You usually don’t marry someone and then work out whether you can live together (cultural situations excluded).
So why with sales, do many sales people sit and wait for transactions to fall across their desk, and then expect clients to trust them and their advice?
There are many articles in sales around the power of trust.
Why should we focus on trust? Well – if you are unknown to your client, how can you be trusted? Sure, your organisation can be trusted and in some situations your client can and will buy on the strength of this. However, as the product/service becomes more complex/valuable and personal to them, this ‘organisational’ trust may not be enough. This is especially true when what you’re selling involves advice. They need to trust you.
What this points to is trust is a quality borne from a relationship. It isn’t borne out of thin air. Again, why is this important?
If you wait for clients to approach you, if you simply react to new business – you don’t have a relationship, you have a transaction. Without a relationship, you don’t have trust. Without trust, you aren’t an advisor. Without trust, your sale is usually just about price.
So, how do you build trust?
- You approach your prospect/client before you have a transaction (you don’t get married on the first date). You take the time to understand your client, what is important to them, what their challenges are and what opportunities they see and then see if you can work together.
- You develop a network of people who can support why your client should trust you. Referrals and recommendations, from someone the client/prospect trusts, come with trust inferred.
Consultative sales is about building a relationship and trust with a client and prospect in the pursuit of whether a transaction can occur. It isn’t about stumbling over a transaction in the hope a relationship happens.
Personal or professional, quality relationships are ones founded on trust. Trust from the client/prospect that the sales person is advising in their best interest and trust from the sales person that the client is telling them all the information they need to provide this advice.
So many sales people let themselves down by looking for clients/prospects to marry, rather than dating them first. Don’t fall in to this trap.
Refer Hunt or Scavenge for more information on why seeking rather than reacting to business is better beyond just trust