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Posted: August 09, 2011

The secret sales sauce

Boost your trust factor

Liz Wendling

Developing trust is absolutely essential to building a thriving business and is part of a solid foundation in the sales process. While trust means different things to different people, qualities like dependability, loyalty, and honesty are building blocks that encourage a sense of trust. Your reputation as a business owner or sales professional is on the line.

Trust is the single biggest motivator of buyer behavior and one of the key components to establishing a successful buyer/seller relationship. Do your potential customers trust what you say? Do they trust you as a salesperson and a business professional? Not putting your customer's interests ahead of your own is a recipe for disaster.

Trust can be ruined in an instant with a single negative event: a missed deadline, not following through on your actions, not delivering on a promise to not honoring your words made to a customer.

Customers overwhelmingly buy from people they trust. These customer relationships are longer lasting, more effective and more efficient than relationships not built on trust. But building trust takes time, and the only way to do it is to sell in a trustworthy manner.

So, do you have a specific, well-thought-out plan designed to overcome this obstacle and build greater levels of trust with your customers?

In the past, customers had negative perceptions of salespeople because selling itself had been associated with manipulation, dishonesty and trickery. That stereotype of untrustworthy, lying salespeople still comes back to haunt the sales profession today. But salespeople can play a critical role in its dismantling.

You may be the most honest salesperson on the planet but if your customers don't perceive you to be trustworthy because of sloppy sales skills and negative selling behaviors, it doesn't matter.

Knowing, understanding and possessing the traits that customers like are the best way to gain trust and close the sale. So, in addition to being honest, you need to be knowledgeable, punctual, solution-based and customer-focused, just to name a few. It's the way you relate to others that determines your customer's level of trust.

I see salespeople destroy client trust in the sales process and rarely recover, but it doesn't have to be that way! Always check your behavior. Focus on trust-building activities with customers by creating an action plan and then constantly focus on executing that plan. Once you're able to increase your trust factor with customers, you'll also see an increase in sales. Salespeople who fail to put an emphasis on developing trust and rapport actually do a disservice to their customers and leave the back door open to their competition.

To be a professional salesperson, conduct yourself as a true professional. Your customers will like it when you do - and you'll be more successful. The most effective way to build that trust is to put customers first; always. You must do this by design, not by default.

In today's highly competitive marketplace, your customers have many options and they are looking for a salesperson they know they can trust to work in their best interest. It's not what you sell, it's how you sell.

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Liz Wendling is the president of Insight Business Consultants, a nationally recognized business consultant, sales strategist and emotional intelligence coach. Liz is driven by her passion for business and generating results for her clients. Liz understands the challenges that business owners are facing building a business and selling their professional services in today's market.

Liz shows clients how to tap into and use their innate strength, power and confidence to develop highly successful businesses. She teaches them to create effective, dynamic and fluid client conversations that turn interested prospects into invested clients who keep coming back.

Go to: www.lizwendling.com or email Liz@lizwendling.com

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Well said, Liz! Trust is not so much words as actions. As you mentioned, sales professionals already have a perception problem to overcome and anything that adds to that sense of distrust, like over-promising, lack of follow-through or inconsistent or incongruent behavior, can send them to your competitor in a heart beat. Thanks for the reminder, Liz! By Julie Hansen on 2011 08 09
I like your thoughts on this. The easiest way I have been able to explain this to our sales team is for them to be selfish for the buyer's business and needs. This approach will lead to the majority of the sales person's goals being met. By Grant on 2011 08 09

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