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4 Ways to Build Trust with Your Sales Prospects

In this article I want to provide you with four ways to build trust with your prospects. You might ask, “James, what are you talking about; what do you mean I need to build trust? How do I know if I have trust or not?” This is really simple. Many of you are out in […]

In this article I want to provide you with four ways to build trust with your prospects.  You might ask, “James, what are you talking about; what do you mean I need to build trust?  How do I know if I have trust or not?”  This is really simple.  Many of you are out in the field trying to make sales.  You feel you are in the friend zone of a prospect.  In that friend zone you know the prospect likes you, and you feel connected with him or her.  However, when you ask for a copy of a credit card processing statement or attempt to encourage any action which will close the deal, the prospect backs away and doesn’t want anything to do with it.  Why is that?  It’s because this prospect doesn’t trust you.  I think often sales people are not honest with themselves about the reality of sales.  There are only two reasons people don’t buy from you.  The first one is they don’t like you, and the second one is they don’t trust you.  If you want to be good at sales, people have to like you and trust you.  The likeability comes in at the beginning when you walk in off the street and make a great first impression.  You can look at other videos about that, but today I want to talk about building trust.

#1.  Gather information from them.  Think about this for a second.  You only share information with people who you trust.  Interestingly enough, that model can also flip and work the other way.  In other words, people who share information with you end up trusting you.  The idea is the more information a person shares with you, the more he or she trusts you.  It is implied trust.  His or her subconscious thought is, “I already shared information with this guy; I must really trust him.”

So how does the sales person accomplish this?  When you walk into a business, make sure you get information.  My opening remark when I walk in is, “Hey, my name is James Shepherd.  How are you all doing today?”  I give them a big handshake.  The following conversation might result:

My comment:  “I have never even been in here before.  This looks like such a great business.  How long have you been here?”

The reply:  “Oh my, we’ve been here for twelve years.”

My response:  “Wow, that’s amazing.  What’s your passion?  What made you want to start a Mexican restaurant?”  or “What made you want to start this auto repair shop?”

The store owner may say:  “You know, my dad was always in the business.” or “My mom was always in the business.”  or “I was working a job and wasn’t fulfilled.”  Whatever the reply, the prospect shares his or her passion with me.

Then I ask some other questions:  “I’m a local business owner in the area myself and am just kind of curious what you think about the business climate here in our community?  Is there anything you’d like to see different?”

I have these conversations initially with business owners.  What that does is creates trust because they’ve shared information with me.

#2.  Share information with them.  This works exactly the same way.  The idea is if you want them to trust you, you have to share information with them.  I like to share information.  I always like to throw in at least one kind of personal detail throughout the day.  Perhaps I might make remarks such as, “Did you make it over to the high school game?  I took my daughter there last night.  I have a 5 year-old, and we had a great time together.”  Sharing information like that helps people to trust you.  Their thinking would be:  “Okay, this is another business owner in the community.  This is somebody who is a real person and who I can trust.”  Too many sales people unfortunately come across as phony or fake.  Many times a sales person is actually only nervous and doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.  This causes a quick jump into the pitch without sharing any information.  Instead of the quick jump into the pitch, look for opportunities to ask questions and to share information.  Don’t over-share, right?  Nobody likes the over-share person.  Don’t cause the “I didn’t need to know that” reaction.  But do share some information about yourself.  Doing this will really help people to trust you, not just like you.

#3.  Identify.  Business owners primarily enjoy doing business with other business owners.  They want to talk to other business owners.  Why?  Because that is somebody with whom they identify, and we all trust people with whom we identify.  There are things in your life which are unique to you.  When you meet somebody who shares that uniqueness, you have a natural trust built up with that person before you even really talk at all.  As soon as you find that common ground, your thought is, “Okay, I can identify with this person, and I’m going to trust him or her.”

To accomplish this ability to identify with business owners, you need to stop looking at yourself as a sales person and become a business owner.  Read business books.  Learn things about business.  Read books on bookkeeping, marketing, employee relations, retailing, and how to run a restaurant.  There are industry magazines you can get on pizza shops.  Become a small business expert.  Learn about small business, and you’ll be able to identify.

Also, I’ve talked about this in a recent podcast episode:  Have a bigger vision.  You want to grow your vision.   Don’t just say, “I’m out here selling for XYZ processing company and hope you’ll buy from me.”  No!  You say, “I’m a young businessman just starting in the community and am looking to become much larger.  I want to hire people and build a big office.  Right now I’m just a one-man show.  What tips do you have for me about building a business here in the local community?”  Ask similar questions which share information about you as a business owner.  Talk about your vendor relations, how you’ve been able to cut costs, etc.  Again, don’t over-share.  This entire process of sharing and gathering information and identifying should take only a minute or two.  It shouldn’t be a long, drawn-out conversation.  It can be, but usually it lasts a couple minutes.  You ask them some questions.  They say something back.  You share a little information.  You talk about how you are a business owner.  They identify with you, and then you move on to the presentation.

One last point I want to give you.  I didn’t share this on snapchat which is where I originally posted this content.

#4.  Make sure you are validating yourself with others.  Sadly, I think this is an area where new sales people really miss an important aspect of sales.  You have to be validated by outside sources.  Although you may be new and without any other clients, that’s okay.  You don’t have to have that.  What you have to have is somebody else who trusts you.  Who else trusts you?  Hopefully somebody.  Your previous boss, maybe.  Did you do a good job?  Has he or she written you a Linked in recommendation?  Okay, print out that Linked in recommendation, hand it to people when you walk into the business, and talk to them about it.  You might say, “I’m all about honesty and integrity.  Here is a recommendation from my last boss.”  Maybe your pastor is a person who trusts you or perhaps a business associate that you have.  No matter the relationship, you’ve got to get some people who recommend you.  The idea is validating trust by saying, “I am trustworthy because this other person trusts me, and so should you.”  If you want to build trust, you’ve got to validate.

Is this your current story:  “James, I feel like I’m a most likeable person.  I’m out there in my market place.  Everybody loves me, but nobody is buying from me.  I’m not closing any deals”?  First of all, I would ask whether you are closing?  Are you trying to close for sure, or are you letting people off the hook?

If prospects are backing away with such statements as “No, I’m not interested” when you try to close, ask yourself these questions about trust:

  • Are you sharing information?
  • Are they sharing information because you are asking insightful questions?
  • Are you identifying with them by becoming a small business expert?
  • Are you validating yourself by at least being able to mention or show some type of proof that other people trust you?

These are four ways you can get prospects to trust you more and to take the action you want them to take.

My name is James Shepherd.  I hope you enjoyed this article and will visit us online at CCSalesPro.com.  We would love to have you join our sales team.  We have an incredible sales team with amazing technology solutions which are constantly evolving and growing.  We are really excited about the future at our company.  Come check us out at CCSalesPro.com.

Have a great day!

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