We’ve all had dealings with the slick salesman you just know only wants to get his hands on your hard-earned dosh. You wouldn’t trust him as far as you could underarm bowl him. And if you don’t trust him, how can you be sure that what he’s trying to sell you is as good as he claims? The short answer is; you can’t. But it’s not just slick salesmen who have problems getting and keeping customers’ trust. In fact most of us have encountered this particular obstacle at one time or another, so how do we overcome it?
Don’t rush into your sales pitch as soon as you meet your prospect.
Show them that you’re just like them. People like dealing with people they perceive to be just like themselves. You do this by identifying their personality style and modifying your style to more closely match theirs. Do this discreetly so that you don’t offend them.
Build rapport by giving them your time and attention.
They’ll feel you care about them because you’ve taken the time out of your busy day to listen to them. Have a friendly chat with them. It should not be about your product or service, but about them and their day/life. Eventually you can move the topic of your chat towards their needs.
Ask broad questions and gradually taper down to specific questions.
Raise their awareness of their circumstances and highlight what they have told you by repeating it back to them…”So you said you’ve been having trouble getting a good reception. Why do you think that is?” “You mentioned that your load capacity has not been up to scratch. What do you mean?”
Allow them time to come to their own conclusions, so they don’t feel ‘hustled’.
Know your stuff.
Study up about your products or services. As a customer, I always know when a salesperson is faking it or clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about and I immediately distrust them. Remember, your customers perceive you as the ‘expert’ when it comes to the product or service they’re planning to purchase, so you need to be well-equipped to provide them with the information they need and if you don’t know the answer to their question, you better be sure you know where to find out.
I recently had dealings with two companies who were interested in developing strategic alliances with us. The way each of these companies dealt with us was remarkable. One of them called when they said they would. They emailed detailed agendas so that we knew where we stood every step of the way. They provided information in a timely manner and kept us updated whenever circumstances warranted it. In other words they were quintessentially professional.
The other company consistently failed to return phone calls, promised a proposal by a certain date and failed to deliver, set up a meeting and failed to arrive on time and failed to provide accurate information to us. You guessed it, they were quintessential failures. I would have to be completely mad to do business with them, even if they appeared to offer me a better deal. Why? Because it’s not always about the bottom line. I would be certain of constant frustration and petty annoyances in all my dealings with the failures because they’ve already taught me that this is how they do business.
Make small promises and keep them.
“I’ll check up on that delivery date and ring you tomorrow morning.” If you don’t keep your word, you’re perceived by the customer as untrustworthy and once this thought enters their mind, you have to work twice as hard to regain their trust. It’s far easier just to do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it.
Trust is the single most important factor in making a sale.
When it comes to a choice between buying from a salesperson I perceive as trustworthy and one who isn’t, of course I’ll buy from the trustworthy one. Not only that, I’ll keep going back to them.