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How to Establish Trust – 4 Principles

Posted on September 10th, 2013

The ability to establish trust is a must have skill. To be a successful salesperson you must sell not only solutions, but advice, confidence and dependability. You must be totally reliable to deal with in every respect. That’s what becoming ‘a trusted consultant’ is all about.


Resistance comes from mistrust. When a customer won’t share their real requirements with you, there’s not much you can do. The way to overcome that is to build up so much trust and confidence that the customer will instinctively tell you everything you need to know.


If you want to send a powerful message of trust to your customers and those around you, follow the 4 principles described below.


1. Be other person centred


Once people sense you have their interests at heart, not just your own, they begin to trust you.


This fits well with the concept of selling solutions. Develop a passionate interest in helping others to achieve their objectives. Have a tireless curiosity about the customer’s world. What you hand out you get back, usually multiplied.


To get into the top 10 per cent of salespeople, you must be involved not only in the success of your business, but in the success of your customer’s business. When you help a customer win, that customer in turn helps you to win. You have a partnership.


2. Be of your word


Make your word your bond. If you say ‘The proposal will be with you on Thursday morning’, make sure it’s there. Your customers should be able to set their watches by your reliability. Your dependability builds trust and respect.


From time to time we all need reminding that we cannot use our interpersonal skills to get us out of what our behaviour got us into. We are judged by our actions, not by our words. The best way to build trust is to be trustworthy.


3. Be there after the sale


On sales courses we often ask participants to raise their hands if they always call their customers back after the sale. Usually around 15 to 20 per cent do. This is more than it used to be, so the message is getting through. Then we ask, why don’t more of you make follow-up calls after a sale?


You can guess what most groups say: There might be a problem. The product or service might not be all the customer wanted it to be.


But that’s an opportunity missed. Nothing cements the buyer-seller relationship more than the salesperson calling back or showing up in person after the sale. If you want to build trust in selling, always do it, especially when there’s a problem.


4. Be courteous


Courtesy costs nothing but what it buys is priceless. Handling situations, especially tricky ones, in a positive, constructive way makes everyone a winner. There is a quality about courteous people that makes us trust them. If they go out of their way to be pleasant, polite and well mannered, then somehow we sense they have our interests at heart. They are more likeable and we are keen to do business with people we like.


It’s especially important to apply this principle when you hear that, as sometimes happens, you have not succeeded in securing a piece of business you were pitching for. However close you were, however much time and experience the bid cost you, remain courteous. Never allow the customer to sense annoyance or irritation. Simply be constructive and find out where you didn’t match up and why the decision went against you. Don’t burn your bridges with people by being a bad loser, otherwise you’ll miss out on future opportunities as well.


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