Improving sales through trust (that does not take time to establish)
We have all been in a position of being a customer and having to make a decision with whom to do business with when receiving multiple quotes. And from time to time we all decide to discontinue doing business with someone. Are you sure what played a role in these decisions of yours? It is probably the same experience one of your customers go through when interacting with your business.
I am sure that we can all say that trust probably played a defining role in the decisions you had to make at such times. But how can we, as business owners, leverage from trust to improve sales and long-term business relationships that we so badly need?
Trust is not just one thing – it is compiled of different factors. If we look at the equation as described by the David Maister from Trusted Advisor, trust is equal to the sum of credibility, reliability and intimacy divided by our own self-orientation. We therefore will increase trust if we can increase the top 3 factors and minimize self-orientation.
Let’s take a look at how we can make this equation work for us in business and to grow sales, with limiting the time factor so we can get immediate results.
How do we build credibility?
The best way to build credibility is to be competent in what you do. Become an expert in your field, but also know when you are not the right person for the job. When referring your client to someone else because the work does not fall within your scope, shows that you care about your client which will help build a much better business relationship – it also shows honesty which is an important factor in credibility. Also, be genuine and sincere in your approach to clients.
When will people experience you as reliable?
Reliability is the only factor that comes with time as you prove yourself to be trustworthy and able to deliver on your promises time after time. Don’t make it a habit to constantly over deliver, but never do not stick to your promises. Make sure that you know what your client is expecting of you. Avoid surprises and rather always pro-actively communicate on delivery of your promises. In the end it also comes down to respecting other’s time showing that you value their time more than yours.
How do we increase intimacy in a business relationship?
Customer intimacy increases customer loyalty and fosters customer-driven revenue growth for the business. Customer intimacy means being proactive and highly customer centric. You need to know your customer first before you can build that relationship. It also means to be flexible in your offering to the customer and to be able to respond quickly to their needs. It is a way of adding value to your market and to know what value they want and how you can assist them. It means your customer is your priority.
How do we minimize self-orientation?
Do you come across as being interested in serving your client, or does it sound like you’re serving yourself? Self-orientation means the extent to which you are more concerned about yourself than about the other person. Dealing with self-orientation can be challenging for anyone. The degree to which we successfully manage it can be an important element in creating sustainable, trust-based relationships. To minimize self-orientation, it is important to listen to your client first before starting to talk about your product or company. Doing that will also help you to offer related solutions to the client. Don’t talk about your personal gain during conversations, the focus should be on the benefits and gains of the client. Be prepared when interacting with your client and never be a bully in trying to get the client to sign a deal.
Clients will spread the word once you deliver immaculate service through a trust-based relationship. That is one of the best ways to grow your client base, via these word of mouth referrals, and develop long-term sustainable relationships with your current client base.
We don’t have to wait for the passage of time to create trust, and then the right to sell. We can develop trust within the sales process itself—rapidly, and legitimately when following these guidelines.