People discuss building relationships in business as though it’s different than building trust personally. But we’re selling to humans, so how are the basics of building trust any different between personal relationships, schools, or business? It isn’t. And make no mistake “building relationships” is establishing trust.
Ten years ago, the National Association of Secondary Preschools did a study on the value of teachers trusting administrators and kids trusting both. The impact was increased trust yielded increased learning. When we’re selling, aren’t we educating the consumer, so trust leads to learning? Think about it this way, where do you get your news – everywhere or sources you trust?
They study outlined four pillars of trust – consistency, competency, compassion, and communication. In the sales world follow up stories / case studies, a good discovery process, and solution selling are essential. Look closely at these elements of a sale and notice they correlate directly to those four pillars.
Why does it take SO many attempts to get a meeting – why is follow up even necessary? People are busy? Maybe, but that’s really not it, it’s that follow up shows consistency. Persistence proves you’ll stick around through hard times. You’re building brand loyalty (yours and your company’s) by being consistent with your prospecting approach to them. You’re not “getting a meeting” your establishing the first phase of trust.
Do you give your money to incompetent people? Aside from losing sports teams, the answer is always no or at least not knowingly. Whether it be customer retention or customer acquisition, we don’t waste money with people we find incompetent. Case studies and user stories establish and demonstrate competency. Without a prospects details on exact issues, estimations and assumptions based on research point to archetypes of challenges that case studies solve. And humans are wired to learn via story. I’m a data nerd, but if the numbers don’t tell a story than they are unemotional numbers and we all buy on emotion.
Great discovery is a discussion of client needs, goals, and challenges. Your questions and focus is on them and illustrate your expertise, but more importantly that THEY matter. Discovery is the compassion pillar of trust building. If you spend that precious time on things not relevant to them and improving their lives, you risk missing the key pillar of compassion resulting in a lost sale or decrease in overall customer loyalty. Buyers and loyal customers choose or stay with companies that demonstrate compassion for their needs and you get there by asking insightful questions.
You’ve discovered their challenges; now communicate how you solve them. Communication of the solution drives sales motivation. Sales represents the highest form of communication in the company and the presentation you give illustrates you’ve listened and crafted your product or solve their problem and fortifying that final pillar of trust.
People buy from and work with people they trust, not people they like. We all have friends we like, but think about your friends in terms of those you like spending time with vs those you’d call in a jam trusting them to help. See the difference? So does your buyer and customer.