On average, only 8% of the American people trust what companies say about themselves, according to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer. That makes you wonder if there’s a disconnect between what salespeople are saying and what their prospects are hearing, says sales guru Jill Konrath.
Seller: We offer state-of-the art technology.
Prospect thinks: That means me-too products. And even if it’s true, your lead in the market will last only a short time.
Seller: We really care about our customers.
Prospect: That’s what they all say before they get the order. Then after the order is placed, they ignore you.
Seller: We’re number 1 in the XYZ Ranking.
Prospect: Statistics can easily lie.
Seller: We offer a unique approach to solving your problems.
Prospect: Sure you do, along with everyone else.
This is serious. When you talk about your company, 92% of the time people don’t believe you. And the more wonderful things you say about your organization, the more unbelievable you are.
So, what’s the answer? Here are three strategies you can use to be more believable and get prospects to trust you:
1. Don’t say anything nice about your services
Don’t rattle on, saying endlessly nice things about your product, service or solution. That undermines – if not destroys – your credibility. Similarly, don’t pass out any of your “aren’t we wonderful” marketing brochures either. They are likely to have the same negative impact, because people are increasingly sensitive to “marketing hype.” This is especially important in your early conversations with buyers. You need to keep the focus on their issues in the beginning.
2. Focus on being helpful in every interaction
Let your prospect know about the results your other clients achieved using your services. Talk about the prospect’s critical business issues. Probe for all the details you can get, because it will help you tailor a solution that is custom-fit to their situation. Buyers are skeptical of cookie-cutter solutions that are trotted out too early. Share ideas, insights, and information that you think would be beneficial to them. Ask questions. But most of all, make sure they have no doubt that your intent is to provide value to them.
3. Be truthful, even when it hurts
Your service or solution is not perfect for everyone. When you’re under corporate or self-induced pressure to close more sales, it can be hard to remain truthful and avoid doing and saying anything to win the sale. But you must keep the buyer’s interest at the forefront. Sometimes that even means recommending a competitor because it’s the best option for the prospect and the right thing to do.
Developing trust is essential. Without it, you don’t have a chance to get the business. With it, you’ll have an opportunity to grow long-term, highly profitable relationships. It’s worth the effort.
Source: To learn more from Jill Konrath, visit www.sellingbigcompanies.com
Subscribe to the Sales Blog
Get the latest research on workplace learning with weekly posts delivered to your inbox