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Sales Solutions
The Importance of Establishing Trust And How Doing So Can Improve Your Success vol 4, issue #8
August, 2007

How many of us scratch our heads when the voice mails we leave for prospects aren't returned and our emails to them are ignored? We take time to craft an effective, persuasive message, we've chosen our target prospects carefully, so we're pretty sure we're leaving/sending them to the write people at the right organizations. Yet they won't call us back. Or you had a "great" fifteen minute conversation with a prospect last week, but when you call to follow up, they're suddenly "not interested." Or you walked out of that meeting thinking you'd knocked the ball out of the park, only to be informed that they're "going to pass", because they didn't feel you were the best provider among the three or four with which they were engaged (even though you know you had the best solution)?

Too often in sales we're left wondering why we didn't close a sale - or even get invited to a first, or second, appointment. There are many reasons why this happens, but in many cases these outcomes can be traced to one thing - the client didn't really trust is. Didn't trust that our company could deliver what we claimed it could. Or that we, as individuals, couldn't be trusted to go to bat for the client, or that we'd be there when we were needed in a pinch. Trust is one of the most fundamental requirements of any successful relationship - business or personal. Without trust, marriages fail, friendships dissolve, teams lose cohesion, and selling relationships never get off the ground. And earning trust - just like handling objections and delivering persuasive presentations - is a skill you can master. This tip will get you started on the path to doing just that.

How do we build trust with a prospect? It starts before you ever pick up the phone or send that email. It starts by understanding how trust develops. For prospects, trust is about feeling comfortable - comfortable enough to share their fears, worries, and ambitions. Because it is those fears, worries, and ambitions that are going to open the door for you to determine how you can provide a solution that alleviates those fears and worries, or helps them achieve that ambition. Because in sales, trust is earned by living the truism that sales isn't just about selling stuff. It's about helping your prospects achieve their goals, or solve their problems, and enjoying doing so. The best sales people genuinely want to form relationships with their prospective clients. They want to help them achieve their goals, or solve their problems. And so everything they do, say - even imply - comes across as sincere, and genuine, for the simple reason that it is. You may have heard that people buy from people they like. In fact, people buy from people they trust.

Trustworthy people are first and foremost sincere. And that sincerity begins out on your initial approach. As we touched on in last month's tip, showing a little hubris goes a long way to putting prospects at ease. Saying something like, "while our solution probably can help you, there's a possibility it might not", conveys to the prospect that you understand that he's not some dummy who can be snowed over by a self-assured salesperson, and that you're a real person who's trying to help, and not just sell. It then continues in the way you conduct your meeting - asking questions, listening, and showing empathy - instead of "pitching" your offering. It's what you say, what you don't say, and how you say what you do say. It's your ability to read your prospect's body language, and tone of voice, and to subtly "mirror" those yourself. It's never trying to "close" before the prospect is ready to be closed (for an appointment, or for a sale). This aspect of relationship- building we call bonding and rapport. You want to develop a comfortable rapport with your prospect, which allows you to then create a bond with him. You do this by using your knowledge that among the most basic needs we all have as human beings are the need to be acknowledged, to be understood, to be listened to, and to be validated.


Do you want to reduce the number of unreturned phone calls and ignored emails? Or the number of "not interesteds" you get on follow up calls? Or the dreaded, "we're going with someone else (even though you might have a superior offering)? Then being incorporating these ideas into your interactions with prospects. You'll be pleasantly surprised with the dynamic, as well as the results.

Good Selling!

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