Customer Experience News & Trends

6 tips for building customers’ trust in you

Hundreds of books about selling have been written on “getting to yes,” “getting past no” and “getting more.” As a result, some companies work under the assumption that the goal of customer communication is simply to close the deal.

That attitude may do more harm than good with so many prospects and customers concentrating on long-range planning. Effective negotiators no longer concentrate on getting a deal or taking steps to get a better deal.

Real success depends on the strategic relationships that result from the negotiation. The difference between negotiating a deal and a relationship starts with the goal of the negotiation, and continues with the process and tactics that are used during the negotiation.

Build ongoing relationships

The ongoing relationship is as important as the deal itself. It’s a good idea for salespeople to focus on developing evolving and mutually beneficial relationships that create shared value, solve mutual problems and get both parties to a place of “we” rather than the usual “us vs. them” tug of war.

As levels of trust between a salesperson and a prospect increase, both parties are relieved of the pressure of constantly looking over their shoulders.

Trust requires a degree of faith that others will act in the best interest of the partnership, and the process of creating trust must start with the salesperson. To prospects, salespeople are unknown quantities, who have to earn the trust that leads to long-term relationships.

Here are six tips to help you begin building customers’ trust in you:

  1. Recognize that trust is the cornerstone of selling. A customer may be manipulated into buying once, but there won’t be a continuing relationship until trust is established. When customers trust salespeople, they’ll tell them their needs and expectations.
  2. Start with the right attitude at the first sales meeting. It’s important to ditch actions that result in lost trust, such as promising too much or making commitments that can’t be met.
  3. Know the product or service and the business environment in which it is being sold. A significant aspect of building trust with prospects is quickly establishing credibility. Salespeople should know the prospect’s organization and industry and the unique challenges and issues it faces. It’s not enough for salespeople to have an intimate knowledge of the product or service being sold. They should also have a good understanding of the prospect’s competition and what can be done to generate a distinct edge for the prospect.
  4. Understand that prospects decide by differentiating. They will always find ways to determine differences between what a salesperson is offering and what they are presently buying. Price is one differentiator, but not the most crucial one, research has found. Quality, timeliness, convenience and other factors usually rate higher than price. A more appealing, well-thought-out sales approach may also be considered as a differentiator.
  5. Remember that trust must be earned and re-earned. One slip by a salesperson — a broken promise, a false claim, a breach of trust and a hard-earned customer may be lost.
  6. Know where the customer stands at all times. Salespeople must be aware of where the prospect is in the buying process. This allows them to plan and control the next phase in the buying process by addressing issues important to the prospect and building the level of trust.

Adapted from: “Getting to WE,” a book by Jeanette Nyden, Kate Vitasek and David Frydlinger. Nyden is a recognized negotiation expert and author of three previous books on negotiation. Vitasek is a best-selling author and her articles have been published by The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Forbes. Frydlinger is an expert on writing and negotiating commercial contracts.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.