Do you trust me? This is a question with no in-between; it’s either yes or it’s no. Gaining trust from another individual is how you can start to build rapport and eventually even influence their actions.
Recently, I was lucky enough to come across an inspirational video on YouTube in which Richard Mullender was discussing how to improve your communication skills and your ability to inspire, influence, understand and persuade your peers.
Here is the video:
The values he talks about are prevalent in the sales arena and all businesses depend upon two things – likability and trust, both on a personal and organizational level.
A customer needs to trust you as a salesperson and trust the company that you work for. Even the most trusting salesperson will struggle to achieve his or her target if the company that they work for is viewed in a negative light. The same goes for the company hitting its target if its sales team lacks trust from its customers. The best solution is to always be open and honest.
Richard explains that there are four stages to a trusting relationship and by using the analogy of someone visiting your house these are:
1. Not past your front door
Typically, this would be a door-to-door salesperson who has very little trust from you.
2. To the kitchen
This could be a plumber who you trust enough to fix the kitchen sink.
3. The living room and downstairs
Your friend that maybe you haven’t seen for a few months.
4. All over the house
A family member or a friend you’ve known for a number of years.
The first step in the sales process is to build trust and be likable and not to build rapport (that will develop naturally later) because people will share their interests, culture, values and beliefs with you if they trust you.
If you build your trust levels enough you will become a friend. If you’re a friend, they will let you influence them. This means they will accept your judgement and recommendations for anything they are buying from you.
So ask yourself, do your customers trust you or are you just a door-to-door salesperson to them?
And more importantly, what can you do to improve the levels of trust between you and customer base?
One of the best ways to improve trust is to show your customers that you understand them and don’t just think about them when they pick up the phone or email you.
To do this, you could think about running campaigns just for existing customers on some of your best selling products, or perhaps even work out where the greatest cross-sell opportunities are being missed within your product line and offer these products at a discount when your customers purchase their favorite products.
Also, by having salespeople simply email their customers to ask what they think of a new product, or even by sending out free samples, you show the customer that you actually care about what they think, rather than only talking to them about when they’ll buy and how much they want.
Essentially though, trust is a two-way street, and you have to give your customer a reason to trust you if you want them to have any feeling of loyalty towards you and your company at all.
Think about company’s who you’ve purchased before, both in your business and personal life; who did you trust and what is it that made you trust them? Figure this out, apply it to your business and your customer loyalty levels should shoot through the proverbial roof.
To learn more about the importance of customer loyalty click here to view a SlideShare that I have previously created.