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5 surefire ways to earn a prospect’s trust

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Earning the trust of a prospect or client is something top salespeople consistently manage to do. But earning that trust can be difficult. Here are 5 ways you can earn prospects’ trust and start increasing your sales:

1. Respect their time. Every prospect you call upon is busy, just like you are. Demonstrate that you respect prospects’ time by asking “Is this still a good time to talk?” or “We scheduled 60 minutes for today’s meeting. Does that still work for you?” You can also achieve this by limiting the amount of time you spend on social chit-chat or rapport-building conversation. You may want to spend time talking about non-sales-related stuff, but there’s a strong likelihood that your prospect wants to get down to business.

2. Call or show up on time. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet I’m constantly surprised how many times a customer or prospect thanks me for calling on time. Surprisingly, many salespeople fail to connect with prospects when they say they will. A participant in one of my recent sales-training workshops said, “Being five minutes late isn’t a big deal. Besides, all kinds of things can cause me to be late.” And then he went on to list every possible reason he might arrive late to a scheduled appointment. Your excuses don’t matter! If you say you’re going to show up or call someone at a specific time, do it.

3. Offer a solution that’s relevant. You may have the best solution in the world, but if you don’t show your prospects exactly how they’ll benefit from it, you’ll struggle to capture the sale. On the opposite side of the coin, if you attempt to sell your prospect something that’s not relevant to her business or doesn’t solve a problem, you’ll automatically lose their respect. This is where effective research comes into play. Before you start making suggestions or talking about your product, service or solution, make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of your prospects’ situation or problem and the payoff for correcting or solving it.

4. Ditch the pitch. Decision-makers are subjected to countless pitches by salespeople who are desperate to sell them their products or services. Unfortunately, most pitches are one-way presentations and do little to compel or motivate someone to take action. A more effective approach is to engage your prospect in a conversation. People don’t want to listen to your sales pitch. They want to know how your product, service or solution is going to help them solve a particular problem. You need to have your presentation ready and well-rehearsed. But (and this is a big but), you also need to throw it away just before you walk into your prospect’s office. I mean this figuratively, of course. The point of your presentation should be to open up a dialogue with your prospect.

5. Walk away. Recently, I met with a new prospect about conducting a sales-training workshop for his team. As he explained his situation, I realized that training was not the right solution. Although I could have created and delivered a program that would have satisfied him, I knew this wouldn’t be the appropriate approach. So I said, “I don’t think training is going to solve your problem, and here’s why…” I directed him to a colleague more suited to solving his problem. He responded, “I really appreciate your suggestion. Once I get this sorted out I will call you.” And, true to his word, he did. Sometimes it makes sense to turn away business even if your solution or offering may solve part of a prospect’s problem. If your product or service doesn’t solve the entire problem, you run the risk of winning a sale but losing out on future opportunities. Businesspeople remember salespeople who go out of their way to secure the best solution, even if the salesperson loses out initially.

Earning a prospect’s trust is easy with the right approach. Implement these five strategies into your routine and I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in your results.

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