A quick scan of daily headlines is all you need to understand why it becomes harder and more difficult for your company to persuade and sell each and every day.
Some of the –and often most respected–companies of our time have been found to lie, cheat, engage in fraudulent activities, and even steal directly from their customers. As mentioned a few weeks ago, these are often the same organizations that say they ‘value their customers and treat every interaction as an opportunity to build trust.’
What do you think happens to your company when these companies engage in these activities?
It’s quite simple; it makes it harder for your customers and prospects to trust you. I recently read a book called The Language of Trust, which says that trust officially died during the financial crisis of 2008, and we’re living in the post-trust era. I’m not sure that I’d agree that trust is officially dead, but rather it’s still dying a slow, horrible, bloody death. This year has been particularly bloody.
Traditional selling, on the other hand, is dead. The old-school boys are finding time and time again that it’s harder to open doors and their commissions are on a continuous decline, and so are annual revenues for companies relying on these strategies and tactics. The average outside sales rep now only earns about 46K a year!
I’m reminded of a story I heard once about a disarming sales tactic used in the jewelry and automotive sales industry. The salesperson would always start the conversion with the language, “Before we get started, do you mind if I share….” What he’s essentially saying is, “You know it, and I know it. We’re going into battle, so before we get started...” All the traditional sales, influence, and persuasion tactics are well-known and can often help you win the first sale. But it’s unlikely you’ll win the fourth. Trust is the root of customer loyalty, and in my upcoming book, The Customer Loyalty Loop, I show you how to continuously reduce resistance and build trust throughout every stage of the buying cycle from the moment they first hear about you, to the 10th sale – three years from now.
Trust is intangible and costs you nothing, but it can give you everything.
For prospects who haven’t bought from you yet, you can develop trust by consistently showing up when they expect you to (and that means even when there’s not a sale to be made.) Sometimes, as my friend Liz Bywater said last week, “You need to slow down to speed up.” Some of my best clients have read my Tuesday Tidbits for months (and even years) before we ever worked together. One client, in particular, read for over two years before she called me!
You’ve likely heard the term ‘Trusted Advisors.’ It’s a buzzword, sure, but there’s immense value in the term. Instead of simply trying to sell them what’s best for you, advise them and help them choose what’s best for them. Companies who take this approach are winning because customers buy more, buy faster, buy more often, and tell others.
Here’s the thing. Trust isn’t dead. There’s still a heartbeat. Those that have it, and those that continually build it, are thriving. But those that squander it away are making it harder than ever for all of us. It’s not just enough to say you’re better. Be better. Prove it. Maintain it. Don’t blow it.
Your Weekly Key Challenge:
Write back and tell me the top 3-5 things you’re doing to continually build trust with prospects, new customers, and existing customers.