Are you in sales? Do your customers trust you? I read something from HubSpot recently that made me pause, According to HubSpot only “17% of salespeople think they’re pushy — compared to 50% of prospects. And along similar lines, only 3 % of buyers trust reps.” — HubSpot Sales Statistics
I knew there was a disconnect between salespeople and decision makers, but I had no idea it was so broad. Only 3 % of prospects trust sales reps. So, what can a professional salesperson do about it?
Stop Thinking Like a Salesperson
To stop thinking like a salesperson begin by not calling yourself one. Take the title of consultant, adviser, or customer service specialist but not salesperson because your job isn’t to sell people – your job is to help them. And when you help people, they come back to you and tell their friends.
If you have a canned, one size fits all pitch that you use for every customer on every presentation you will not inspire trust – just the opposite. If you want to build trust research your prospect and create a presentation based on who they are and what they need.
This means you need to do your research and understand not only the customer, their culture, and their needs but also their industry, competition, and other providers.
Come from Help
If you want to be a consultant that clients find trustworthy, then come from help. “There was a saying when I was learning sales, always be closing. The way I was taught the ABC’s of selling didn’t make sense to me. When I was always closing, I wasn’t listening, learning, and helping clients solve problems. I made a lot of sales, because I was overbearing, pushy, and good at it. But because I didn’t build relationships, my sales were usually one and done. Had I been taught ABH (Always be Helping) I would’ve been a more productive salesperson.” — Always Be Helping
- Tie your offerings to your customer’s success, not your needs.
- Offer options – give prospects a choice based on their needs.
- Add value by giving your help outside of the sell. How do you do this? Start by connecting them to potential customers. If you want to build loyalty and develop trust, bring your customer a new client.
When you can, offer help outside of the sale. I recently gave a PDF version of one of my leadership books ( The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management) to a TKO Graphix customer. This customer is one of the largest trucking companies in America and a long time user of our graphics. I permitted them to make the book available to their more than 4,000 employees. I didn’t make a dime on it, but that’s not the point – I helped a loyal customer, and they’ll remember that.
To begin with, this means to talk with customers, not at them. How is this accomplished? It’s achieved by asking questions and then by listening to your client to learn their opinion, needs, and problems. It also includes being transparent and honest. Prospects don’t want to be oversold or overpromised. They want the truth, and they want you to deliver on your promises.
Open communication also means understanding customer communication preferences. Don’t send a text to a client who wants a phone call.
And once an order is being processed clients shouldn’t have to call you for information. You should stay ahead of them and provide all the information they need especially any changes.
Do Your Customers Trust You?
Do your customer’s trust you? Good question. You hope so, but how can you be certain? To begin with, ask them. Okay, don’t call them and ask, “Do you trust me?” instead, send a survey about customer service, or visit them and ask their advice on how you could better serve them.
Do your customers trust you? Do they come back or are they one and done? Have customers left positive reviews on social media and Google? Are some advocates that send you clients? If so, the answer is yes, your customers trust you, but if you’re uncertain, it might be time to reevaluate your sales approach.