3 Trustworthy Tips to Seal the Deal

“Trust is an outgrowth of the salesperson’s ability to give the prospect confidence.” –Mark Hunter

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, in 2013, only 8% of people trusted what companies said about themselves. That means our prospects didn’t believe us 92% of the time when we talked about our companies. That’s very close to being all of the time.

While studies show that trust has increased slightly since then, it’s still an issue for both buyers and sellers. And how do you sell to someone who doesn’t trust you? You probably don’t.

Obviously, trust is something we must have to succeed as salespeople, but it doesn’t happen without effort. Below we offer three tips that should help you to earn the trust of the prospects you’re talking to, no matter where they are in the sales cycle.

Three ways to gain the trust of your prospects
You might be the most trustworthy, honest person on the planet, but simply saying so doesn’t prove to your prospect that you are so. You must demonstrate that you can be trusted by your words and your actions—specifically by being credible, respectful and engaged.

Tip 1: Demonstrate credibility
Just because you have an important-sounding title in a well-known company doesn’t mean you have credibility. You have to prove that you do.

As a salesperson, your credibility comes from your ability to answer your prospect’s questions and solve their problems. And if you’ve done your research ahead of time, you will have an idea about what those problems are already. That enables you to offer solutions that aren’t necessarily (or immediately) product-centric. When you make it about the solution first, rather than jump into a sales pitch for your product, you build credibility. Also assume your prospect has done some research ahead of time, and be ready to answer specific questions. The better you know your product, the more credible you will be.

In addition, remember that credibility comes from being authentic and transparent, and by following through when you say you’ll do something.

Tip 2: Respect their time
You also demonstrate your credibility by respecting your prospect’s time. What is the one thing that is in short supply for everyone, not only you but all of your prospects too? Time. Everyone is busy. Each minute they are giving over to you is a minute they are taking away from some other task. Build trust by respecting their time.

Be on time for any in-person meetings or scheduled calls. Then use that meeting time wisely. Although you don’t want to be abrupt, do try to stick to the purpose of the meeting or phone call and keep the non-sales related talk to a minimum. Although there’s a desire to build rapport, plenty of prospects want to get to the point, avoiding the small talk and getting down to business. Learn to judge which kind of personality you’re dealing with so you can do some small talk or get to the point.

Another easy way to respect their time is to engage with them in their preferred mode of choice, whether that’s by email, phone, chat or in person. Salespeople tend to prefer the phone and in-person meetings because they like people and the interaction. But you’re showing respect if you stick to email and chat if that’s what the prospect prefers. Today, it takes about 8 attempts before sellers actually reach their prospects, according to BuzzBuilder. And, the average salesperson only makes about 2 attempts. If you reach out to your prospect in a mode of choice they prefer, I bet you won’t have to make 8 attempts before you reach him or her.

As for the how, think about where your prospects spend their time. According to BuzzBuilder, top sellers use LinkedIn 6 hours per week, for example. Also remember to keep in mind your prospect’s expectations about your use of technology to communicate with them. About 62% of emails are opened on a mobile device (according to Tellwise research). Make sure your communications are mobile friendly, meaning easy to read and interact with on a smartphone.

Tip 3: Avoid pitching; engage instead
To really earn the trust of your prospects, engage in a conversation instead of pitching your product. And by conversation, we mean a two-way conversation, not a one-sided one. Ask a lot of questions and really get to know what is going on in your prospect’s world. What are their pain points? What do they want to do better?

If you listen first, you’ll be able to tailor your part of the conversation to your prospect’s needs when it’s your turn to talk. You’ll be able to describe your product in a way that shows how it helps to solve your prospect’s problem. This will also boost your credibility, because you’ll know which content to offer to which prospect. And according to Tellwise research, sellers who engage prospects with targeted and personalized content improve their click-through rates (CTRs) by 14%.

Unless you ask questions first, you can’t tailor your talking points and you will be simply pitching. Let the conversation be about them and their problems first, and you’ll avoid pitching altogether.

Developing trust with your prospect is vital in sales, but trust is something that must be earned. Demonstrate you are trustworthy with these three tips, and your next sale should come more easily.

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