If the customer believes that the sole purpose of ‘building a relationship’ with them is based purely on making money – they simply will not trust you. That doesn’t just refer to your interpersonal relationship either; such a negative impression often means that the customer won’t have any faith in your product and services or ultimately your brand either.
Sales and marketing teams can often make this problem worse by orientating conversations around ‘we’ and ‘me’, not ‘you’ – the customer. To overcome this, I firmly believe that businesses should focus on ‘you’ to build trust in their customer base.
How do I gain the customer’s trust?
Maister, Galford and Green came up with the idea that trust could be measured. They proposed that there are three factors that contribute to building trust – Credibility, Dependability and Relationship, as shown in the equation below:
T = C + D + R
T = Trust – C = Credibility – D = Dependability – R = Relationship
What do these factors mean to me?
Firstly, your credibility is important. Credibility is largely built based on your experience and to some extent your qualifications. A GP gains almost instant credibility with patients due to the fact they have been to medical school and are necessarily qualified to do their job in the first place.
Secondly, you need to be dependable. This comes from being consistent and delivering on your promises. If you schedule a meeting with solicitor A and they fail to attend, your trust in them (and quite often the company they represent) is inevitably damaged. Conversely, if you reach out to solicitor B who advises they will send you a document within a certain timeframe, your trust in both them and the company is strengthened when they deliver on time. Which are you going to be keener to do business with in the future? Solicitor B I’d bet.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of credible and qualified people who simply don’t follow through. It is a classic case of ‘actions speak louder than words’.
Lastly, you need to build a relationship with your customer. It really is important to show an interest and be personal if you want customers to trust you. Ask open questions about them, their circumstances, their business, their needs, their desires and dreams! Sometimes relationships take years to build but be patient. Bear in mind that when it comes to trust you need to be in it for the long run.
Solid business relationships, like any other kind, are built on trust. To be an effective salesperson, it is imperative that your customers are able to move through that know – like – trust cycle to get to a place where they feel comfortable with you. Focus on being credible and dependable, but above all, put time into building those personal relationships. By demonstrating these three characteristics, you’ll prove to your customers that you deserve their trust.
Focus on the person and not the sale – take them on a journey of discovery that turns a complete stranger to loyal customer. Once you can do that, the financial rewards will naturally follow.