Most prospects and customers would like to believe salespeople. But they’ve been burned so often, they refuse to let themselves trust salespeople.
And that’s why salespeople make the mistake of trying to overcome distrust by “playing the part,” offering phony friendliness or making exaggerated claims.
On the other hand, there are salespeople who refuse to be tainted with the questionable practices of their less than reliable peers. They know the value of being viewed as trustworthy.
Here are seven ways to go about creating credibility and establishing trust:
1. Never let prospects’ doubts taint you.
It’s a fact: Prospect or client distrust creates a long tail. It doesn’t go away. If that sounds like an overreaction or exaggeration, it isn’t.
It becomes a part of your résumé and no matter how you try to paint a different picture or how often you jump from one “opportunity” to the next, it’s still there. Anything that causes customers to question a salesperson’s integrity does damage. It’s the stuff that builds negative reputations, and in an increasingly transparent world, it stays as close as a dark shadow on a moonlit night. There’s no place to hide today.
2. Nothing is perfect.
The biggest hurdle salespeople face is failing to think like a prospect or customer. So preoccupied with how to get a sale, they ignore what prospects are thinking. Never forget that prospects often know the downside to whatever they buy — whether it’s a home, a car, a vacation package or a breakfast cereal.
Prospects know nothing is ideal nor flawless. It’s a mistake to paint what you sell as perfection.
Being open and objective are big steps in building trust. This is true, whether the product or services are low-cost or high-priced. There is always a downside to what you are selling. Even if it’s minor, don’t try covering it up or pretend it doesn’t exist. Address it and turn it into an advantage by pointing it out. It shows prospects that you’re honest and fair.
3. Create a collaborative climate.
Every salesperson runs into prospects with unrealistic expectations who are always angling to get more, and who often choose confrontation rather than collaboration. They push as hard as they can to win a concession.
But even with all that pressure, sales pros don’t give up. When they run into a barrier, they’re ready with a plan. They might say something like: “I appreciate your concern. If we can find a way to overcome that issue, would that be ok with you?” By creating an atmosphere of negotiation, the prospect becomes part of the solution while the salesperson gets the sale or lands the client.