A key to sales success is identifying the prospect's needs. But that knowledge doesn't mean much if the potential relationship lacks a foundation of trust.
Smart buyers are generally willing to consider the guidance of salespeople provided trust has been established first. If a prospect trusts the seller, the first -- and arguably hardest -- step to success has been achieved. But how do you build trust with a prospect?
First, prove you are, in fact, a trustworthy individual. Are you accountable, credible and authentic? Demonstrating good listening skills can go a long way in the trust-building department.
Make sure you are dependable, too. Buyers want to know what you say is what you mean. Don't promise the moon only to fall short.
Prove that you have competence in what you're selling. Sales reps are in the business of shining the best light on a service, and prospects know to be skeptical. A seller must remove that skepticism, and in return any barriers to building a working relationship.
To prove competence, a seller must be an expert. Be bold, but don't just sell hype. Big slogans and proclamations are nice, but if there isn't substance, there won't be trust.
The buyer needs to trust the seller knows his or her product well. Don't be caught off guard by questions about your product or your competition to which you don't have answers. You must also be knowledgeable of your prospect's business, their competitors and marketplace, and the needs of their customer, as well as how your product can best fit those needs.
Be able to identify the return on investment for buying your product. You should be prepared with concrete examples and client testimonials of results generated.
Sellers should be able to show a track record of integrity.
If it is a new relationship, the buyer has no reason to trust you. He doesn't know you, and isn't familiar with how you have helped others find success.
Demonstrate your integrity by showing the customer you have his best interests at heart, which might sometimes mean sending him to a competitor if there is a realization what you are offering isn't quite right for him at that time.
That selfless approach could do more for driving future business with you and referrals than anything you can say.
Get personal with your prospect by letting him into your world, showing him what makes you tick. Help him understand there is a real person behind the product or service you are selling.
Don't take that trust for granted. A foundation might be established, but it must be re-established in every one of your early conversations as you move along the path to a solid long-standing partnership.
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