The world of business has changed dramatically over the past 25+ years that I’ve been involved in business development. It’s changed even more since I started my training and development company, 9 years ago. Not only is there a boundless supply of information available to the consumer; the options for services, products, ideas, etc. are endless. And we can thank the Internet for making much of it possible.
Social media too has changed the landscape of business and the world of work. It has transformed the ways we connect with each other. But, there is one thing that has never changed — people do business with people they like and trust. And they like to buy, rather than to be sold.
In my sales training programs, I always emphasize the importance of fully understanding a client’s needs before you make any recommendations. It’s only when you provide a solution for their problems will potential clients/customers make a purchasing decision.
A purchaser needs to trust and know that you will deliver what he/she needs before deciding to buy. Remember: Trust is key. It’s integral to building long term relationships.
Purchasers want to work with people who help them reach their goals. They want recommendations; they want solution; not just options. They want trusted advisors. And it is your job as entrepreneur to determine how to build trust and rapport with each and every client/customer. So here are my recommendations for building trust.
Five Ways To Earn A Purchaser’s Trust:
Competence/Expertise (Product, Market, Competitor and Customer Knowledge)
- Know your industry, your company, its policies, and procedures well. This advice might sound obvious. But I’ve seen situations become problematic because the information provided was inaccurate or insufficient.
- Have a well-rehearsed unique selling proposition. Be clear on how your company, your product, your service is different from your competitors’. What are the advantages and disadvantages? And connect to the true value your client will experience from doing business with you.
- Know how to address and deal with service issues.
- Successful entrepreneurs make sure that all information they present is credible. And if they don’t know something or have the answer to a purchaser’s question, they say so. They make sure to find out what that information is before getting back to the person.
- Being transparent with my clients has resulted in an impeccable reputation.
- Be reliable. Fulfill on your promises and only commit to what you know you can deliver. Under promise and over deliver! Thrill your customers.
- Have integrity. Say what you can do and do what you say you’ll do!
- Be dependable always! Be predictable. I still do cold calls and follow up calls. When potential customers/clients ask me to call back at a particular time, I do. And my consistency pays off. So often I hear how much they appreciate my dependability, my reliability, my predictability.
- The way you handle sensitive or personal information sends a strong message about you and your organization’s trustworthiness and reputation. Purchasers gage how much they can trust you by the way you protect other clients’/customers’ confidentiality.
- Be thoughtful how you share experiences with other clients/customers. Avoid breaching their trust, and their confidentiality.
- Purchasers want to deal with people they know and like, and with whom they feel a strong bond.
- Be compatible. Be likeable. It’s critical to successful relationship building and it helps build trust.
- And remember, first impressions count. Be authentic. Sincerity counts. The image you portray is important. Make sure it doesn’t come undone!
Although the world of business continues to change and little stays the same, connecting and building trust with potential and existing clients still is key to achieving the success you want. And meeting face-to-face, I believe will endure.
The Language Lab Guest Blogger: Cindy Stradling CSP: author, facilitator, professionally certified sales agent and coach brings 25+ years of practical hands on business experience to her work with corporations such as Canon Canada, Scotia McLeod, BMO, CIBC, Marsh & Mercer, etc. Cindy owns and operates Athena Training and Consulting providing training solutions to entrepreneurs, as well as to corporate clients.