue in any relationship. If your customers don’t trust you, you will have a very difficult time succeeding in sales. Conversely, once you establish a high degree of trust with your customers, success will come to you faster and last much longer.
In the book entitled “The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything“, the author Stephen M. R. Covey details the importance of trust in both business and personal relationships. He outlines the behaviors you can apply to build high trust relationships. I encourage you to read this book to get his expert advice and to benefit from his research and experiences.
In this article, I’ve taken some of the concepts he discusses, and outlined how you can use them to increase your sales. Here are some of the most important things you can do to enhance the credibility you have, while establishing long term trusting relationships in the most expeditious way:
Talk Straight. Be honest, tell the truth, and let your customers know where you stand. Use simple language to describe your products and the benefits they provide. Don’t spin the truth or distort the facts to get ahead.
Demonstrate Respect. Show that you genuinely care for your customer and their needs, priorities, and respect the time they spend with you and your company. Make sure that each interaction you have with them provides value in some way.
Be Transparent. Let your customers know your intentions and don’t have a hidden agenda. Don’t side step people by meeting with superiors without first letting them know. Openly share information.
Right Wrongs. Make things right when you or your company make a mistake. Confront the problem directly without trying to cover things up. Be available to assist with a resolution in any way you can. Provide exceptional customer service, and don’t blame others for problems caused by your product or service.
Show Loyalty. Acknowledge the contribution of others, especially those individuals from your customers team. Don’t bad mouth anyone behind their back.
Get Better. Continuously improve the knowledge you have of your customers’ priorities and demonstrate the value of how your products can help solve their problems. Increase your sales skills and capabilities and be a constant learner. Solicit regular feedback from your customers on your performance and act on the feedback you receive.
Confront Reality. Address the tough issues directly with your customer and don’t skirt the real issues or bury your head in the sand.
Clarify Expectations. Don’t assume that expectations are clear and shared by both you and your customer. Ensure they are discussed in detail and validate them in writing to avoid miscommunication and disappointment.
Be Accountable. Hold yourself and your company accountable to deliver on the promises you made. Mitigate your customers risk wherever possible to ensure they are comfortable with their decision to purchase your product or service. Identify upfront how you’ll report on your progress and take responsibility for delivering a successful result. Don’t blame others when things go wrong.
Listen First. Listen before you speak so you can understand what’s most important to your customer before jumping into a sales pitch. Don’t assume you know what matters most to them. Don’t feel obligated to answer all their questions on the spot. It’s okay to get back to your customer with a credible response rather than “winging it”.
Keep Commitments. This is one of the most important aspects of trust. Say what you’re going to do, then do it. Make your commitments carefully and do whatever is needed to keep them.
Extend Trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust, and conditionally to those who are earning your trust. At some point in the sales cycle you will have to trust that your customer will do what they say they will do. The strongest customer relationships are based on mutual trust.
The trust you establish with your customers directly relates to your sales success. By implementing these sales techniques, you will increase your credibility and trust, while enhancing your overall customer relationships. This will ultimately result in a rapid increase in your sales performance.
You might also like: