We talk a lot about how much sales has changed in the past decades – no longer are salespeople the smarmy, fast-talking, used-car-salesmen types of sitcom fodder. Instead, a sales career has slowly, methodically, moved into the realm of consultation and creating win-win situations for the salesperson, the client and the end-user.
But, like everything else, there are exceptions to the rule. One thing in sales has not changed: trust. If you aren’t establishing and maintain trust with your prospects and clients, then you aren’t selling.
Know Your Stuff
It seems simple, but it’s more complex than being able to spout off percentages, prices, dimensions or other facts about your product.
You have to know about what you’re selling, but you need to know what others are selling too. How does your product compare to others? What features does your product have that others don’t? And what features do others have that your product lacks?
Take a Stand
There are always the “But what about…” questions that come about in the sales process. Don’t hem and haw when these questions come up. Know where you stand with your opinions and be able to back those opinions up with data and anecdotal evidence.
Show up on time, every time. If life happens (and it does), give the courtesy of a call as quickly as possible and find a resolution to your missed engagement. “Can we reschedule for this date or that date?” “Since I can’t make it to your office, can we talk on the phone?”
Also, deliver your promised items on schedule. If you say you’ll have an illustration to them by Tuesday, then have it to them by Tuesday…no exceptions.
Don’t be afraid to connect on a personal level. The picture on the client’s desk of her twin daughters? Mention that you have twins too (only if you actually do, of course). The degree from University of Kentucky? What a coincidence…your dad went there too and you loved visiting the campus as a kid.
Find ways to genuinely connect with your prospects. Don’t make stuff up to connect with them but find shared experiences and allow them to strengthen your relationship.
Being trustworthy doesn’t mean giving up your humanity. Mistakes will happen. But if you are honest about them and address them head on, your trustworthiness will grow. Be proactive and humble.
A Word to the Wise
Your mom was right when she said that once trust is broken, it’s hard to repair. Don’t be above reproach; assume any shady or mistrustful act will lead to the downfall of your sale…or even your career. Do the right thing and trust will follow.
Tell us about a time you created trust between you and a client.