walk into a car dealership, what's the last thing we
feel towards the sales person who has just descended upon
us? Trust. And why is that? It's because we've been
conditioned by our own experience, by the experiences of
others, and by the pervasive image of the "used-car
salesman", not to. We feel - not unjustifiably - that this
individual is concerned only with the commission check he's
going to make off us, and not with whether we're getting the
value we want. The transaction becomes a contest - and
because we don't want him to defeat us, we don't give him
the ammunition - information - with which to do so. Instead,
we clam up, refusing to reveal our hand, and keep our cards
close the vest.
While we don't like to think of ourselves as being in
the same league as the used car salesperson (and hopefully,
we're not!), the fact remains that many of our prospects
initially will. And just as in the used car salesman
scenario, our prospects are loathe to reveal their hand to
someone they don't even know, and do not yet trust. It's our
job, then, to let that prospect know that we are different,
and more professional than, the used car salesman. That we
are not in it solely for the money. That our objective is to
help them solve a problem or achieve a goal that they have.
To convey to him (implicitly) that the commission you'll
make from this sale is not a goal in and of itself, but
rather a by-product of helping him make a
well-informed purchase decision (by the way, prospects have
no problem with your making money on a sale as along as
you've helped them get what they want).
we accomplish this?
We start by recalling the truism that people buy from
people they like. And people generally like only people they
trust. So if you want your prospects to buy from you, you're
going to have to earn - and build - their trust. Doing this
isn't terribly difficult - you're probably already doing
many of the things you should. First, commit to always
being honest in your dealings with your prospect. Don't
try to hide anything; lay all your cards on the table (the
only exception is when negotiating, but we'll be covering
that in a future Tip). Be up-front when asked for or
challenged about a limitation of your offering (if
you've developed a strong, trusting relationship, the
prospect will likely work with you to find away around
this). Be customer- focused; always convey the
sincere notion that you really are about helping this
person (or these persons) succeed. Lastly, don't just
meet the expectations of your prospect, exceed
them. Do some extra research on his behalf that maybe
she doesn't have time to do - even (especially) if it
doesn't directly further your cause.
Over the course of a sales cycle, doing all these
"little" things will slowly build up your reservoir of trust
with the prospect. This has the added benefit of positioning
you as the lowest-risk option - the prospect knows exactly
where she stands with you - and knows there will be no
surprises. Since she can't say this about the
representatives of the other vendors she's evaluating, you
become that much more appealing (whether or not your
solution is the best fit for her). Because you've
built a high level of trust, and because you've demonstrated
a high degree of integrity, you're much more strongly
positioned to win the business than are your competitors.
And unlike with our used-car salesman, where the transaction
is viewed as a contest in which one party gains at the
expense of the other, we have established the proverbial
It's the only way to sell.
Take 15 minutes to
review how you conduct business - from the opening call all
the way through to commitment and beyond. Are you always
being honest with your prospects? Do you approach your work
with the customer's goals in mind? Do you do the "little"
things that build trust and solidify relationships? If so,
great - keep on trucking! If not, commit to improving in
those areas that require improvement. Because the more you
work on building trust with your prospects, the more dollar
signs you'll start seeing.
And the best part is -
it won't even feel like work!