The state of the economy has made buyers more reluctant and risk-averse, and this can be a huge obstacle to your sales reps' success. Risk-averse buyers are more skeptical and less willing to put their company's problems in the hands of an outsider. What's needed in this situation is an increase in trust, and fortunately, there are ways for your sales reps to build trust with potential customers, leading to more sales and greater success.
Building trust sounds like something we've always heard about in sales. What's different now? The difference is knowing how to build trust with increasingly skeptical clients. Many of them feel they don't need outside expertise, and they're doing their research and shopping around before they ever speak to a sales rep. Online information helps them feel like they are capable of creating their own solutions. Most of the time the buyer is not the expert and their framework can be improved if they would engage more fully with the rep and trust their advice.
Let's look at three specific ways your sales reps can build trust in sales:
Spend Time Planning
One of the biggest differences between high-performing reps and low-performing reps is the time they put into planning. The reason planners do so well is that they come across as prepared, professional, and knowledgeable. In other words, customers feel they can trust them with their complex or problematic issues.
Sales reps should strive to be prepared in two different ways:
- Stay up-to-date with your products and services. If there are many questions your sales reps can't answer right away about your products or services, they'll lose credibility fast. They should spend time in ongoing training, either in official training sessions or just studying on their own, so they can be as knowledgeable as possible.
- Research customers ahead of time. When your sales reps have done their homework about potential customers, they're better able to build trust and make sales. Your sales reps should find out about a company's background, competitors, current issues, industry trends and recent news.
Be Memorable, Not Agreeable
It's easy to be nice and agreeable, but that's not going to be helpful in a difficult sales environment. How can you teach your sales reps to be memorable? They should stand out from the crowd with their focus, drive, and knowledge.
Instead of allowing the customer to set the pace and lead the discussions, your sales reps should take control from the very beginning. Teach them to stay focused on the sale and work toward that goal in all of their interactions with customers. To do this, your sales reps should build trust by asking good questions from the start to find out what the client needs. Once the needs are identified, sales reps should focus on those needs, even if the customers try to stray from that course in their conversations. Customers don't need more friends; they need solutions. And if your sales reps prove that they have the solutions, they'll make the sale.
Challenge Their Thinking
To add value in today's market, you've got to do more than offer a product or service; you've got to teach. Anyone can get on the Internet and order something or read another article about a given problem, but it takes someone special to challenge ideas and create custom solutions.
When your sales reps become that person--the one who can develop solutions to complex problems--they build trust and become a thought leader in the eyes of clients. Try to introduce insights that the buyer is not aware of to show the value of your company’s perspectives. Introduce risks that might not have been considered, opportunities that they were not aware of or entice them into engagements that provide new learning. That's powerful, and it will lead to increased sales.
By incorporating these three tips into your sales reps' toolbox, you'll help them to build trust with customers and increase their sales.