Trust is the cornerstone of any relationship.
From loved ones to friends, the basis and foundation of forming connections with people is mutual trust.
The same goes for your customers.
You can’t expect them to want to do business with you if they aren’t sure about your trustworthiness. There are a lot of snake oil out there, and it’s important that people have faith in you and your product so you can close the business.
So how do you accomplish this?
Let’s talk about it.
Salespeople give me the ick. Well, most of them anyway. They generally don’t understand the art of finesse in a relationship and the importance of establishing rapport. As a sales manager, the absolute last thing I want to do is give anyone the ick.
The most important aspect of gaining trust is building rapport and showing your customers your human side. Show interest in them as people, not just as money bags. Express gratitude for their time, make small talk about them, listen more than you speak. Business transactions start with human connection, so it’s important that you make an effort to connect.
There are several ways you can do this. If it is a first-time client meeting, leverage LinkedIn. Peek at their posts and work history; this will give you conversation starters. Maybe you have mutual connections or common work experience. Maybe they shared a post about something you are passionate about. All of these are gateways to conversation that have nothing to do with making a sale. It’s just about connecting.
Once you have connected over conversation, people are more likely to hear what you have to say. You are no longer the icky salesperson. You’re Payton who lives in Sicily and rides a motorcycle talking to Jennifer who loves Italian food and is scared to death of them.
Empathy isn’t a word often thrown around in business.
Business is transactional. Business is dollars exchanged for goods and services.
Except it’s not just that.
Business is problem-solving. Business is about curing pain points. It’s about understanding the issues your client is having and providing them with a remedy. Intro: empathy.
Let’s say you have a client who is looking for office snacks. They reach out to you because you have solutions for them. Where the empathy comes in here is that they aren’t just looking for snacks. They are looking for a way not to drive to Costco multiple times a month. They are looking for automation and variety. They are looking for healthy bulk options. They are looking to please fifty people in their office and remotely without having to send out polls or listening to people complain.
This is where you listen. This is where you hear their pain points and express your understanding of those pain points. You can agree that it must be frustrating to spend time and resources on office snacks. You can relate that trying to placate everyone’s desires can be frustrating.
When you put yourself in your client’s shoes and show them empathy, they will be more likely to trust you. That’s the goal here.
Okay, not literal transparency. The kind where you are upfront and honest. You don’t oversell yourself, your service, or your abilities. You don’t overpromise and underdeliver. You are upfront about costs and timelines.
No brainer, right?
Deceit is a commonly used tactic for desperate salespeople with bad products. That’s not you (or me).
Instead, we are honest.
If a client expresses a budget we simply can’t compete with, tell them. They will appreciate that you aren’t dragging them along for something that won’t end in a handshake.
If a client expresses a delivery deadline we can’t accommodate, tell them. They will appreciate that we didn’t tell them we could do something we couldn’t.
I love quoting all-inclusive prices right off the bat. That means sharing all of the costs rather than hiding them after the fact.
Customers appreciate transparency and will know they can trust you because of it.
Now do you trust me?
Rapport? Check! Empathy? Check! Transparency? Check!
The three major points of this article can be summed up by simply being a good human.
When you treat people like people, and show them you are a person, too, you are more likely to gain their trust and shake hands in the end.