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Fear of Losing a Sale is a Major Deterrent to Building Trust

Build trust rather than build sales pitches. In order to do that you have to generally undo lack of trust before you can create it. However, trust and traditional selling strategies do not make good bedfellows. One implies the absence of the other. Selling from a position of trust works because it wants nothing and it lacks nothing. In other words, it is credible.

"Sales people and sales organizations behave and sell the exact opposite of their intentions," says Jerry Vass. I have personally never knowingly met a sales person who did not genuinely want to help their customers. Their intentions are sincere and noble. But something happens along the way where they unconsciously "poison the well." In their enthusiastic and unrelenting drive to help their customers the opposite happens, things go bad. They project their own expectations, their needs and their own self-serving agendas that ultimately derail trust, credibility and the confidence that they worked so hard in trying to create.

If sales people superimposed their dialogue and sales techniques with their customers to their friends and used it as a basis of their communication, they would probably have fewer friends and trusting relationships. Sales people's self-interests and self-service comes out loud and clear because a large portion of their sales strategy is so ego-centric and company-centric.

Fear of failure and losing a sale is a major deterrence in building trust and long-term relationships. Customer so often see through sales people's need to be liked and validated as serving the sales person's needs and agenda, but not their own. "Ironically, you'll find that as you care less about what others think of you, you will care more about what others think of themselves and their world," says Stephen Covey. It is very important to realize that customers buy from people who perceive that they are liked by the sales person. As hard as it sometimes is, you need to find something about the customer that you can like them for. "Most decision-makers are more interested in the person they are buying from than in the thing they are buying," said Bill Brooks.

Once you are willing to accept your customers exactly as they are, tremendous faith and trust arises. When a customer believes the sales person has that much faith in them, it allows them to believe in themselves and to accept that they are alright. As we treat others, we treat ourselves. As we treat ourselves, we project unto others. And what goes around comes around. "When you see others and yourself as equals, not as someone who needs to be educated, reformed or fixed, the significance of your own relationship reveals itself, " says Paul Ferrini.

Trust is often more about trusting yourself and doing and attracting what is ultimately best for you. In sales what is ultimately best for you is serving your customer's best interests. If you have a history of attracting customers who treat you nonprofessionally, beat you up on price, or take advantage of you, you may be playing a bigger role in your problems than you realize. If you trusted yourself more, you might have done a better job of choosing and selecting trustworthy customers. Remember, like attracts like. Birds of a feather flock together.

Most problems and negative consequences of extending trust come when sales people offer it too quickly. Let yourself win your customer's trust slowly and over time. Also, choose your relationships wisely. Sales people who are wild optimists tend to have tragic business relationships because of unreal expectations. On the other hand pessimists have uninspiring business relationships because they have minimal and negative expectations.

One of the major hurdles in building trusting relationships is the need to be right, or its close neighbor, the need to make your customer wrong. Unwittingly, because traditional sales people are so hell-bent on convincing customers of the right path, they often make their customers wrong. The other major hurdle is the need to agree or get approval. As soon as you are open to the idea that there are rights and wrongs on both sides of the fence and each side has its biases as to what the truth is, the sooner you can feel free to agree to disagree. Then you have the basis for honest and transparent dialogue, which is the foundation for all trusting relationships.

Without choices and alternatives, trust is a hollow pursuit. Giving your customers space is one of the greatest compliments you can extend to them. You are essentially saying, I am willing to wait and trust that you will come to your own conclusions and you will invite me in when you are ready. We strain our relationships when we limit our customer's ability to make choices. Choices are what make customers feel safe and secure.

Listening intently, asking thought-provoking questions, being totally neutral, seeking the truth, being expectation free, and probing thoroughly for customers dissatisfactions is the deepest level of trust you can demonstrate when building a relationship with your customer.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com