Have you ever had an experience with a sales person where you liked the product, wanted to make the commitment, but just didn’t feel right about it? It’s something most of us experience at one time or another. Everything lines up, but you’re just not sure about the sales person, and whether they have your best interest at heart. The bottom line is you just don’t trust them.
Sales professionals must earn trust, because no one buys from someone they don’t trust. Lack of trust creates risk in the mind of the client. They wonder, “Are they telling the truth”? “Will the product or service live up to the expectations that were set?” “Will I get the return on investment that was promised?”
The first component of building trust with a client is your ability to convey your expertise. How astute and knowledgeable are you about your company’s solutions? What do you know about your prospects’ industry or the market? What trends do you see that would impact their business? To become a “trusted adviser” the client needs to feel confident in your expertise. And as trust is built, they will likely confide in you, sharing information that helps you create the best solution to meet their needs.
The second component is like expertise but brings an added dimension to trust. That is your experience. Experience comes from your longevity in the business. It’s more than your knowledge on solutions. It’s more about what you’ve seen work – or not work – successfully for other clients. We typically learn more from our mistakes than from our successes.
It’s the same with sales experience. You learn more from losing a piece of business than winning. So, experience is using our expertise in different situations over a period of time to assess what works best for each client. It’s the same when buying a product and trying to decide between two different manufacturers. Good sales people will share their personal experience when recommending one brand over another, including what’s the best buy for the money. Your experience helps clients reduce any thoughts of risk.
The last component is confidence. Your clients won’t buy if you’re not confident about your recommendation. They must believe you to feel confident. One of the best ways to display confidence is to convey what other clients have experienced.
Today, referrals and testimonials still have major impact when selling to new clients. They want proof and evidence that the solution will work for them as it has for others. It’s much easier to win clients when your existing clients are happy and ready to spread the word.
Part of building confidence comes from predictability and consistency in your product line.
Think about Apple products. Apple is typically much more expensive than their competition. Whether it’s an Apple laptop or an iPhone, the price gap can be significant. But does Apple have an issue with price? No. Their clients believe in the quality of their products and the performance.
Clients buy when they clearly see minimal risk of doing business with you. When risk is low, trust builds. We build trust as sales professionals by sharing our expertise, the experience we’ve had with other clients to make the right recommendations and the confidence we have in our company’s offerings.